How to clean dance costumes

How-to Clean Dance Costumes — The Sideline Secrets

How to clean your dance costumes and the go-to products to use on your dance wear. Recommended by pro cheerleaders.

Dance costumes and cheer uniforms can be intimidating, especially when it comes to washing your garments. Not only are they expensive but they are generally custom cheer uniforms crafted by dance costume companies, an array of colors, frequently covered in rhinestones, and occasionally made of a full sequence material.

The good news is that cleaning your dance costume correctly is simple - as long as you are cleaning them properly and giving them the gentle garment care that they need. So before you throw all of your dance outfits in the washing machine, make sure that you are caring for it properly following our guidance below.

I still remember the very first year I had to wash dance outfits as a professional dancer. It was my rookie dance season, with a set of around ten new dance uniforms. With a game every week, wearing up to four costume pieces a game, I was needing to clean my costumes on the regular. Not having much guidance on how to keep up management on my new dance uniforms..

I put two of my uniforms in the washing machine (as I would wash my regular clothes) and both of my dance costumes came out with a color transfer and I had absolutely no idea how to get this grey hue out of them.

Most often, you want to avoid washing any of your dance costumes in the washing machine, especially together. Lightly hand-washing dance costumes is always a must.

To avoid a dance story like this yourself, we have put together the secrets that keep our uniforms looking fresh and clean as a pro dancer.

Here are the go-to uniform cleaning products, steps, and tips to avoid ever putting on a dirty dance costume again.
  1. Fill a bucket or large bowl with

    cold water

Start with a bucket for hand-washing clothes or a large bowl that will fit your dance costume.

Use something that you can easily empty and refill but will not transfer any type of color onto the costume.

Make sure to continuously refill the bucket as needed while cleaning any dirty dance outfits.

2. Add in a mild detergent

Mix in about a tablespoon to half of a tablespoon of Dawn or Forever New to the bucket of cold water.

As we mentioned before, our dance wear needs to be handled with care so we must use a mild detergent to clean it. These are the two go-to cleaning products to use on delicate dance wear:

  • Dawn Dish Soap: This cleaning product is a must-have for dancers when cleaning dance costumes. It is the best product to wash dance clothes with because it is not harsh on your garments yet it is a strong cleaning solution for getting stains out. This is our go-to product for cleaning dance outfits.

  • Forever New Fabric Care Wash: This product is extremely popular among dancers and cheerleaders. If you have the time, I would order Forever New for your current and future garment care. You can not find this product at most stores, so make sure to order it ahead of time if you want to try it out!

3. Add in Baking Soda

Add in about a tablespoon of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda to the cold water and detergent.

Baking soda for dance wear is a MUST. There are so many benefits of putting baking soda in laundry and it proves even more true with our dance dresses, dance skirts, and everything else in our dance bags!

Baking soda while cleaning dance wear benefits include: brightening clothes, removing odors, removing stains, and it acts as a natural fabric softener.

4. Add in hydrogen peroxide

Add in about a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to the cleaning mix.

Similarly to Baking Soda, hydrogen peroxide naturally: whitens whites, brighten colors, remove stains, and removes odors.

5. Mix everything together

Make sure to mix everything together!

6. Hand-wash your dance costume

Now you want to gently hand-wash your dance garment.

Dishwashing gloves with silicone bristles are my absolute FAVORITE investment when cleaning dance costumes. I discovered hand-washing my garments with these gloves a few years ago and it is a night and day difference with how they turn out. They clean my outfits better and avoid soaking my hands for long periods of time (which we know can be annoying when having multiple outfits to wash!)

If there was one product to recommend in cleaning dance wear - it is these silicone scubber gloves. Seriously, you need to try them! (p.s. let us know if you do!)

You will need a way to work out tougher stains that may not come out while gently hand-washing. Since our dance costumes are fragile, we want to be gentle while working out stains so only use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

You have some stains that just will not come out..

  • Removing tougher stains from your dance costumes: Carbona Stain Devils is a great product for getting tough stains out of dance clothes.

    Put a small amount directly onto the blemished spot (or even add a few drops to your mixed cleaning solution) and use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently work out the stain.

Using the Carbona Color Grabbers, I was able to fix this color transfer with one of my own personal dance costumes. I was able to get the inside of this dance costume back to bright white with a mix of hand-washing in the solution we created in this article and firmly pressing the Carbona Color Grabbers on the white part of the uniform as it air-dried.

Not sure how-to remove dye transfer stains and needing more guidance? We are happy to help further. Reach out via email or Instagram.


Rinse your dance costume

Rinse your dance piece in cold water until there is no cleaning mixture remaining in it.

8. Wring clothes by hand

Wring out your dance costume to remove excess water.

9. Pat dry with a towel

Roll or fold the towel around the garment and gently press down to remove as much excess water as possible.

10. Air-dry your dance costume

Hang your dance garment on a drying rack, preferably outside in a closed area.

Now that we have properly cleaned our dance wear and are no longer worrying about embarrassing sweat stains or foundation stains, hang your garment on a drying rack. It may be tempting to throw your dance costume in the dryer after all of that hard work, but it is important that you let your dance garment air dry.

Since dance garments do take a while to clean and you do not want to risk them getting dirty again by falling on the ground, I would suggest investing in a drying rack if you do not already have one.

Make sure that you give yourself enough time between dance performances when washing and drying dance outfits. Clean your dance outfits no later than one full day before they need to be ready to go!

Our recommended products for cleaning dance uniforms and dance costumes:

You can now wash your dance outfits with a bit more knowledge on how to clean and increase the lifespan of your dance wear.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram for more tips and tricks on all things pro dance and cheer!

Insider SecretsSamantha PophamTips & How-toComment


How to Wash Your Dance Costume!

The excitement of competition season is drawing to a close for many dance and synchronized skating teams, which leaves us with one not so exciting – though very important – question. What do I do with these stinky costumes?!? This month on the blog, we’re giving you our best costume care advice to take the stress out of washing your costume.

We know you’ve spent time, energy, and $$$$ designing the best costume for your team, so how do you make sure your garment is fresh and ready for next season? If we have to pick one single piece of advice it’s this: don’t be afraid to wash your costume!

We know, we know! The thought of something going wrong and potentially ruining your costume is enough to make you want to ignore the stinky mess! But not cleaning your costume can potentially cause more damage than just the smell factor.

Perspiration and chemical residues like hair spray can promote wear and break down of specialty fabrics. Shiny finishes like hologram and myst can dull over time from exposure to these items, and the stretch fibers that make up your spandex fabrics can break down and lose their elasticity (think saggy swimsuit butt!)

So - the best thing you can do if you are going to wear a costume for more than a couple times? Launder your garment to promote longevity, and keep it sparkling fresh for another year - or more!


Ok, so how do you wash your dance costume, skating dress, or cheer uniform, you ask? Rest assured, you can easily do it yourself without risking damage to your costume. We worked with the experts in our laundry department to distill the process down to 5 simple steps, safe enough to use for most garments.


Step 1: Do Not Dry Clean

The thought of handing off the messy task to a professional seems enticing, but don’t even think about dry cleaning your costume! The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process, much like perspiration and hair spray, can actually damage specialty fabrics and adhesive applied finishes. Fabrics with a shiny or foil finish, spangles and sequins will all dull, reducing their sparkle factor. We’ve also heard a few horror stories of all of the rhinestones falling of a skate dress after dry-cleaning. Considering the amount of time and energy it takes to apply stones by hand, re-stoning is a task no one would want to repeat! Plus, you’ll save yourself some serious cash in dry cleaning fees!


Step 2: Spot Clean as Needed

Before washing, spot clean troublesome areas with a spot cleaner. It’s best to use a product that is gentle and won’t damage your specialty fabrics. We DON'T recommend Shout or other similar drug store products - they are too harsh and may leave permanent damage. The go-to choice for our in-house laundry team? Stain Remedy from Forever New. Looking for a DIY version? Our owner Deb makes her own special stain sauce, known to work some minor miracles! Combine one part Dawn dish soap with one part hydrogen peroxide, stir lightly to blend.

Before applying the spot cleaner, the most important thing to do is test your fabric! Apply the spot cleaner in a hidden area, like inside of the collar, or request a fabric swatch from us if you’d like to play it safe. Make sure the product you choose doesn’t alter the color of your fabric or dull shine.

Once you’ve determined your chosen product is safe, apply it directly to the stain with your fingertips. Let it soak for 2 minutes, and rinse with cold water.


Step 3: Hand Wash

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves! It’s best to wash one garment before the rest, to ensure everything goes smoothly. Hand wash your garment in cold water with a small amount of mild soap. Again, using the right product is key here to ensure you don’t damage your uniform. Use a mild soap, such as Forever New. Don’t be fooled by Woolite though, it’s not actually a mild soap! We don’t recommend it.

Avoid color bleeding with a few simple tips: use cold water, don’t soak or leave your costume unattended while washing, and remove from the water promptly. Protect against further damage by avoiding abrasion: do not wring, rub or agitate your garment, and wash it inside-out if it has specialty items like rhinestones or spangles.

Finish this step by rinsing out the soap thoroughly with cold water.

One question we know is on your mind: Can I put my costume in the washing machine? Our owner, Deb, has been known to wash some garments in a washing machine, turned inside out, on the gentle cycle, and in a mesh garment wash bag. Warning: proceed with CARE! If you forget and leave the garment in the washer - even for a short period of time - be prepared to replace the garment!!! Even we have been absent minded enough to have made that costly mistake. This option should only be used with the gentle cycle, attending to the machine at all times!


Step 4: Hang to Dry

One of the worst things you could do to your spandex-based costume is to stick it in the dryer! Your spandex-based fabric is made up of elastic fibers, meaning it will shrink when exposed to heat! Definitely not fun. The heat from the dryer will also break down the elastic fibers - meaning your garment will lose its elasticity over time and stretch out.

The best drying technique? First, blot excess water from your garment by using towels. This may require using several towels! Second, make sure there isn’t any water dripping from the garment. Then hang to dry!


Step 5 - Steam & Store - but Never Iron

The best way to get any wrinkles out of your garment is to use a steamer! Whatever you do, don’t use an iron! Your specialty fabrics will melt if an iron is applied, leaving burn marks. Trust us, we’ve accidentally done it ourselves! But don’t worry, we’d never send a costume out to a customer this way ;)

Now onto storage. The best way to store your garments is to hang them, which will avoid further wrinkling. Most importantly, store them in a breathable container, like a old pillowcase. Avoid plastic or nylon garment bags - these will trap odors, letting them fester and grow (pee-ew!). And ALWAYS make sure your garments are dry before storing. Damp items will mold or mildew, and again, lead to a smelly mess. Also, store away from sunlight to prevent fading.


Hopefully this helps take away the anxiety of garment care - if you follow these 5 steps, you’ll have your garment "so fresh and so clean, clean" in no-time!

Looking for a little more detailed information about those sequins, rhinestones, fringe, or other specialty items? Download the full garment care instructions PDF from our website!

Still have anxiety about garment care or don't have time to tackle the job yourself? No worries! We’re equipped with a talented team of cleaning experts that can have your dance costume, skate dress, or cheerleading uniform sparkling in no time! Contact us toinquire about our washing services! 

Up NEXT: Garment Care 102: 5 Must-Know Garment Care Tips!



Dance shoe care - Useful information

Dance shoes for the artist is of paramount importance. It often takes a long time to find and choose the perfect shoes for rehearsals and performances, so you always want them to last as long as possible. Take on board the useful tips for caring for dance shoes from the company "Sudarushka" and then your shoes will "thank" you with convenience and a decent service life!

Care methods depend mainly on what materials the shoes are made of:

Satin shoes at home can be cleaned with a special agent, and if it is not available, with a soft dry sponge, or, in case of noticeable dirt, with a damp (but not damp) slightly soapy palm, and then wipe with a clean, lint-free cloth. Places where the fabric is subject to abrasion can be lubricated with natural oil.

Genuine leather is the easiest material to care for. To care for leather dance shoes, you can use conventional products. But experts say that shoes made of thin leather - for example, jazz shoes - are best treated on the outside with natural beeswax. nine0003

Natural suede and nubuck - these materials categorically do not like moisture. Therefore, they should be cleaned with dry rubber brushes. To remove heavy dirt on suede and restore the surface texture, use a metal bristle. After cleaning, treat the surface with a protective spray for suede and nubuck.

Patent shoes are quite demanding in care, but they also look very respectable. The new varnish is practically maintenance-free: to restore shine, it is enough to wipe the shoes with a flannel. If you still need to clean them, use balms or oils for patent shoes. Never use brushes to clean patent leather shoes! nine0003

During wear, dull spots and scuffs often appear on the lacquer surface. They can be refreshed by rubbing with a cut onion or egg white. Store patent leather shoes in a dry place away from heat sources. If it was not possible to protect them from moisture, and mold appeared on the shoes (this happens with varnished shoes), carefully remove the plaque and grease these places with glycerin for about ten minutes, and then remove the glycerin with a soft cloth.

There are a few general dance shoe care rules to follow :

  • never go out in dance shoes! The sole of the dance shoes is made of special thick leather, the rough surface of which provides perfect grip on the parquet in the dance hall. From contact with another coating, the sole deteriorates;
  • after performances and rehearsals, as well as during storage, shoes should be cleaned of dust and dirt and dried well at room temperature, after stuffing paper into socks or placing spacers; nine0032
  • the sole of dance shoes also requires care: metal brushes will help restore its rough surface;
  • watch how the heel wears out: change the heels in time;
  • note in a timely manner when the shoes began to deform from long service. Often dancers use concert shoes that have lost their original appearance for rehearsals. This is acceptable if at the same time it is comfortable enough and sits tightly on the leg; nine0032
  • For storage and transportation of dance shoes, use linen bags, not plastic bags.

"Sudarushka" wishes you successful performances and invites you to purchase shoes of its own production for dancing and rehearsals. Buy your "happy couple" from us!

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How to care for dance shoes

The use of dance shoes for regular training and performance requires that they wear out quickly. To extend the life of your shoes, keep them looking great, and protect your feet from calluses and fungus, it's important to know how to take care of your dance shoes and follow simple yet effective guidelines.

Drying and cleaning: general rules

It is important to dry your shoes properly immediately after class or performance. It's important to do it right, as it's one of the most important parts of maintenance and will keep your shoes in good condition for a long time. nine0003

Upon returning home, you should take the shoes out of the bag, insert a special stretching form into it or stuff it with crumpled paper. Napkins or newspapers that need to be changed periodically are also suitable. At the same time, it is impossible to dry dance shoes near a radiator, heater or any other source of heat - this will lead to the fact that the material will crack or shrink. Because of this, the shoes will either have to be stretched or thrown out altogether.

Shoes should be cleaned only with special products - they are easy to find in any stores. Washing them by hand or even more so in a washing machine is not recommended. nine0003

Caring for satin shoes

These dance shoes are best cared for with special cleaning products. It is only important to follow the instructions on the package, and the presentable appearance of the shoes will remain for a long time. Do not rub the fabric strongly, use a brush, even a soft one, and also try to wash them with plain water. This will only provoke a thinning of the fibers of the fabric, ugly pellets may appear.

Places where the fabric can fray, including in the area of ​​seams and fasteners, should be carefully lubricated with natural oil. This will protect her. nine0003

Cleaning shoes made of genuine leather

It is better to clean the surface of shoes with a soft damp cloth or sponge. You can also use special products for leather, but they are created primarily for street shoes. You can use natural products: for example, beeswax - it will help to add shine to the shoes. For the same purpose, a special polish is suitable.

Caring for suede and nubuck shoes

Caring for these shoes is somewhat more difficult. To clean it, you should completely abandon the use of water, because because of it, new stains will only become larger. Only dry surfaces need to be cleaned. nine0003

Before the main cleaning, it is recommended to brush the shoes with a rubber brush. There is also a “folk” way, which involves the use of an eraser and tooth powder, but it is better to get special care products for such shoes, as well as suitable impregnation.

Cleaning patent-leather shoes

Even small scratches can be seen on the patent surface, so care must be taken to care for such shoes. New and clean shoes do not need to be cleaned - just wipe them with a soft cloth. When the need for thorough cleaning appears, it is better to use a soapy solution and a soft sponge or special products: balms, shoe oils. Acetone-free nail polish remover will also help remove stains. nine0003

Of course, never use a brush to clean patent leather shoes. If some areas of the surface are dull, this can be corrected by wiping these places with egg white or a cut onion. Special formulations are also suitable.

So that patent ballroom dance shoes do not cling to each other during the first wear and do not deteriorate their surface, you need to use a special polish. Treat the surface of the shoe with it even before the first wear.

Keep patent leather shoes as far away from moisture and heat as possible. Otherwise, it may even become moldy. If this happens, you should carefully remove it and lubricate this area with glycerin, but it is much better to get rid of such shoes and purchase new ones, and then properly care for them. This will save you from diseases of the feet and nails.

Sole and heel care

The condition of the sole directly affects not only the beauty of the shoes, but also the comfort of wearing them, stability and slip on the parquet. Shoes must be cleaned before each workout or performance with a special shoe brush. You can put a nylon stocking on it before use - then the brush will always be like new. nine0003

Do not wet the sole with water - this leads to the fact that it quickly deteriorates. It's also best to refrain from using hairspray - it's often used to give soles strength. However, when the composition dries, its condition can only worsen, but it will be difficult to remove the varnish.

The sole can be cleaned with a universal fluid displacer, which is well known to motorists - WD-40. It will remove grease and paraffin from the surface, disinfect it. However, often degreasing the sole is also not very good, so it is recommended to use this tool once every 2-3 weeks.

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