How to Properly Clean a Medical Brace

Medical braces provide added support, compression, and protection to various parts of our bodies. When we invest in a medical brace, we want to be able to use it for as long as necessary and, possibly, later on in case of a re-injury.

Designed to be sturdy, medical braces are made from strong, breathable materials, but that doesn’t mean that they will keep them from staying clean and fresh. Cleaning your medical brace is very important and if you are unsure how to do so, consider the information provided to help keep your brace in its original state.

Persons hand in medical cast forming peace sign

Why Is Cleaning Important?

People who wear their braces often or for long periods of time know that moisture from the body can cause the brace to develop a build-up of bacteria. Cleaning your brace is important to avoid unpleasant odors, as well as skin infections such as ringworm and staph.

It is also important to clean your brace so that you can potentially extend its life. A dirty brace that is filled with dust and other grime will certainly lose its performance more quickly than a brace that is taken care of over time.

How to Clean the Brace

Cleaning a brace properly is not always as simple as throwing it into the washing machine. Depending on your quality body brace, there will be a lot of moving parts that should not be submerged in water for long periods of time. For example, some braces will be all fabric, while others include screws, metal pieces, and rubber.

For those braces that are made of plastic and fabric, it may be possible to gently hand wash them. For these items, specific instructions for hand washing braces should be included. These steps will likely require cold water with mild detergent, removing any plastic pieces, and gently washing and rinsing the brace.

As a basic cleaning guide for more complicated braces, you should be using a mild detergent and some cold water to clean the large parts of your brace. You can use a cloth to wipe down large areas and smaller items like as cotton-tipped swabs to get into the tighter, smaller spaces.

If you want to use a homemade cleaner, consider mixing together small measurements of vinegar and baking soda. Not only will this help to clean the brace, but the baking soda will help with any existing odors as well.

Man grasping knee with knee brace

If you’re cleaning your brace for the first time, try to look for instructions that should be included. These can also help to give you suggestions for the proper way to clean the different areas of your particular brace.

Drying the Brace

All braces should be air dried. Putting them into a dryer can cause them to crack or deform, and this can also do major damage to your dryer. If you use your brace daily, make sure that you are washing the brace immediately after use, so that you can leave it to dry overnight. Keeping it in a cool, dry area will help it to dry quickest.

Man flexing wearing black elbow brace

Other Maintenance Tasks

Not all braces are made the same, and some will require more maintenance than others. For example, lots of hinged knee braces are made with straps and screws, so you’ll need to make sure that you tighten the screws regularly and check for rips and tears in the straps.

How Often Should I Clean My Brace?

How often you clean your brace depends on how often you wear it. For many people, a brace is required for day-to-day activities like walking, gardening, and performing simple tasks. For these individuals, cleaning their brace daily is important to keep it clean and keep their skin safe.

For those who wear their braces a few times a week or less, it’s acceptable to wash it 2-3 times a week. The goal is to keep your brace clean and dry so that it can perform the way it is supposed to and so your skin does not become irritated. For the most part, you can be the judge of how often you’re wearing it and how often it will need to be cleaned.

Your brace is an important investment in your health. If you want to ensure that you’ll be able to use it for a long time, be sure to read any enclosed instructions and keep it in a place where it will be safe from harm when it’s not in use.

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