Adding resistance bands to your workouts can help you build muscle, without having to invest in big, clunky equipment — but just like you’d wipe down the machines or free weights at the gym (right?), your resistance bands also need to be cleaned from time to time to keep bacteria from building up. POPSUGAR spoke with Krystal Goodman, an NCSF-certified personal trainer and coach at Orangetheory Fitness, for some best practices on caring for resistance bands. First, know that the steps you should take to clean them vary slightly depending on whether your bands are made with fabric or latex.
“If your band is fabric, you want to treat it like your laundry,” Goodman told POPSUGAR. She recommends placing the bands in a bucket of warm water, with just a small amount of detergent. After they’ve soaked for a few minutes, gently hand wash the bands, then lay them out to dry somewhere away from direct sunlight. Goodman noted that you can also wash fabric resistance bands in the washing machine on a gentle cycle.
You can follow the same hand-washing instructions for latex bands, just swapping in gentle or mild dish soap, instead of detergent, Goodman explained.
However, to keep your resistance bands looking and feeling new for as long as possible, you’ll need to do more than just clean them. Goodman stressed the importance of keeping them out of heat and direct sunlight, which can make the bands brittle and cause them to break down. Also, “be sure to completely dry them before putting them away, and avoid storing them with weighted items on top,” she said.