How To Stretch Spandex; Simple DIY Tricks

Sunil Murthy
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What is Spandex?

Spandex is a type of extensible fiber with high elasticity. It has been used in the apparel industry for decades, and its main application is to provide stretchable material. It is a synthetic material that can be made into different forms for soft clothing or sportswear. Although it has been replaced by other synthetic fibers, spandex is still a popular choice for its elasticity, comfort, and durability.

The elasticity of spandex is the most useful feature for its popularity. In order to make clothes to stretch over a variety of body types or to accommodate growth, spandex is most commonly used. It may not be the most ideal fabric for every occasion, but it is great for absorbing sweat and stretching to cover a pregnant belly.

However, it is not just for clothes. Spandex is used for a myriad of items including:

  • Sport accessories like volleyballs and soccer balls
  • Replacing rubber in industrial applications
  • Replacing latex in the medical industry for making tubing, hosing, and knee or back braces

Why is there a Need to Stretch Spandex?

Spandex is a synthetic, elastic fiber that stretches when forces are applied to it. It’s made from polyurethane. Spandex is used in a variety of clothing, including briefs, swimwear, wetsuits, athletic, and dance apparel, and other garments, because its light weight and elasticity.

Spandex has two unique features:

  • It’s elastic.
  • It retains its shape when stretched.

Whether this is desired or not depends on how it is used in wearables. For instance, briefs with spandex provide comfort and flexibility to the wearer. But it would be unpleasant to wear an item of clothing that fits so tightly as to restrict one’s movements. A wetsuit is a garment that relies on spandex to allow the wearer to move freely.

You can stretch spandex if it is warm, damp, and pliable. Just taking off your Spandex clothing in the morning to hang it on a hanger will not help it regain its size.

Alternatively, to stretch Spandex, you need to do it subconsciously by wearing it as you go about your day. The best way to do this is by wearing it to bed at night. The next morning, when you take off that Spandex apparel, it’ll be stretched and ready to be worn for the day. This is, of course, if you’re going to be wearing that Spandex item all day.

3 DIY Simple Ways to Stretch Spandex a Little or a Lot

Although spandex can be stretched, you may find that if you live in humid conditions, the spandex will stretch out on its own due to the length of time it’s been worn. While we’re sure that those of you with two left feet are happy when this happens, for the rest of you, it can be a problem.

One of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your spandex is to simply prevent them from stretching when you first get them, by drying yourself when you try them on.

1.How To Stretch Spandex a Little Bit?

Spandex is a strong synthetic fiber that is used in many undergarments, leotards, and socks. Spandex is also commonly used in accessories and children’s clothing.

Spandex garments must be stretched in order to fit correctly. While Spandex does stretch, it will not hold its form indefinitely. It is best to stretch Spandex garments regularly, as they may lose their elasticity if they are not stretched regularly.

However, Spandex garments should not be stretched until they become too tight, as doing so will create unsightly wrinkles that aren’t easy to remove.

There are several ways to stretch Spandex garments, including using water, using steam, and putting it inside a dryer.

Soak it in Hot Water and Wear it Wet

Place your spandex garment in a sink of hot water for a few moments. You do not want to put it into boiling water. As soon as you pull it out, it will feel very soft and stretchable. It is almost as if you are wearing a completely new garment.

The most straightforward way to stretch your spandex garment is by soaking hot water and wearing it wet. As simple as this.

Step 1

Wash your spandex garment in hot water with detergent, then hot water with fabric softener.

Step 2

Microwave your spandex garments for a few seconds then wash with hot water with detergent. Repeat once or twice more.

How To Ensure Better Stretch? Be Active!

Try staying active for an hour or until the garment is completely dry to maximize the fit and stretch. Resisting the pull of resistant fabrics by pulling them apart with your hands will cause additional wear and tear and damage. If you can wear around your wet spandex garment, use a ruler, golf club, or thin spatula along the grain of the fabric to extend the stretch gently. It's like extending the spring of your watch.

2. How To Stretch Spandex Significantly?

To make the spandex fabric bulkier and make it appear like the spandex is a little baggy, you must either heat the spandex to relax it making it easy to stretch or reshape it under heavyweights to gain a stretched bulkier shape.

Step 1

Use a hot cycle of your washer or heat water on your stove to reach 60°C. Soak the spandex piece in hot water to relax the spandex fibers and help it stretch more conveniently.

Step 2

Place the spandex garment on a flat surface while it’s still hot. An ironing board or your kitchen counter is a good option. You can even spread the spandex garment on the floor, or any surface that won’t be damaged by water.

How To Ensure Significant Stretch? Use Weights!

Once the garment is paved nicely on a flat surface, secure one side using something heavy enough to hold the fabric securely once you stretch it. You can try almost anything to weigh down your spandex garment including a stack of books, free weights, or a leg of your bed. Items that weigh about 3–5 lb should be sufficient enough to secure the garment.

Pull the other end of the garment, stretch it, and secure that too with another set of weights. Once the spandex is completely dry it will retain the stretch for a longer period.

3. How To Get a Greater Degree of Expansion?

Many people wonder how to stretch spandex to get a greater degree of flexibility. The spandex will easily stretch to an extent, but there is a limit to how much they can stretch before they tear.

Step 1

To increase the stretch of the spandex, take at least a liter of lukewarm water in a tub or basin. Add one tablespoon of baby shampoo and stir well.

Step 2

Soak your spandex material in the soapy solution for half an hour making the fibers relax and more easy to stretch.

Step 3

Tightly squeeze the fabric wring out all moisture. And spread it on the flat surface. Stretch it using the weights for significant stretching and let it dry.

How To Ensure A Greater Stretch? Use Baby Shampoo!

There is no need to rinse the spandex garment because shampoo is the key to maximizing the stretch and making it easier. Wait for the fabric to dry completely before you take off the weights. Otherwise, the fibers will begin to shrink and the spandex garment will return to its original shape.
As the spandex dries it will "remember" the greater length it was forced to. The longer you make the spandex, the more you need to let it rest on the flat surface before wearing it.

How to Take Care of Stretched Spandex Material?

Never try to stretch a spandex item that is too small in size, or you will make the spandex fibers snap and break when put under undue strain, depending on the type of spandex fabric. The more spandex in the fabric, the more damage will be done when it is stressed beyond the allowed limit size.

Spandex is an anagram for expansion because the fiber expands and contracts back to its original shape easily. Spandex cannot be cared for like jeans and tee shirts, thrown in the washer on a hot cycle, and drying on high heat. It will quickly wear down the spandex fiber and break the "stretch" factor.
This is how you can care for your stretch spandex garment.

  • Never expose your spandex garment to hear after you'd have stretched it to your desired size.
  • If you just intend to clean the spandex fabric, use the cool setting of the washer.
  • Never use chlorine bleach to remove stains or whiten your spandex garment.
  • Never use dryer sheets or fabric softeners.
  • Always Hang dry your stretched spandex garment away from direct sun for a couple of hours.
  • Do not Dry-clean at home.
  • Never iron spandex clothes.

Concluding Thoughts

Spandex is a fabric that gives you the opportunity to wear some of the more stylish items in the closet.

It can be used to create numerous outfits including tights, leggings, shorts, swimsuits, and more. You can stretch it for more pliability, but you have to treat it to maintain its shape and durability.

The creases and folds you get when you play with spandex basically ruin its look and appearance. So it is important to manipulate the fabric before you allow it to fall into configurations that aren’t beautiful.