Daily Living Aids

Brace Yourself: How to Keep Your Ankle Brace Clean & Fresh

Written by Claire Bonneau
Last Updated :
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Are you wondering how to clean ankle braces without damaging the material?

Once I ruined a brace because I used the wrong cleaning products and didn’t follow the cleaning instructions. 

So, I’m here to share my experience with you and teach you how to keep your brace clean to avoid purchasing a replacement. 

Just keep reading.

Quick Summary

  • It’s easy to clean ankle braces when you follow the provided cleaning instructions.
  • Always consider your ankle brace type and what it is made from before washing it. 
  • Regular maintenance is essential to keep your skin and ankles healthy. 

READ MORE: Should I Wear My Ankle Brace Over My Sock?

How to Clean Ankle Braces in 5 Steps

As experts from the Mayo Clinic explain, “Ankle braces serve as the external supports to limit certain motions.” They’re great for keeping your ankle stable while it heals after a sprain. But sometimes, there’s a debate on whether to use crutches or a boot for a sprained ankle, especially in more severe cases. (1)

Braces are an excellent option for athletics, playing in high-risk sports, such as volleyball, basketball, etc., to reduce the incidence of injury. 

However, even when you take good care of them, braces get dirty. And since no one likes to wear a brace that smells like feet, you’ll have to wash it sooner or later. 

So, how do you clean an ankle brace? Since there are a wide variety of options, there is no single washing solution. 

Just follow these simple washing instructions. 

#1 Consider Your Ankle Brace Type

First, you should consider the type of ankle brace. Compression/sleeve braces are easy to wash with warm water because they don’t have any metal components or straps.

However, it is harder to maintain semi-rigid or rigid braces with plastic or metal components because you can’t toss them into the washing machine. 

I recommend that you read the care instructions on the product package or contact the manufacturer for a care guide, especially if you have an expensive AFO brace.

Moreover, consider the brace material. Some materials are suitable for washing in a machine, but others you should wash by hand. 

Don’t miss out on our informative video on the ‘Pros and Cons of Ankle Braces for Volleyball’. Get the inside scoop and make an informed decision to enhance your game:

#2 Prepare the Necessities

To clean your brace, you’ll need a few things – water, mild detergent, and a cloth. You can also use a mix of vinegar, water, and baking soda to remove unpleasant smells. 

Avoid using bleach, fabric softeners, stain removers, or harsh laundry detergents. 

#3 Prepare the Brace

If your brace has Velcro fasteners, you should secure the Velcro to the strap to avoid damaging it. 

Lint and debris can get stuck on the hook-and-loop surfaces, which can be removed with a toothbrush. 

#4 Clean the Brace

Depending on the type of brace, you have several cleaning options:

  • Toss the brace into the washing machine. Most ankle sleeves are machine washable in cool/cold water so that you can wash them on a delicate wash cycle. 
  • Handwash. Soak the brace in water or a mix of vinegar/baking soda. Wait a couple of minutes and then wash it by hand. Use a brush for stubborn stains. 
  • Wipe. Use a damp cloth to wipe the brace and any metal/ plastic components.
  • Always consult the care instructions to prevent damage to the material. 

#5 Leave to Dry

Once you’ve washed the brace, you should leave it to dry completely. Do not put it in the dryer unless the instructions say you can. 

And now, let’s talk about why it’s so important to wash your foot braces clean. 

CHECK: How to Wear Ankle Brace With Shoes

Why Should You Clean Your Ankle Braces?

Ankle braces accumulate dust, dirt, and germs. And they get smelly the more you wear them. So, you need to wash them to remove the accumulated bacteria and eliminate the unpleasant smell.

Lack of regular maintenance can also lead to skin problems, such as rashes, staph infections, ringworm, itching, etc. But how often should you clean your brace? Let’s find out! 

How Often Should You Clean Your Ankle Braces?

You should clean your brace regularly. Sleeves and simple braces can last a few days before they need a good wash, but you should wipe down metal foot braces every day. 

If you’re recovering from an ankle injury or just need some extra support during physical activity, an ankle brace can be a great solution. Check out our video on “How to Put on an Ankle Brace” for step-by-step instructions and helpful tips:


1. Can Ankle Braces Go In the Water?

Most brace designs allow you to wash them with lukewarm water. However, check the provided care instructions to ensure water won’t damage the material. 

2. Can You Put Ankle Braces in the Washer?

You can put some braces in the washer and clean them with warm water on a gentle cycle. But it depends on the brace type and material. 

3. Can You Wash an Ankle Brace with Velcro?

You can wash some foot braces with Velcro, but you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging the Velcro.

4. Should an ankle brace be worn all day?

Depending on your condition, you can wear some types of braces all day. However, you should consult with a medical professional. 


It’s not hard to keep your ankle brace clean, germ-free, and smell-free. However, you should handle it carefully to avoid damaged material or construction.

But don’t forget that you should pick the right ankle brace for your condition. Otherwise, you won’t get the desired support and stability.

foot wearing an ankle brace

What do you think about these tips on cleaning ankle braces? How do you maintain your brace? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 


1. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/brace-for-it-when-to-use-an-ankle-brace

About Author

Claire Bonneau
Claire is a registered nurse with experience in freelance medical writing. She is very passionate about geriatric nursing and seniors care and education (it is her favorite area of nursing). She worked with many seniors in a variety of medical settings to provide high-erLATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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