One of the few problems with synthetic fabrics is the issue of stain removal. These fabrics are often delicate and have special care instructions that set them apart from basics such as cotton. Spandex is included in this category. However, removing stains from spandex does not have to be an ordeal.
Basic Pre-Treat Method
Check the care label to see what methods will negatively affect the fabric. Make sure the item is not dry-clean only.
Rinse the affected area with cold or lukewarm water. Hot water can actually set stains into fabric, so it is never recommended.
Apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain. If powdered detergent is being used, mix with a small amount of water to form a smooth paste. Gently rub the detergent into the affected area. Do not scrub, as this can damage the fiber of the fabric.
Make a soaking solution if concerned about concentrating detergent onto the stain. Mix detergent with cold/lukewarm water in a sink or bucket. Add the article of clothing and allow to soak for at least a half-hour. To keep the article submerged, a towel can be used to weigh it down.
Wash the pre-treated item in the washing machine as usual. Be sure to check the article of clothing after the washer and before the dryer to make sure the stain has been eliminated. The dryer can help to set a stain that hasn't been removed in its entirety.
Stain Removal Products
Test the stain removal product on an inconspicuous area of the clothing to ensure there is no bleaching or further staining. This, of course, comes after the label is checked against the active ingredients of the product. Spandex does not do well with bleaching chemicals.
Apply the stain remover to the affected area, working on the stain from back to front (underside of the garment first). Avoid harsh scrubbing so the fabric fiber is not damaged. If the stain is bad, allow the treated garment to sit for a few minutes before washing.
Wash the garment by hand or in the washing machine, according to care instructions. Check the garment before drying. If the stain remains, repeat the stain removal steps until it is gone. Allow the garment to air dry.
When it comes to spandex, the sooner the stain can be treated, the better. If the staining agent is liquid, be sure to absorb excess liquid from the garment and rinse in cold water immediately.
Do not use bleach on spandex, even if the article of clothing is white. Any garment tag, website, etc. will tell you that bleach should never be used on nylon and spandex.