(To Obtain MAXIMUM Lifetime from Velcro-brand Strap)
Based upon my 20 Years of experience wearing the M BRACE RCA, my "winning formula" regarding the Velcro-Brand strap has been simply to leave it alone. I detach it as few times as possible (typically once per day), I do not wash it and I do not clean out the hooks or touch the loop. The result is that I can obtain up to two years of use from the strap before it is thoroughly worn out.
However, I realize my methodology may not be acceptable to other uses, so here is a Care - Cleaning - Use Guide.
The Velcro USA company does not have specific recommendations on cleaning the "Loop" portion of the product aside from saying that when it is being washed, the hook & loop should be affixed prior to the washing.
I believe this instruction is designed to prevent the hook (end tab) portion from attaching to other items in a clothes washing machine.
I have several additional suggestions which have worked for me in isolated circumstances over the years (but only when absolutely necessary) as follows:
A) If you are dealing with ordinary dirt, pour a small amount of laundry detergent onto the strap and gently rub it into the loop fabric with your fingers only (*not a brush* and *not your fingernails*) and let it sit for 10 minutes in a bowl or on a plate to give the laundry detergent time to work its chemical magic. Next, place the laundry detergent-soaked strap into a bowl of warm water and hand wash the strap for several minutes. Finally, thoroughly rinse off the strap under warm tap water using your hands only. After the washing is complete, set the strap to dry on the kitchen counter or other similar surface and turn it over after an hour or two to permit the other side to fully dry.
B) If you are dealing with trucking-style dirt for which you know that laundry detergent will not be sufficiently effective (or after you wash with laundry detergent and the strap is still dirty but still wet), try using the type of dishwashing liquid which is a well-known anti-grease solution. But use hot water instead of warm water during the washing process.
C) Do *not* use anything other than your fingers to wash the 5-1/2 inch Velcro loop portion of the strap and do *not* use your fingernails because they will damage the tiny loops which attach to the hook (tab) portion of the Velcro strap. Also: do not attach the hook to the loop until the product is 100% dry. Velcro-brand straps generally do not perform well when wet with the exception of certain Velcro USA hook & loop types specifically designed for use in wet environments.
D) For removing fabric from the hook (tab) section, the Velcro USA company recommends using a separate piece of Velcro-brand hook to pull the fabric out of the other Velcro-brand hook section. However, the best solution is to prevent the Velcro-brand hook from coming into contact with fabric (other than the Velcro-brand loop portion of the strap) in the first place. The Velcro-brand hook is very sensitive and if it is damaged the product will not work properly.
Finally, the best way to extend the life of the M BRACE RCA strap is to attach it to the wrist at the start of the day and remove it at the end of the day. This should result in a year or more of product life because the hook/loop combination has a "cycle" life which is based upon the number of attach/detach events. The fewer times the strap is attached/detached, the longer it will perform at an optimal level. As mentioned earlier, I have extended the life of my personal straps for up to two years using this method.
Since the other goal is to minimize having the strap become soaking wet, I push the attached product up my arm when I wash my hands and push it down again when I am finished. This is possible because my wrist and forearm match the general profile depicted on the product box. When it comes to outdoor work, wearing long sleeves will help reduce exposure of the strap to adverse conditions such as rain.
I hope you find the above info useful!
David J. Beadle, President, WristPainCom, Inc. / M BRACE RCA on Amazon