Taking proper care of your lingerie will keep bras, panties, hosiery and shapewear looking fresh and fitting properly longer. Although lingerie loses elasticity over time, some laundering tips will help your lingerie live a long life.
Your lingerie will last longer if you...
- Hand wash
- Use a lingerie bag if machine washing.
- Always use cold or warm water.
- Wash delicates with other delicates. Heavy fabrics like denim can tangle with bras.
- Avoid washing lingerie in the same load as towels. No lint.
- When hand washing, don't wring garments out or twist tightly.
- Separate light and dark colors.
Even though most labels say to hand-wash bras, everyday bras can safely go through the washing machine. Just keep in mind that the gentler cycle, the better with little to no spin. For extra protection, place each bra in a lingerie bag-clasped in the back to avoid snagging.
If necessary, you can pre-treat perspiration stains with mild soap and water, and gentle rubbing, and then let soak for a few minutes. Use only cold or warm water. Hot water can break down fabrics and elastic. Hook the bra together to avoid snagging it on other clothing. Ornate or delicate bras are best washed by hand, using a gentle fabric wash.
Soak the bra for a few minutes and then gently work the suds through the material and rinse. A good way to get excess water out is to roll the bra in a towel before laying it out to dry. Do not put bras in the dryer. The heat breaks down spandex and elastic and generally wreaks havoc on fine lingerie.
Look at the care instructions on the label. Except for delicate fabrics and ornate decoration, many panties can be washed in the machine.
If there are stains, apply a delicate wash or stain treatment and let the panties soak for a few minutes. Then, wash in the machine using the delicate cycle on warm or cold and wash with other lightweight items. Mesh lingerie bags will keep panties from twisting or catching on other garments. If you prefer washing cotton undies in hot water, do so, although it may shorten the life of your panties.
Like bras, air-dry. The dryer is not lingerie's friend.
Even if the care instructions allow for machine washing, your best bet is to wash shapewear by hand. If you are using the machine, use cold or warm water and avoid chlorine bleach. Air or line dry.
We've been washing stockings and panty hose by hand since mom first taught us how. Tights and other hosiery may not have to be washed after every wear, but do wash after a few wears. Start by soaking hosiery in a sink filled with cool or tepid water. Add a detergent made for delicates and gently swish your stocking or tights around. Then let them soak for 30 min. if you have time. Rinse in cold water and gently wring out moisture. Hang to dry.
How to Launder Specific Fabrics
Acrylic lingerie should be hand washed in warm water. Gently squeeze out water then smooth or shake garment out. Hang to dry on a non-rusting hanger. Use a warm iron if pressing is required.
Cotton can be washed in hot water and chlorine bleach on whites. Cotton, unlike most lingerie can be put in the dryer with moderate to high heat. But to prolong the life of cotton undies, you may also wash them the way you would other delicates.
One of the easiest lingerie fabrics to care for, nylon can be machine washed warm and tumble dried at a low temperature. You may want to add fabric softener to the rinse cycle. A dryer sheet will reduce static.
Most polyester can be machine washed with warm water and dried on low. Polyester can also be dry-cleaned.
Most rayon garments should be dry-cleaned. Check the care instruction as some items can be hand or machine washed.
Detergent and dyes in other garments are not kind to silk. Ideally, silk should be dry-cleaned. If your silk lingerie has no lining or embellishments, silk can be washed gently in detergent meant for delicate items and tepid water. Never use chlorine bleach.
Lingerie containing spandex can be hand or machine-washed, but check the care instructions first. If hand washing, make sure to rinse thoroughly, especially if using color-safe bleach. Then drip dry. If machine washing, use a low temperature. If ironing is required, iron quickly on a low setting.