Lingerie 101: Caring for Lingerie to Extend its Lifetime of Wear

Lingerie is a beautiful addition to any person’s wardrobe. The right lingerie can amp up a person’s confidence, making them feel sexy and bold even outside of the bedroom. But lingerie is also notoriously delicate, requiring different methods of cleaning and care to keep these items in great shape.

Treating lingerie like any other garment can lead to holes, stretching, distortion and breakage of clasps and straps. In this guide to caring for your most delicate garments, we will show you how to wash and dry your lingerie so that you get the most out of your purchases.

How to Wash Lingerie

Of course, lingerie needs to be washed just like anything else that goes onto your body. Sweat and skin cells (at the very least) can get into the fabrics and, when left unwashed, will leave the lingerie looking and feeling not-so-great. But it’s not like you can just toss your lingerie in with your tee shirts and jeans, right? So, let’s talk about how you can wash and dry your delicate lingerie items safely.

First, Separate Your Lingerie Items

There are some items that can, in fact, be machine washed. Sports bras, regular cotton panties, and wireless bras can be tossed into the washing machine. But your more delicate (and probably more expensive) garments deserve quite a bit more TLC.

Spot Treat Stains

Blood, makeup and other things can leave stains on your lingerie. The best thing that you can do to bust these stains is to spot treat them before you wash the item(s) properly. There are several products on the market designed for treating delicates. Use products designed specifically for these items, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only use cold water during the spot treatment process.

Handwash Delicate Lingerie

Handwashing is the safest way to effectively clean delicate lingerie items that are made of lace, silk or any other material outside of athletic material or cotton. This is time-consuming, for sure, but it will save your fabrics, keep them clean, and ensure a long life of wear. To handwash, your lingerie, make sure to have a detergent designed for delicates on-hand. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Put two capfuls of the detergent into a washtub or basin. If you don’t have a washtub or basin, a sink will work in a pinch.
  2. Fill the washtub or basin with cool water.
  3. Place the lingerie into the water-detergent mixture.
  4. Gently “swish” around the lingerie in the mixture (also known as agitating) until the detergent is evenly distributed through the water.
  5. Allow the garments to soak for up to 30 minutes.
  6. After soaking, remove the garments from the detergent water and rinse, using cool water.

Dry Your Lingerie

You should never, ever wring out delicate lingerie. Instead, lay the garment flat on a surface and press on it to remove the bulk of the water from the fabric. Of course, pressing the fabric will not eliminate all water.

To dry your lingerie the rest of the way, you should hang your lingerie from a line or lay it flat to air dry. Never put your delicates into the dryer. The heat can distort the items and reduce elasticity.

Remove Wrinkles

You should never even consider applying a hot iron to your delicate lingerie! Instead, opt for steaming your lingerie to remove any wrinkles that may have shown up in the washing and drying process.

When you give your lingerie the time and attention to care for it properly, you will get years upon years of use from every well-cared-for garment.

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