Cleaning Lingerie in a Few Easy Steps

fine_washables_group_shot_smBras, stockings, thongs– oh, my.  We love our foundation undergarments, but often we’re at a loss for how to wash them!  Dryer or not?  What temperature of water?  It can all be so confusing.  We’ve put together a quick guide so you can figure out exactly how to take care of all of your expensive undergarments.  Please be sure to check the labels on your garments first and learn what all the care symbols mean– just to be safe! Cleaning lingerie is easy, as long as you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with how to do it.

What Detergent should I use? Whether you are hand washing or machine washing, which detergent you use matters.  If you like a scent, try Caldrea Delicate Wash, which is good for both hand and machine washing (and even HE machines).  Soak Wash is another great choice, and comes in a variety of scents as well as unscented and its’ no-rinse formula makes washing very easy!

How should I wash? If you’re machine washing, always use a lingerie bag on the “delicate” cycle.  Make sure that when either hand washing or machine washing, you make sure to wash like colors and fabrics together.  You don’t want your pretty white negligee to be stained by your new red bra!

Specific garment Tips:

Bras: You should hand wash these, but if you can’t, be sure to use a lingerie bag, like the Braza Silky Sac, that allows water to penetrate, but prevents pilling and stretching. When you wash them, make sure the bras are hooked together, so that the hooks don’t snag on lace or other items in the bag. And never put bras in the dryer– they’ll stretch out and will no longer be supportive.  A good rule of thumb is to wash every other wearing– or more often if you’ve perspired a lot, or it’s a sports bra. And never put them in the dryer! Always air dry.

Tights: These are best hand washed as well, but you can also run them through the washer in a lingerie bag.

Stockings and Pantyhose: These should be hand washed– and make sure you don’t have any rough edges on your nails first!  I’ve been known to wash while wearing rubber gloves, just in case.  Use one of the suggested no-rinse washes, and swirl in warm or cool water– not too cold, and not too hot.  Roll them in a towel to remove excess water, then air-dry.

Panties: check the fabric care tag on these.  For delicate, expensive lace, I hand wash.  For less expensive cotton, I often machine wash.  Use the same steps for the pantyhose as far as hand washing.  If they’re silk, they should be dry cleaned.

Slips and other loungewear: If your item is silk, dry clean it.  If the fabric is washable, use your judgement: is there a lot of lace?  Hand wash it.  If it’s a solid polyester or cotton slip or a larger item, like pajamas, wash it with similar items and colors in the same way you would other delicates.

Garter belts, bustiers and other items with boning and plastic/metal parts: These are likely to be the items in your lingerie wardrobe that need to be laundered the least.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, depending on the fabric.  Be sure to avoid the dryer if machine-washing, and make sure to dry the items flat, especially those with boning.

Shapewear: Not quite your grandma’s girdles anymore, flexible Spandex waist whittlers, thigh trimmers and tummy tamers are very popular.  Check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, but many of these items are machine washable!  What they aren’t is tumble-dryer friendly: you’ll stress the stretch.  Wash these with other like items in your machine, but allow to dry flat.

Never use bleach on delicate fabrics. It’s too harsh and damaging. Bleach will take the stretch right out of elastic!  Pre-soak stubborn stains instead.

Do you need lingerie bags or detergent? These items are available from Manhattan Wardrobe Supply!