There’s nothing worse than having your favorite article of clothing get destroyed because the proper washing procedure wasn’t followed. Especially when it comes to intimate clothing like your bras, panties, sexy lingerie, and comfy sleepwear, it’s a shame to have your pieces go to waste.
Whether they’re for lounging, sleeping, or seducing a lover, your underwear and intimate attire require as much attention as your fashionable outfits for nights on the town. They are the items that are worn the closest to your body and caring for them properly ensures that they’ll continue to hug your body in all of the right spots.
While your best bet is to always check the label on your intimate apparel pieces for guidance on how to best care for the fabric, we’ve put together a simple guide to help steer you.
How to Wash Bras
Bras are the foundation of your outfit. They affect your posture, silhouette, and confidence. We put a lot of energy into finding a bra that not only fits and feels comfortable but enhances the way our outfit looks. It stands to reason that we would give as much attention to the way you care for your bras as you do to the way you choose your bras.
Caring for bras requires just a bit of understanding of the garment and a few decisions based on what you have access to. Regardless of the variables, there are a few standard things you should know.
Should I wash bras in hot or cold water?
You should always wash your bras in cold water. Hot water could negatively affect some of the fabrics or padding, causing wrinkling or shrinkage. Hot water could also make the colors run. To ensure the longevity of a good fit and vibrant colors, always wash your bras gently in cold water.
How often should I wash my bra?
That depends on you and how you wear your bra. If you’re only wearing it for a couple of hours, you could probably get away with a few wears before needing to wash your bra. Sweating heavily means you would need to wash your bra each time you wear it. Wearing a bra all day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wash it each time, but you should consider the amount of sweat, oils, and natural skin shed. For some people, that means washing every 2-3 wears and for others, that means washing your bra each wear. If you have a favorite bra that you wear frequently, try to find the balance between washing and wearing it. The more you wash your bra, the more quickly it loses its fit and shape.
What’s the best way to wash my bra?
Washing your bra by hand
The best way to wash your bra is by hand. Fill your sink or container with cold water and add a mild detergent. Once the detergent is mixed well, add your bras so that they are fully submerged. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
Once your bras have soaked, gently rub the bras around in your hands to create a nice lather. After getting the bras nice and soapy, you may rinse them. Using cold water, rinse the bra as many times as you need to for the water to run clean. Make sure to get all the dirt and the soap out so that it doesn’t make you itchy later.
Machine washing your bra
While not optimal, washing your bra in a machine is certainly an option. First, close all the clasps and hooks to make sure they don’t snag on anything. Next, place your bras in a mesh bag. If you don’t have a mesh bag, a pillowcase is a good second option. Make sure to secure the pillowcase with a rubberband so the bras don’t come out. Ideally, machine wash your bras alone, but if you don’t have enough bras to make a load, wash with like colors to prevent the color from transferring or fading. Additionally, washing with other lightweight clothing items, such as panties and t-shirts, is preferable to washing with heavier items like jeans or heavy linens. Use a mild detergent and the gentlest cycle your machine has.
How to dry your bras after washing them
Squeeze out the excess water, careful not to over-stretch the bra. You don’t want to compromise the shape or the fit. Use a towel to remove as much extra water as possible, then hang your bra somewhere with good airflow. Depending on the fabric, bras can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to dry. Keep this in mind so that you don’t end up with all clean, wet bras but nothing to actually put on.
Pro tip: All bras with underwires really should be hand washed instead of machine washed, while sports bras are always okay to machine wash.
How to Wash Panties
Panties, like all other lingerie, are considered delicates and have their own set of specific instructions that will increase their lifespan. If you find yourself constantly replacing your undies, it’s possible that you aren’t washing the correct way. When considering how to wash your panties, you probably just wash them along with other like colors but there is a better way.
To get started, separate your panties from the rest of your laundry. This prevents the material from getting pulled or stretched around more rigid materials in the wash. It also keeps your panties from mixing with bacteria that you wouldn’t normally get on your panties.
How often should I wash my panties?
You should wash your panties after each wearing, even if it’s only for a few hours.
How do I hand wash my panties?
To hand wash your panties, soak them in cooler water (around 60° F) for about 30 minutes. With detergent, switch your panties around using a twisting and plunging motion. Don’t rub the panties against themselves. This could affect shape, elasticity, or color. The idea is to mimic the delicate cycle of your machine. To rinse, run them under cold water until the water runs clear and is no longer soapy.
Is it okay to machine wash my panties?
Ideally, no. You always want to wash your panties by hand but it’s also tough to not use such a convenient solution. It’s literally a washing machine. If you choose to use a washing machine to wash your panties, protect them by using a mesh lingerie bag. If you don’t have one available, a pillowcase can work as well. Tie the pillowcase with a rubberband to keep everything inside.
Pro tip: Cotton panties can withstand washing machines better than other fabrics, but any panties with a pocket liner should always be hand washed.
What kind of detergent should I use to wash my panties?
Use a mild detergent, preferably one that is specially formulated for delicates. If you only have regular detergent on hand, dilute it with water. Be sure not to use too much of either so that you don’t leave any residue on the garment.
How do I get out tough stains?
It’s best to remove stains before the wash. For many stains, if they are fresh, cold running water should lift the stain. Otherwise, you can buy a stain removal solution or you can make one using common household ingredients. Baking soda, vinegar, and dish detergent can work wonders on a dried stain. Find a recipe that works for you online.
Once you’ve treated the stain, wash normally as explained above.
What’s the best way to dry my panties?
The best way to dry panties is not in the dryer. You want to always hang your panties. This could be on a hanger or draped across a dryer rack. You can even pin them to a string or clothesline using a clothespin.
How to Wash Sleepwear
Washing your sleepwear has quite a few factors, including fabric, how you wear your sleepwear, and your sleeping habits. You might need a few different processes since washing your sleepwear doesn’t have a one size fits all solution.
How often should I wash my sleepwear?
How often you wash your sleepwear depends on a few things. Do you shower before bed? Maybe you can go 3-4 wears before needing to wash. However, if after your shower, you use a lot of products like oils and lotions, you may want to consider only 1-2 nights of wearing your sleepwear between washes. Do you tend to sweat a lot while sleeping or is your skin particularly dry to the point of flaking? These could also be reasons to wash your pajamas more often.
The fabric also matters. Cotton tends to absorb your natural body oils and any topical products you use so cotton pajamas would need to be washed more often than wool which can hold up for a few extra nights.
Lastly, consider how you sleep. If you don’t wear underwear under your sleepwear, you would need to wash them after each use, whereas if you do wear underwear, you could wait a bit longer. If you tend to change your sheets often, you would need to wash your sleepwear less than if you didn’t change out your sheets very often.
Should I hand wash my sleepwear?
It’s not necessary, but if you choose to, it would lengthen the life of your sleepwear. Similar to panties, you would soak your sleepwear in cool or warm water, but only for 20 minutes. If you are hand washing silk pajamas, reduce your soaking time to only five minutes as silk shrinks in water.
Can I machine wash my sleepwear?
Yes, and this is the better option. Start by putting your sleepwear in a mesh lingerie bag and washing them separately from other garments. Choose cool or warm water (but never hot) and be sure to not use too much detergent. You don’t want the residue to trap grime in your fabric or make you itchy if it doesn’t wash completely out.
Pro tip: Make your sleepwear super soft by using fabric softener. You can even iron them before use to make them smooth on your skin.
How do I dry my sleepwear?
For most things, tumble dry on low with a dryer sheet to reduce static, add softness, and give a fresh scent. Silk pajamas should be air-dried.
The most important thing to know about washing and drying sleepwear is that the best advice will always be on the label. It will let you know whether to hand wash or machine wash, what temperatures are best, and how to dry the clothing.
How to Wash Lingerie
Taking care of lingerie can sound daunting, but if you can care for bras and panties, then you already know how to care for lingerie.
Lingerie is simply undergarments. Many people tend to think of lingerie as sexy fun-wear, and it can be, but ultimately, these are all underwear. Some rules for lingerie care are exactly the same, and others vary.
How often should I wash my lingerie?
You should wash your lingerie after each wear.
Should I hand wash my lingerie or is machine washing better?
You should always hand wash your lingerie unless the label specifically says that machine washing is okay. Even then, consider that hand washing will always be your best option, and choosing to hand wash will keep the quality of your lingerie intact for much longer.
How do I hand wash my lingerie?
Always consult the label, since each fabric has a different treatment. In general, soaking in cool water with a mild detergent, then swishing the items around delicately is going to be the best way to wash your lingerie.
How do I machine wash my lingerie?
If you absolutely must machine wash (we get it – having time and energy simultaneously is scarce these days) make sure the label says it’s okay. If so, you absolutely want to use a mesh lingerie bag.
Pro tip: For lace, mesh, stockings, or other fine fabrics, no matter what the label says, you should hand wash.
How should I dry my lingerie?
For any padding or thicker pieces, gently fold them into a towel to soak up extra water. All lingerie should be lain flat or hung to dry. Any pieces with spandex or elastic should be laid to dry so that the hanging process doesn’t stretch or misshape the fabric.
Never dry your lingerie on a radiator, and if you do let it hang, be mindful that any drips don’t damage your floors or create a hazardous situation.
With a little planning and care, you can keep your undergarments in a good condition for you to enjoy for a long time!