Skivvies, undies, panties—however you say it, it’s not exactly something you want to talk about over the water cooler (unless you work at Victoria’s Secret). And who really knows the best way to wash them? Everyone says to hand wash them, but how? And how often?! Whether it’s your grannie panties or your luxurious lingerie set, they deserve an equal amount of love to make them last. Read on for the truth on how to wash your underthings!
1. Always wash by hand. Hand washing is guaranteed to prolong your lingerie’s life, and it’s fairly easy. Fill a bowl or your sink (clean it first!) with lukewarm water and add in the garments until fully wet. Add in a tablespoon of detergent, and swish them around to get soapy. Place everything in a colander over the sink and rinse with cold water to remove the suds. No colander? Empty the soapy water and refill with clean. Rinse twice if needed!
2. Too lazy to hand wash? Do it in the shower! You’re already getting clean and sudsy in the shower, so you might as well multitask. Bring your dirty items in with you, wet them and soap them up. Done!
3. Air dry only. The heat from the dryer (even on low) can be too much for elastic and lace. Always air dry them! Make sure you don’t remove excess water by twisting and wringing—instead roll the garment up in a towel to get out excess water, then hang.
4. For your underwire’s sake, use the gentle cycle.
5. Delicates bags are essential. If you just have to use a washer (or the label says it’s safe!) use a delicates bag to keep them from snagging.
6. Hook up. Another tip to prevent snagging: hook all your bras so they don’t pull on other clothes or get locked together.
7. The lighter the load, the better. Wash underthings in light loads instead of with heavier items to prevent messing with underwire. Jeans and towels can be washing maching bullies.
8. Don’t mix. Just like your usual laundry, make sure you don’t mix whites with colors.
9. Type of detergent matters. Regular detergent can be too tough, especially on delicate materials. Use a detergent specifically for delicates, or even try baby shampoo.
10. Make sure to check the label. Brands take great care with the teeny tiny instructions on the label for a reason! Check to see if it recommends the type of cycle, or if hand washing is not just recommended, but necessay. Sometimes they use symbols, so make sure you’re read up on what those mean.
11. For stain removing, try a pre soak. Dab detergent on the stain, soak in lukewarm water, then rub the fabric against itself to get the stain out. Never use bleach!
12. How often to wash is really up to you—and the season. In summer, you may need to wash your bra after every wear. Otherwise, after every other wear is fine, if maybe a tad idealistic! As with any clothes, if it smells, it’s time.
13. Sports bras need immediate love. Right after wearing, go ahead and at least rinse them in cold water so the sweat doesn’t sit. If you don’t have time for that, let them air dry so they don’t make all its drawer neighbors funky.