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Sexy lingerie is one of life’s most indulgent pleasures. Even if no one sees it but you, it’s like a secret you have with yourself. Unfortunately, luxury lingerie is also delicate, which means that it may require special care instructions. The good news? By taking proper care of your lingerie and other garments, you can extend its lifeline and keep it looking — and fitting — it’s beautiful best. This starts with how you wash and dry it.
Read on for a roundup of tips for how to wash delicates and lingerie for women:
1. Sort Your Intimates
All intimates aren’t created equal. In fact, there are many different types of women’s lingerie. Depending on their material, structure, and color, they may have further care instructions. For example, sticky bras might require different washing and drying processes than a cotton t-shirt bra, while a padded push-up bra with underwire may require additional treatment than a delicate lace bra.
Keeping likes with likes can help you stay organized while also ensuring that nothing ends up in the washer or dryer that shouldn’t. It will also prevent bleeding and staining. We love a pink bra as much as the next girl, but not when it used to be white!
2. Tackle Tough Stains Gently
While specific clothing and materials may be up for some tough love when it comes to getting out severe stains, lingerie requires a gentler approach. If you’re dealing with colors from makeup, self-tanner, lotion, or body oils, apply a stain treatment by hand beforehand using cool or warm water.
3. Be Hands-on…or Not
While some lingerie requires hand-washing, some bras, panties, and other intimates can be tossed in the wash on the delicate cycle. One rule of thumb is that bras made with delicate lace, silk, lots of ornamentation, and sheer or adhesive materials should always be hand washed.
Additionally, bras with underwire usually require hand washing. However, there’s only one true way to know what type of care your clothing needs: the manufacturer’s care instructions. For example, the best adhesive bra comes with a protective film attached to the bra before washing. Skip this simple step, and you risk interfering with the bra’s sticking (and staying) power.
When hand washing lingerie, use a small amount of mild detergent in a tub or sink filled with cool to lukewarm water. Submerge the item into the water and swish it around gently to distribute the detergent. For tougher stains, soak for up to 30 minutes. Rinse with running cool water until no soap residue remains. Avoid wringing and twisting; instead, press any excess water out of your intimates.
When machine-washing lingerie, a mesh washing bag is your new best friend. Putting all of your intimates and other delicates into a mesh laundry bag prevents tearing, minimizes snagging, and preserves elasticity. Use a mild detergent for delicate clothing, the delicate wash cycle, and cool water to reduce excess wear and tear on your lingerie. Also, refrain from overloading the washer (or mesh laundry bag); allowing clothes plenty of room for moving reduces the risk of damage.
4. Bypass the Dryer
Next up? How to dry delicates. Using a dryer on delicates is an automatic no-no. High heat can destroy a bra’s elasticity and moisture-wicking capabilities. Instead, either hang intimates to dry or lay them flat on a drying rack in their natural shape. For the same reason, avoid using irons on wrinkled lingerie. If necessary, steam for a smooth finish.
5. Store Smart
There’s one last step, and that’s storing your delicates correctly. While this isn’t technically part of the lingerie washing and drying process, it’s an essential part of keeping all of your intimates in like-new condition. If you’ve got enough space, store bras in their original shape. To avoid lumps and dents, smooth flat with your fingers. Working with space limitation? Use this trick: fold bra cups into each other.
If you love your lingerie, there’s no better way to show that than by caring for it properly, including following the manufacturer’s recommendations for washing and drying. In return, your lingerie will love you back by continuing to look and feel amazing for many wears to come!