Taking care of your delicates

So, whether you have a whole collection of beautiful designer lingerie or a drawer full of basic T-shirt bras and cotton undies, it’s equally important to take proper care of them. The way you wash your lingerie directly affects its lifespan, and I’m sure you’d like to enjoy your garments as long as possible.

That’s why hand-washing your delicates is a must, and the dryer should be nowhere in sight during this process! Lingerie fabrics are delicate and the excessive heat and tumbling of the washer and dryer can damage them, make the seams pop or twist the underwires. Also, this kind of garments rely on elastic trims to adapt to the contours of your body, but elastic cannot withstand hot temperatures and it will lose its recovery, being ultimately ruined after a spin on the dryer.

Hand washing is the way to go, then! But rest assured, it’s a much less daunting process than what it seems:

5 steps to hand wash your lingerie (and a handy checklist!):

  • Gather the pieces you’d like to wash and sort them by colour to prevent dark dyes bleeding over the lighter pieces. I also recommend washing several pieces at once, so you save water and time.
  • Fill your (clean) sink, a bucket or a basin with slightly cold water and add about a teaspoon of your chosen soap. It can be a specialty lingerie or delicates wash like Eucalan or Soak (here is a review of both of them) or a mild soap like Marseille. In a pinch you can even use a gentle shampoo (baby shampoo works great!). Never use a detergent that contains bleach, as it will be too harsh on the fabric.
  • Submerge the garments in water and move them around to loosen any dirt. Gently rub any areas that are more noticeably soiled or stained (like knicker gussets or the underwire casing on bras). Let the pieces soak for a few minutes, but don’t leave them in water for a long time (just 5-10 minutes is enough).
  • Rinse and gently squeeze to remove the excess water, but don’t twist the fabric! You can also lay your lingerie between two clean, dry towels and gently press.
  • Let the pieces air dry either by hanging them or by lying them flat on another towel. If you choose them to hang dry, remember that bras should be hanged by the centre gore, as it’s the more stable part.

And that’s it! To make the washing time more like a treat and less like a chore, you could play some music, listen to your favourite podcast or put a face mask while you’re at it. And don’t forget to enjoy your freshly washed lingerie afterwards!

Bonus tip: If you’re really pressed for time, you can take your delicates to the shower and hand wash them while your hair mask does its job!

Also, for large silk items like robes I’d really recommend dry-cleaning if you want to preserve the original texture and shine. You can hand-wash those items in cold water too, but bear in mind that silk will lose a bit of its lustre. Afterwards, you’ll need to iron the garment in a low-heat setting.