How to Wash Lingerie and Underwear

By: The Cleancult Team

February 14, 2018

Valentine’s day is here! And chances are that you’re gonna finally make use of the expensive lingerie you bought all those weeks ago. Good for you! As you know, bras, panties, and legwear can be a costly investment and you want them to last as long as possible. Although most lingerie contains fibers that stretch and can lose elasticity over time, the right laundry care can keep them looking fresh and fitting properly longer.

The main supplies you need for lingerie care is a gentle laundry detergent and a mesh lingerie bag.


Some like hand wash bras (especially delicate bras), and other women prefer to machine wash. If you have a very delicate bra, it is definitely best to hand wash the garment. However, bras that are more sturdy can safely go through the washing machine. No biggie!

A delicate bra is usually sheer, lacy or has lots of ornamentation and is best washed by hand, using a gentle detergent. Fill the sink with room temperature water and a little bit of detergent. Soak the bra for a few minutes and then gently work the suds through the material and rinse with cool water. To get the excess water out before allowing to air dry roll the bra in a towel and press firmly.

Reshape the bra cups and allow to air dry. Never put a bra in a clothes dryer!

Bras that contain underwire shaping are also best washed by hand, because the wires can break if twisted too much.

It is also important to handwash bras that have any type of gel padding. Harsh tossing and turning in the washer can cause the gel inserts to leak and ruin the shape and fabric of the bra. And you don’t want that, not today!

If you’re going to wash sturdier, everyday bras, hook the bra together to avoid snagging it on other clothing or use a mesh lingerie bag and simply place the bras in the bag and close tightly before placing in the washer. If necessary, you can pretreat perspiration stains with mild soap and water and gentle rubbing, and then let soak for a few minutes. Remember to use the cool water cycle; hot water can break down fabrics and elastics more easily. Use a gentle detergent, (we know just the one!) Again, never put your bras in the dryer. Heat breaks down the spandex and elastic. Air dry away from direct heat and out of direct sunlight.


If you’re wondering whether to hand wash or machine wash your panties, use the same rules that we stated for bras. If the panties are very sheer or ornate, hand wash. If they are regular nylon or silk panties, machine wash with a gentle detergent in a mesh bag. Use warm water and a cold rinse. Even though you may feel a little embarrassed about laying out your underwear to dry on the sun, always air dry all types of panties.

Leg Wear

A Valentine’s day favorite, all leg wear - stockings, panty hose, tights - should be washed by hand. It’s incredibly easy, though. Just fill a sink with cool or room temperature water, dissolve a small quantity of gentle detergent and gently squeeze the stockings or tights. Then, let them soak for at least thirty minutes and rinse in cold water. Wrap in a towel to absorb excess moisture and hang to air-dry.


General Tips For Washing All Lingerie * Hand wash in cold or warm water. * Never wring or twist lingerie to remove water - use a towel to blot. * Always use a detergent made for delicate garments. * Use a mesh lingerie bag if machine washing. * If machine washing, just wash delicates with similar garments and avoid heavy fabrics that can tangle and damage delicate fibers. * Never overload the washer or the mesh bag - give items plenty of room to move. * Avoid washing lingerie with lint producing fabrics like terry cloth or fleece. * Separate light and dark colored garments when washing by hand or machine. * Always air dry lingerie - if you must use a dryer, choose the cool setting.

Valentine’s day is the day for love, so give some to your clothes and they’ll last for lots of time to come.