Whether you’re making eyes at your beau during a candlelit night by the pool or treating yourself to a relaxing day at home, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel when you put on that delicate, lacey lingerie set. Feeling sexy and free underneath is the first step in exuding effortless confidence and poise, no matter the situation.
But anyone who’s invested in finding the perfect lingerie set or took the time to learn what is a plunge bra and other bras, know those intimates come with responsibility. You want all of your different types of lingerie to last, so how should you care for the delicate fabric lingerie ? It all starts with the wash process.
You might already know how to measure bra size at home, but how do you wash it? In this guide, we’ll teach you how to hand wash lingerie, share how often you should do it, and explore whether you can ever machine wash your delicates. With our help, you can ensure the longevity of your lingerie and the way it makes you feel.
Hand Washing Basics
When it comes to lingerie or underwear, one of the most important aspects is how it looks. Chances are you chose your favorite set because of the intricate design or elegant fabric. To keep those beautiful intimates looking new, it’s crucial to hand wash bras and underwear. Even the lowest washing machine cycles can spin or wring out the delicate fabrics with too much force, damaging your fabric and detailing.
Examples of lingerie detailing you might want to preserve include:
Fraying edges, stretched-out embroidery, and loose threads can ruin the atmosphere that an otherwise stunning lingerie set creates. You can avoid such problems by following these steps for hand washing bras and other intimates:
Prep – A proper hand wash session starts with a clean basin or sink and lukewarm water. Stay away from hot temperatures, which can fade your clothing over time. Add a mild detergent specifically made for delicates to the water. At the minimum, avoid harsh chemicals, such as bleach.
Wash – Once you put your delicates in the basin or sink, keep the clothing submerged and swirl it around to spread out the mild detergent. Creating a lather is a big no-no for lingerie. Once the lingerie has absorbed the soap, rinse the pieces with lukewarm water to get rid of the suds. Keep the stream of water low to be as gentle as possible.
Dry – When you’re ready to take your delicates out of the basin, gently press out the water before letting them air dry. To make sure your lingerie is not soaking wet, you can also wrap it in a towel.1 If you do use a towel, first check for pilling or loose fibers that could stick to your intimates. To finish, either hang up your lingerie or lay it flat to dry.
The steps to hand washing lingerie may be as easy as one-two-three, but the real secrets for how to wash lingerie are in the details. While you want to be as gentle as possible with your delicates, you shouldn’t compromise on getting a good wash.
All you need is some patience and the following tips and tricks to ensure a thorough clean:
Keep it soaking – Because you shouldn’t scrub or wring out your lingerie, the only way to get the soap into the fabric is by absorption. This is why it’s so important to give your intimates time to soak. Recommended times range from ten2 to thirty minutes.3 Consider letting thicker items, such as padded bras, sit for a longer period of time.
Wash with like colors – This timeless rule still applies when it comes to washing by hand. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than pulling your snowy white lace lingerie out of the basin only to find that it’s now pink.
Rinse all the suds off – After letting the gentle detergent work its magic, you don’t want all the soap and dirt to settle into your clothing. Be diligent about removing as much of the soapiness as possible. You may even find it helpful to empty your basin and refill it with clean water to do the job properly.
The Benefits of Hand Washing
One of the greatest benefits of hand washing your lingerie is feeling confident you’re wearing the best version of your lingerie. Caring for your cherished clothing items makes them that much more special and can make you feel that much more sexy.
But beyond how those delicate fabrics make you feel, hand washing comes with the following advantages:
Fabric preservation – Since your hands are gentler than a washing machine and more nuanced in how to apply pressure, washing by hand can help protect fibers, stitching, and detailing.4 This means you won’t have to worry about frayed edges or misshapen cups ruining the fit and feel of your lingerie.
Sustainability – When it comes to style, looking good starts with feeling good, and you can feel great knowing that hand washing is the better alternative for the environment. Machine cycles use substantially more water, which results in greater energy usage by water treatment plants.5 So, when you hand wash your delicates, you’re not only extending their lifespan—you’re also extending the lifespan of the planet.
Convenience – After a long day, the last thing you want to have to do is take your clothes to the downstairs laundry room or the laundromat. If you don’t have in-unit laundry, hand washing means you can still care for your clothing in the comfort of your own space.
Can You Ever Machine Wash Your Intimates?
While machine washing delicate items with hand cut trims or fine embroidery should never be your first choice, the truth is that sometimes, life catches up with the best of us. You might be pressed for time before an event or maybe you’re just feeling burnt out. No matter the reason, if hand washing just isn’t possible, try the following to protect your lingerie:6
Bag them up – Rather than have your beloved delicate bra or tulle briefs spinning around freely in the wash, keep them secure in a mesh lingerie bag to prevent pulling and entanglement. Don’t have lingerie bags on hand? Put your intimates in a soft pillowcase to provide them with some protection.
Wash with other delicates – To prevent your dreamy floral-embroidered bandeau-style bra from catching on a heavy denim jacket and losing a hook, consider keeping like with like. Washing your intimates with other delicates makes it less likely that a weightier fabric will pull apart your lingerie.
How Often Should You Wash Your Lingerie?
Maybe you put on your lingerie for that fancy boudoir shoot, and you didn’t break a sweat. Or maybe you wore your fabulous matching set for less than an hour before you put it away. If you’re wondering whether or not you should wash your intimates after each use, long or short, you’re not alone.
How frequently you should clean your lingerie is a delicate balance. Excess washing can lead to premature fading or fraying, whereas not washing at all may result in bacterial growth or funny smells. In reality, how often you should wash depends on the item.
For a matching lingerie set, the top and bottom will have different requirements when it comes to cleaning.
While the actual length of time may vary between washes, a general rule to follow is to put your intimates bras in the wash basin every two or three wears.7 But what constitutes a wear can change depending on your situation.
Examples of when to wash can include:
When you’re fanning yourself and sweating while rocking your black lace plunge bra for a few hours on a hot night.
- When you wear your brilliant red minimalist lingerie set under a summer dress by the beach and getting seawater on it.
The bottom of your lingerie set is a different story when it comes to washing. You should really be cleaning your briefs between every wear, although some medical experts argue that a wash every two times is acceptable if the briefs are lightly worn.8
What does “lightly worn” mean? Examples may include:
Wearing your sheer black briefs for drinks by the pool and then changing into a bikini less than an hour later.
That being said, if you’re in doubt, leave your briefs in the wash basin and choose a new pair.
Gooseberry: Elegant, Delicate Intimates with a Bold Twist
When you invest in lingerie panties and bras, you’re investing in your confidence, your elegance, and your femininity. That’s why properly caring for your lingerie is so important in how it makes you look and feel. At Gooseberry, we understand care—that’s why every piece in our collection is hand-dyed, cut, and sewed to order, making it as unique and beautiful as you.
Combined with daring details and tasteful twists of glam, your Gooseberry lingerie will leave you feeling effortlessly confident and endlessly sexy. We also offer sexy sleepwear, bodysuits, bottoms, shorts and more. Explore our shop today! We also have lingerie for sale, if you’re looking for a discount.
- The Spruce. How to Wash Underwear and Lingerie. https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-wash-lingerie-and-shapewear-2145796
Refinery29. How To Actually Wash Your Lingerie At Home. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/how-to-wash-delicates
- Laundress. How-To | Launder Your Lingerie. https://www.thelaundress.com/clean-talk-blog/how-to-launder-your-lingerie.html
Vitacost. A Step-by-Step Guide to Hand Washing Clothes. https://www.vitacost.com/blog/how-to-hand-wash-clothes/#:~:text=Increase%20garment%20lifespan%3A%20Hand%20washing,opt%20for%20using%20cold%20water.
Norfolk Natural Living. Is hand washing your clothes better than using the washing machine? https://www.norfolknaturalliving.com/blogs/journal/is-hand-washing-your-clothes-better-than-using-the-washing-machine
- Cleveland Clinic. How Often Do You Really Need to Wash Your Bras? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-often-do-you-really-need-to-wash-your-bras/
- Healthline. 8 Underwear Rules to Live by for a Healthy Vagina. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/underwear-hygiene#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
Cosmopolitan. The correct way to wash your lingerie (you're probably doing it wrong). https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/fashion/style/news/a46164/how-to-wash-lingerie-underwear/