Once you have decided on the fine lingerie that you know will give you the most happiness and ordered it, you can turn your attention to the care of lingerie. You want to get the very best use (and life) and to keep your lovely new item looking like the day you opened the package, for a long, long time!
The good news is, you can, yes you can!
This kind of care of lingerie is not too difficult or time consuming. I mean, with just a few simple steps you can keep your gorgeous lingerie in “like new condition” for far longer than you ever thought you could!
The wonderful benefit of this is that since your lingerie will now last so much longer, and you continue to acquire new pieces from time to time, you will actually build up a collection faster than you are wearing it out! So, you are buying for your own enjoyment, not for replacement of something that is unwearable.
Note: All of the below info assumes you have the time, space and energy to do the steps. If you do not, then do what you can; any bit you do will help your lingerie. This is not a perfect world we live in, and we can only do our best!
Lingerie care can be divided into two categories; washing, and storage.
For your convenience in washing lingerie, I have made a one page .pdf that you can print, summarizing the below steps. This way, you can take it with you as you wash, for reference. Click here for the one page wash guide. Note: Read the manufacturers instructions on the item’s label, and follow them where they differ from the information I give below. In almost all cases, the method I use will work without any changes needed.
Before we start to wash, we need a special soap. The correct soap is critical if you want to get more than the minimum life from your lingerie! Your goal is to clean your lingerie, and also to protect the fibers in your delicate Italian push-up bra, or the lace in your chiffon babydoll.
There are only a few soaps that you can use, and the best is called Forever New. It is reasonably priced, and highly recommended by lingerie manufacturers, for good reason. It will not damage your lingerie the way a regular soap (yes, even Woolite!) will. It preserves the elasticity of the elastic, and washes completely out of all of the fibers. I use it for my lingerie, and one 32 oz. bottle ($15.00) can last me almost a year. Also I use their stain remover, when needed. I have never been disappointed with the performance of this soap; it gets the lingerie clean, smells lovely, and preserves my lingerie in great condition.
With the right soap in hand, you are now ready to wash! I know your washer has a setting called “delicate”, but it is not delicate enough! Please give your lingerie the best life possible by hand washing it. It is not as time consuming as it may seem, and makes all the difference in the World to your lingerie. Here is my step by step procedure that has worked well for me, and will work for you too:
- Fill a sink with cool water.
- Add Forever New as you are filling (swish the water and soap around).
- Add your lingerie. I usually do like items (bras, stockings, panties, etc.) together, it just works out easier that way, but you can see if that works best for you or not. Of course, as in regular washing you want to wash like colors together.
- If it is the first washing of a new item, wash it completely separately, as some small amount of dye will probably come off the first time, and possibly stain your other items.
- Swish the clothes around for a couple minutes.
- Let them sit and soak a minute or so. Then, swish them once more for a minute or so (depending on the need: use your own judgment), as you pull the plug and let the water drain out.
- With the soapy water gone, turn on fresh water and thoroughly rinse each item, one by one as you take it out of the sink. You can give each item a good squeeze to get excess water out, but do not twist it like a wash cloth.
- Hang the items to dry, as straight and flat as possible. Reshape the bra cups to their natural position, if needed.
The whole process above will take you less than 15 minutes, after you have done it a time or two. In 15 minutes, my “delicate” washer is still washing some other clothes, but my lingerie is already starting to dry, and I have added years to its wearable life! I get a sense of satisfaction, from that…
Absolutely never dry your lingerie in a clothes dryer, no matter what the setting (not even just “air dry”). The tumbling alone will damage the fibers, far beyond the care and protection you have provided them up to this point. Also, your “underwire” will become your “poking out wire”.
The lingerie will usually be dry overnight if hung indoors. If you hang it outdoors, keep it out of direct sunlight.
NOTE: It is not necessary to wash a bra after every wearing, but you should not wear a bra two days in a row. Give it a day off, after each day on. It will use that time to reform to its original shape, and the fabric will “breathe” (resume its original volume and texture, etc.). When you do wash it, allow it to rest a day in your drawer or on your shelf, before wearing it again, for the same reasons. Wearing a bra, and washing a bra cause stresses on the fabric and shape, and in both cases it needs a day to resume its original condition.
Also, if you have to machine wash your lingerie, then you should put it inside a lingerie bag, and clasp the bra clasps. The bag will help prevent the lingerie from being stretched around the barrel, and closing the clasps will prevent them from hooking onto items in the bag. Also, it is a good idea to turn panties inside out before putting them in the bag.
Storage of Lingerie
Now, your fine lingerie is clean, dry, and ready to be put away!
Here are two simple tips that will ensure you complete the good care you have started.
1. Always store your intimate apparel in a drawer, or on a shelf. Never hang it in the closet, even if it is a corset, bodystocking, or other large item. The reason for this is that the weight of the garment itself will cause the stretch fabric to lose elasticity, and quicker than you might think. In a way, being on the hanger is a bit like it is “being worn”, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Most lingerie material is supposed to stretch, to contour to your body or shape in some way. By hanging, that material is being constantly pre-stretched, and when you put it on it will not hold you as it did before.
2. Fold the items in the way that seems most sensible for each, then put in the drawer or on the shelf without cramming more items into the space than it should hold. This step will reduce wrinkles, and help prevent snags, etc. Do not put hard or snaggy objects in the same drawer or on the same shelf (such as jewelry, watches, etc.).
By following the above care of lingerie guidelines, you will give the very best care to the fine things that are adding beauty and fun to your life!