Mackenzie Dunn Christina Pellegrini
December 30, 2019 8:57 am
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Let’s talk about something that lots of people don’t talk about—how to wash your underwear. We’re not talking about just throwing in those pretty lacey pairs of panties in the washing machine with your favorite sweatpants and bulky sweaters. Nope. We’re talking about the proper way to get your undies clean.

Thats right, there are ways you could be washing your unmentionables that not only get them squeaky clean and ready for the next wear, but extend their lifespan, too, which effectively saves you money. And we all like saving money, right? Right.

In order to get the most out of our precious panties, we tapped the fit experts at  lingerie brand LIVELY to give us the best tips and tricks for making those lacey little intimates last, keep their shape, not stretch out, and more.

Yes, they do require special attention. As our experts explained to us, “They’re called delicates for a reason.”

How to wash your underwear:

1First things first: Don’t throw them in with your normal laundry load.

If you’re like us, you probably just toss all your panties in the washing machine together—maybe, MAYBE, taking the time to sort them by color beforehand. Well, turns out, this method does them no favors.

The fit experts at LIVELY tell us, “The cold truth is that washing machines can be harsh, leading to rips, bent wires, and faded fabrics. Along the same lines, the dryer can also do a number on your delicates and swimwear.”

2Instead, give them a rinse in cold water.

Only cotton underwear actually benefits from getting tossed in the washing machine. Basically everything else—like your delicate sheer or seamless numbers—fares better when you hand wash it.

Let your hands become the delicate cycle. That means no overly aggressive scrubbing, tugging, stretching, or whatnot. Run them under cold water, to maintain the fabric fibers and keep them from stretching out under the heat.

3Use delicate-specific detergent.

One of the most common mistakes people make when washing their bras and underwear is using detergent that’s too harsh for the material, our experts tell us.

Nordstrom

Instead, opt for one that has “delicate” or “gentle” on the label. These are formulated without bleach, phosphates, or enzymes that can break down certain fabrics—like the ones used to make your favorite lacey thong—but still get the job done of removing dirt, oil, and buildup.

4If you *have* to put them in the machine, use a lingerie bag.

Lingerie bags are simple mesh bags that keep all your delicates together when you throw them in the machine with that big pile of messy laundry. They keep your intimates from being thrown into the vortex of clothing and ending up with stretched straps or misshapen elastic bands.

Plus, they make finding all your underwear easier when it comes to folding and putting away, so they’re pretty genius all around.

5Always hang to dry.

Ashley Jouhar, Getty Images

“Hang your intimates on a laundry rack at night and in the morning you’ll have fresh, dry bras and panties that retain their shape, color, and elasticity,” say LIVELY’s fit experts. “Plus, it’s better for the planet and your electricity bill.”

For those extra-dainty pairs, add one more step between wringing water out and hanging to dry. Place your underwear on a towel, then fold the towel over the top (or place a second towel on top, depending on how many pairs you’re drying at once) to absorb the water. This helps them retain their shape. You can also just lay them on top of the drying rack once you’ve drained out all the liquid. Just, whatever you do, don’t put underwear or bras in the dryer. If there’s one thing we hope you’ve learned from this, it’s that the heat is one of the worst things you can do for those wires, elastics, and delicate fabrics.

There you have it, ladies. If you really want to get the most out of your Victoria’s Secret five-for-$25 panties, give them a little extra TLC by tenderly washing them by hand. The more you know.

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