Allie from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania recently asked us for some advice on how to wash lingerie. Her question inspired us to address some of the most frequent questions we get about caring for delicates.
Do I really have to hand-wash my lingerie?
If you’d seen as many beautiful bras mangled by a single trip through the washing machine as we have, you wouldn’t ask. That said, we at Journelle feel your pain – who has the time to hand-wash anything these days?
It goes without saying that some things should always be hand-washed. Silk. Contour bras. Super delicate laces. If you’ve invested money in it, don’t take a chance with the washing machine. (More on hand-washing technique below).
That said, there are some things that can, with care, go through the washing machine. I admit to washing my basic underwear – Hanky Panky thongs, Eberjey bikinis, etc. – in the machine, as well as some of my more durable chemises. Bras without contouring are also a good candidate for machine washing, so long as they’re placed carefully within a lingerie bag (we like the no-frills one featured below from Fashion Forms) and you select a delicates cycle.
Can I use Woolite?
Unfortunately, no. Most drugstore detergents contain alcohol, which breaks down elastic faster than you can say “Freya.” Unless you like the saggy undies look, choose a special delicates detergent. We swear by The Laundress Delicate Wash, which calls for two capfuls of detergent (and smells divine).
Ok, I bought lingerie-appropriate detergent. Now what?
Start by filling your clean sink with cold water. Submerge your delicates in the water and pour in your lingerie wash of choice.
Use your hands to agitate the water in order to activate the detergent. After that, simply let your lingerie soak for at least 30 minutes. (NOTE: Silks must not soak for any longer than 30 minutes. This can damage the material!)
Once they have soaked, rinse the pieces well in room temperature water until all the soapy water is gone. Gently press the water out of your lingerie. Do not wring the pieces out, as this can cause wrinkles and creases.
How should I dry my lingerie?
Air dry, air dry, air dry. The quickest way to reach lingerie hell is to put your delicates in the inferno of a dryer! I suggest putting a towel over the edge of your bathtub and gently laying your bras over the crest. Don’t put your delicates in the sun to dry, as they’ll fade, and don’t hang them by straps either as that will stretch them out. Even in a humid NYC summer, your delicates should be dry by the end of the day.
My next business idea? A roving lingerie hand-washing service. Until then, best of luck! And thanks to Allie for the great question.