Your lingerie is probably some of the most special clothing you own. It also tends to be delicate, so that special clothing requires special care. Read on for some tips about hand-washing your silky, satiny, and lacy lingerie to keep it looking new for many sexy nights.
Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese has had quite a bit of experience when it comes to lingerie. She looks at it as an opportunity to showcase your sensuality, and considers it a way to honor your self every day. How you feel while wearing something body hugging or extra revealing lets you feel special. You don’t want to purchase a gorgeous, sexy outfit and ruin it by not caring for it properly. Most intimate items require a bit more attention than that comfy t-shirt you sleep in, ball up, and toss into the hamper. In order to maintain the shape and beauty of your sexiest undergarments, here are Dita’s eight steps to hand washing lingerie:
1. Separate by Color
One big no-no is mixing dark with light, in case the dyes from your fabrics seep out and stain the water, which could make that bright white garter belt light pink if you wash with that red bra.
2. Use Clean, Lukewarm Water in a Clean Basin
You don’t have to have a dedicated basin, sink or tub to wash your lingerie, but the cleaner the tub you wash in, the cleaner the outcome for your lingerie. Just make sure that if you are cleaning multiple pieces at once it is big enough to handle several items. Make sure the water temperature is lukewarm rather than hot, to prevent any stains from setting into the fabric. (In case of blood stains, go with ice cold!)
3. Detergent – a Small Amount Goes a Long Way
Tide pods are too strong for that cute corset. Shop for a dedicated lingerie or delicates wash. Woolite makes one; castile soap will work too. Even baby shampoo is delicate enough to wash in. Just be sure to find something with a minimal amount of harsh chemicals that can harm your fabrics. Go with just a teaspoon per gallon of water used. This makes it easy to wash in, as well as remove any excess detergent at the end.
4. Soak Your Skivvies
Submerge the piece(s) in the sudsy water, gently moving them around with your hands. If you like, give a gentle squeeze to the piece to make sure the soapy water gets into all the fibers of the fabric. After you make a couple spins with your fingers, let the water do the rest and soak everything for at least 15 minutes.
One caveat here: do not soak lingerie with rhinestones or appliques that appear glued or painted on; the water and detergent can break down the adhesives, causing all that pretty ornamentation to fall off.
5. Hand Clean for Stubborn Stains
Once you come back to the basin, check to see if anywhere on the garment needs some extra attention. If so, grab something gentle to scrub away the stains. There are dedicated lingerie brushes made from silicone, but in a pinch, that unopened spare toothbrush you have from the last dentist visit will work just fine.
6. Bye-Bye Bubbles
Rinse the lingerie until you are quite sure its free of detergent. You can achieve this by emptying the basin and refilling with fresh water. Or just run the tap at a similar temp to the water you washed in, and let it rinse over the lingerie until the water is suds-free. (Some over the counter washes mention they are no-rinse, which means you could potentially skip this step, but you came this far…just run some clean water over your lingerie.)
7. Gentle Hugs
When you’re ready to dry, lightly squeeze out any excess water. This means NOT balling, wringing, twisting, or manhandling your lingerie in any other way that could cause damage. Consider pressing the piece gently between your hands, with the care of holding a newborn, while wearing mittens, and juggling eggs. Super soft!
8. Air Out Your Laundry
This doesn’t mean post your business on Instagram…we want less drama. Just lay the items out on a clean towel, or even better, between two clean towels and press it dry if you feel the need to move the process along. Hanging it may cause parts of the piece to stretch or become misshapen, so lay them flat or over a drying rack. If you happened to accidentally press a dent in a bra cup or pad while removing the water, be sure to pop it back in place before you begin the drying process. Don’t use any type of heat to speed this up. The dirty work is over…find something else to do while it dries!