Lingerie Care: Tips for Washing and Storing Your Delicates

Emmy Lace Bow Corset and Panty Set


Lingerie is not just a fashion statement but an investment in your comfort and confidence. Proper care of these delicate items is essential to maintain their beauty and functionality. This guide will walk you through the best practices for washing and storing your lingerie, ensuring that each piece remains as pristine as the day you bought it.

Understanding Fabric Types

Different fabrics require different care strategies. Silk, lace, and satin each have unique properties that demand specific attention. Silk, for example, is a protein-based fibre that can degrade if exposed to harsh chemicals, so it requires a gentle, pH-neutral detergent. Lace, being more textured and intricate, can easily snag and tear, hence it's safest washed in a mesh bag. Understanding the material composition of your lingerie is the first step towards appropriate care.

Delicates are often made from a blend of synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon, which are more durable but still require gentle handling. These materials may tolerate a gentle cycle in the washing machine better than natural fibres but should still be protected by a lingerie bag.

Sorting Lingerie Before Washing

To protect your delicates, sorting before washing is crucial. Separate your lingerie by colour to avoid dye transfer; darks, lights, and whites should be washed separately. Additionally, consider the delicacy of items—lace undergarments should not be washed with heavier fabrics that could potentially cause damage.

Sorting also involves checking the care labels for temperature and washing instructions, which can vary significantly between different lingerie types. Adhering to these guidelines will help preserve the shape and fabric integrity of each piece.

Choosing the Right Detergent

The choice of detergent can significantly impact the longevity and appearance of your lingerie. Opt for a mild, alcohol-free detergent specifically designed for delicates. These detergents are less likely to degrade delicate fabrics or cause irritation when the lingerie is worn.

Avoid using fabric softeners, which can break down elasticity and cause fabrics to become brittle. If hand washing, a small amount of detergent goes a long way, ensuring that the fabric is not exposed to excessive chemicals that can degrade the fibres over time.

Hand Washing Techniques

Hand washing is the safest method to clean delicate lingerie. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of delicate detergent. Submerge the lingerie, gently agitate with your hands, and let soak for up to 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool water until all soap has been removed, being careful not to wring or twist the fabrics, which can distort their shape.

This method allows for control over the washing process and minimises the stress on fabrics, helping to maintain the lingerie's original condition. It's particularly recommended for highly delicate items such as bras with underwires or garments with embellishments.

Machine Washing Tips

If you must use a washing machine, always place your lingerie in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from tangling or snagging during the cycle. Select the delicate or hand wash cycle on your machine, which uses a slower spin and less abrasive tumbling. Use cold water to prevent shrinkage and fabric distortion.

It's also crucial to fill the machine only halfway to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to uneven cleaning and increased fabric wear. After washing, reshape any bras or structured pieces while they are damp to ensure they dry in the proper form.

Drying Methods for Lingerie

Never use a tumble dryer for your delicates. The intense heat and motion are too harsh for delicate fabrics and can lead to shrinkage, warping, or elastic damage. Instead, lay flat to dry on a clean towel, reshaping any bras or contour pieces to ensure they dry in their natural shape.

If you must hang dry, avoid hanging by the straps, which can stretch them out. Instead, hang from the centre or lay flat on a drying rack. Avoid direct sunlight, which can fade colours and weaken fabrics over time.

Ironing and Steaming Options

Most lingerie does not require ironing, but if you must remove wrinkles, use a steamer rather than an iron. Steamers provide gentle heat and moisture that can safely relax fabric without direct contact. If you don't have a steamer, use an iron on the lowest setting with a pressing cloth between the iron and the garment to protect the fabric.

Never iron elastic bands or silk directly, as high heat can permanently damage these materials. Always check the care label for specific ironing instructions to avoid accidental damage.

Storing Lingerie Properly

Proper storage is key to maintaining your lingerie's shape and fabric integrity. Bras should be stored with the cups nested within each other, avoiding folding which can damage the cup's structure. If drawer space is limited, consider using lingerie organisers that keep each piece separated and uncrushed.

Panties can be folded and stored in a dedicated drawer or bin. For items with lace or other embellishments, consider layering with acid-free tissue to prevent

snags during storage. Seasonal items, such as swimwear or thermal lingerie, should be stored separately in breathable containers to protect them from environmental factors when not in use.

Seasonal Lingerie Care

Adapt your lingerie care routine with the changing seasons. In warmer months, frequent washing may be necessary to remove sweat and prevent stains. In contrast, during colder months, the focus should shift towards protective storage to combat dry air and static. Always ensure that your lingerie is completely dry before storing to prevent mildew and odour.

For those living in particularly humid climates, consider using silica gel packets in your lingerie drawers to absorb excess moisture and keep your garments fresh.

Special Care for Embellished or Lace Lingerie

Lingerie items with embellishments such as beads or sequins, or delicate fabrics like lace, require extra care. Always hand wash these items, as machine washing can be too abrasive and lead to loss of decorations or tearing of lace. For heavily embellished pieces, spot clean only to preserve the intricate details.

When drying, avoid hanging these items, as the weight of the water can cause stretching. Instead, lay flat on a towel and pat gently, reshaping the fabric as it dries.


Taking proper care of your lingerie not only preserves its appearance and fit but also extends its lifespan, ensuring that you can enjoy your beautiful pieces for many years to come. By understanding and applying these careful washing, drying, and storing techniques, your delicates will continue to look and feel as luxurious as when you first brought them home.