How To Clean Lingerie The Right Way | DeluxeMaid

lingerie on a bed

Posted on November 25th, 2021

Any time you buy lingerie, you are making an investment on an item that you would like to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, if you do not take good care of these delicate garments, any piece can easily get ruined. 

Understanding how to clean your lingerie will have your beautiful pieces looking as good as new for longer. In exchange, they’ll have you looking young and feeling confident for as long as you want to wear them. With that in mind, here are some steps you can follow to wash lingerie the right way: 

Step 1: Sort them properly

The first step is to sort your bras, panties, shapewear, and legwear by material and structure. Make sure to wash similar colors together. Anything with supportive underwire construction, padded push-ups, or detailed lace should be hand washed. Cotton, non-wire, and sporty lingerie can be machine washed. Make sure you select the correct cleaning products to use. For delicates, you should avoid using abrasive cleaning products, such as those containing bleach, as these can damage lingerie quite easily.

Step 2: Be delicate when cleaning stains

It is easy to go hard on tough stains. However, you need to remember that you are dealing with delicate intimates. You can remove body oils, make-up, and self-tanner with a simple wash and stain bar. All you have to do is lather the straps and liners with the bar and a bit of water. If you are dealing with blood stains, remember to use cold water only. 

Step 3: Handwash whenever possible

Handwashing is the safest way to clean lingerie. To do it, here are the steps to follow: 

1- Add 2 cups of handwash detergent to a sink or washtub filled with cool or lukewarm water.

2- Sort your lingerie as described above then submerge them item by item in the water.

3- Gently stir the water with your hands to evenly distribute the soap.

4- Let them soak for 30 minutes.

5- Take them out of the water and rinse by running water through them until the water is no longer soapy.

6- Do not wring your lingerie to get the water out. Instead, press the water out with your hands or use a towel.

Step 4: Drying your lingerie

Air dry your lingerie by hanging them out or laying them flat in their natural shape on a drying rack. Do not use a dryer as the heat will reduce the elasticity of the fabric, degrading its quality. 

Also, do not iron your lingerie. If you want to remove wrinkles, consider steaming instead. 

Step 5: Storing your lingerie

You want to store your delicates in their original shape whenever possible. If space is an issue, fold your bras one cup into another. Gently smooth out any dents or lumps to avoid distorting their shape. If you are still having trouble finding the right place to keep your lingerie, it might be time to make space by decluttering your home.

How to machine wash your lingerie

Sometimes, hand washing is out of the question. You might be short on time, or you just want the convenience that comes with machine washing. 

If you have to machine wash your lingerie, here’s how to do it: 

1- Fasten any bands or clasps.

2- Place the delicates in a mesh washing bag. This will prevent tearing or snagging in the machine. It’ll also help to preserve the elasticity of your lingerie.

3- On your washing machine, select the delicate cycle.

4- Use cool or lukewarm water for the cycle.

5- Once done, do not use the dryer. Instead, air-dry your lingerie as described above.

Tips and tricks for washing specific pieces

Washing bras

  • If you have very delicate bras, consider hand washing them exclusively.
  • Bras with lots of ornamentation, lace, or sheer should be washed by hand, using a gentle detergent.
  • When hand washing your bra, an easy way to get excess water out after rinsing is to roll the bra up in a towel then air dry it.
  • Other bras that need to be hand-washed include ones with underwire (the wire can break in the machine) as well as ones that contain gel padding.
  • When machine washing your bra, pretreat any sweat stains by rubbing them with mild soap, and water.
  • When washing sports bras, take out the pads and wash them separately. Put them back when dry.

Washing shapewear

  • For shapewear, always handwash them even if they are labeled as machine washable. Shapewear has elastic fibers that can easily overstretch, making them less effective in holding everything in place when you wear them. Prevent this by handwashing them.
  • Do not use bleach when washing shapewear. Most bleach solutions contain chlorine which breaks down spandex and other elastic fibers
  • Always air dry your shapewear in a cool area away from heat


  • Sheer, lace and ornate panties need to be hand washed.
  • Nylon and silk panties can be machine washed.
  • Always pretreat any stains before washing for the best results.


  • Legwear includes everything from leggings to stockings to pantyhose and tights. 
  • Wash legwear exclusively by hand in cool water. They contain elastic materials that will degrade in high temperatures and washing machines.
  • Always air dry your legwear in their natural shape to avoid them stretching out or shrinking.

How to make sure you don’t ruin your lingerie as you wash it

Here are a few pro tips that you can use in combination with the above information. Follow along and you will no longer need to replace your favorite garments, as your lingerie will last for ages!

  • Heat is your worst enemy: always use cool water only to clean your delicates.
  • You can never go wrong with handwashing. It works for all types of lingerie.
  • Never wring or twist your lingerie to remove the water. Instead, blot dry with a towel or gently press with your hands.
  • Choose your detergent carefully. Go for a gentle detergent that is safe to use with delicate garments.
  • If machine washing your lingerie, use a mesh bag to protect them.
  • Do not mix fabrics when machine washing. Avoid heavy fabrics and only wash your delicates with other delicates.
  • Do not overload the machine or the mesh bag. To wash lingerie properly, you need to allow it space to move within the washer.
  • Always air dry your lingerie.
  • If you have to use the dryer, use the coolest setting it has.

Final Thoughts

We know you probably have a very busy schedule, which is why so many of us have multiple bad cleaning habits. At the end of the day, if you ever have any doubts when it comes to cleaning lingerie, just go with a good old hand wash. Take your time and be gentle; they are called delicates for a reason! 99% of the time a simple pretreatment and a good half-hour soak should leave you with nice, fresh, and clean lingerie. The rule of thumb here is heat is elastics’ worst enemy. So use cool water and air dry everything. Follow these tips and your lingerie will last you for years!