Caring for Lingerie

Raise your hand if you’ve put your bra in the dryer.

No shame. We’ve all done it. You’ve probably heard it’s not ideal to put things in the dryer, but it seems complicated to do anything else and, hey, what’s the harm, right? Bad news: it’s really destructive for elastic and delicate fabrics, which is a pretty good summary of the components of lingerie. Good news: doing it the right way isn’t hard.

A lot of specialty clothing care is treated like some kind of arcane magic, like you’d need a million specific cleaning products, four hours a day, an extra five hundred dollars, and limitless space for air drying. There are entire websites devoted to just this. It’s really not that complicated. The whole thing takes a total of fifteen minutes. No, seriously.

You’re going to need a sink, some cold tap water, and some weighted detergent, like Soak. These products bind to the dirt and grime on clothing and weigh it down in the water without any need for agitation, making them ideal for things that need to be handled with care. As a rule of thumb, try to wash like-colored garments together if you’re going to do more than one at a time. Even older pieces can have a little bit of color bleeding.

Fill up your sink about halfway with water, then add about a teaspoon of weighted detergent while the tap is still running to give it a chance to suds up. Drop your bra in cup-side down. Walk away for about fifteen or twenty minutes— walk the dog, read a magazine, do a sheet mask, call your mom. You’ve got options.

Drain the sink and pick up your bra. It may look a little soapy, but no matter. Don’t rinse it! Get a clean, dry towel and press out the excess moisture. Hang to dry. You’re done! You can do this with any delicate garment— silk blouses, fancy workout leggings, cashmere sweaters, lace underwear— and the process is the same. You don’t even really need to press out the water if you don’t mind the dripping and time is not of the essence. The important part is that you press, not wring, and you let it dry naturally.

A little confused? This video walks you through it.

 
Kirsten Schofield