You’ve invested in pieces that you love. How to help them stand the test of time.
Luxury lingerie is a beautiful indulgence in ourselves. Luxury materials can require special care and how we treat them can make a huge difference in how long they last. You’ve made the investment in beautiful pieces, let’s keep them that way!
The best gift you can give to your garments is…
I shied away from purchasing “special care” garments for a long time. I thought their upkeep would be a lengthy and arduous process - Not so! I wish I had taken the plunge much sooner as it’s become an easy part of my now-routine.
At this stage, I honestly find handwashing quite zen and an excellent opportunity to practise some quick calming mindfulness around the sensations and sounds of the activity. Who couldn’t use a little extra calm in their day at the moment?
If you are using your bathroom or kitchen basin, take a moment to make sure there is no toothpaste or grease residue prior to filling. I have a dedicated foldable plastic basin (a bucket or a clean kitty litter pan also works well) so that I needn’t worry.
Fill your chosen container with tepid (below 30°C) water and your choice of gentle detergent. I recommend Soak Wash
. Regular detergent will damage luxury fabrics by degrading the fibers causing a loss of lustre, softness, and strength.
Pour in the recommended amount of your chosen detergent while the basin is filling. Once finished, agitate the water to ensure the detergent has dispersed.
It’s suggested that you group your pieces by colour when washing. I have always done this in the past with great results, so it’s what I suggest. But as an aside, since switching to Soak Wash, I personally have not noticed any colour bleeding. I do however still wash brand new pieces by themselves, lest the dye be initially fugitive. Better safe than sorry!
Put your like-coloured pieces in and give them a gentle swish. Let them soak for around 15 minutes or as recommended by your chosen gentle detergent.
While a good soaking lifts most impurities, some stains can be persistent. In these cases, gently using a soft bristled toothbrush (look for one marketed for sensitive teeth) will help to lift most blemishes. If your deodorant is stubborn, then a diluted white vinegar rinse will neutralize it’s PH allowing it to wash free and have the added bonus of removing any lingering odors should they be present. For longwear makeup, a gentle makeup remover/micellar water can work wonders, but be sure to patch test first!
Rinse your pieces under cool running water, before pressing out the water. Make sure to never wring your garments! This causes permanent damage to the delicate fabric. Instead, gentle pressing motions while still over the basin are encouraged. Once completed, I lay down a towel and place my lingerie onto it, before wrapping them up like a cinnamon roll. Then I press gently downwards, allowing the towel to soak up the excess moisture still present in the garments. Should you prefer, you can also double towels over to press flat like a sandwich, rather than rolling. Once when I was on holiday and discovered that all towels were in use, I used a clean salad spinner to remove the excess water before hanging them over a shower rail. I prefer towels as they are more gentle, but hey, if it works in a pinch!
Avoid the dryer at all costs. The heat is damaging to delicate fabrics and the act of tumbling clothes often applies more wear to pieces than when they’re on your body.
Ideally you would lay the pieces flat when drying to best maintain their shape, but clothes horses, shower rails and the like are also acceptable if you are short on space. I use stackable drying racks, which I quite like. I have 3 which I stack upwards, temporarily building my own lingerie Skyscraper. They fold away neatly when done.
A word on the washing machine. While handwashing is my recommendation across the board, if you absolutely must for your hardier bras, then using a laundry bag is my strong suggestion paired with a gentle wash cycle and a cool temperature. I will admit to having been in a pinch one day before finding the speedy Soak Wash and putting my Agent Provocateur Joan set
in a fabric bag in the washing machine. Joan is made out of Polyamide, which is a human-produced fabric and therefore can handle a lot more than a set made out of silk like Molly
can. I’ve continued to handwash my set, which I’ve owned for over a year now, and it looks the same as the day I received it.
While nothing lasts forever and life will throw curveballs at you, I will say that the first bra I started handwashing 12 years ago is still in my collection today and wearable! Once I started handwashing, I found that my bras held up incredibly well, and that my own size fluctuations were what ended up determining their retirement. Now I have no qualms about investing more into my underwear drawer, as I know I can help the pieces to last.
It’s amazing what making the switch to handwashing can do for the life of your lingerie! I do hope you’ll join me and see for yourself!
@Silk.Sheets.Lingerie.Peeks is a Lingerie Blogger from New Zealand. She enjoys a good cup of tea, long walks on the beach, and rolling around on her large hoard of knickers like a lingerie-obsessed Smaug.