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Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Your Undies

Posted on 15 October 2017

You most likely have a drawer full of undies ranging from comfy cotton bikinis, to lace-trimmed boyshorts, to your favorite special pair for date night.

But when it comes to taking care of our delicates, most of us are in the dark.

Everybody Wears Undies - Laundry symbols embroidery
Credit: Flickr user "hey_paul"

That’s why we’ve gathered the best practices for keeping all of your undies fresh and clean without risking snagged lace, discoloration, or loosening elastic. After all, part of our mission is to reduce textile waste in the fashion industry, and part of that means helping you make your undies last longer.

What counts as delicate?

It’s important to follow the garment care tag instructions for all of your undies (symbols got you confused? Check out our infographic to help decipher the code). However, when it comes to undies, anything with lace, silk, beads, mesh, or frilly trimming should be considered delicate, and ideally, should be washed by hand.

Everybody Wears Undies - Laundry Care Chart

Washing by hand

Hand washing is ideal for delicate undies that are made of silk or have lace, beading, or special trimming. The extra effort and time will keep your undies looking fresh and fitting properly, all while increasing their lifespan.

Before you start: Choosing the right detergent is important. You’ll want a mild detergent for hand washing your delicates. The Sweet Home reviewed 22 different detergents for hand washing clothes and Soak came out on top.

Step 1: Fill up your sink or some sort of container with cool or lukewarm water (if the water is too hot the elastics in your undies will break down). Soak your undies in this for 45 minutes to an hour (set it, and forget it...but not too long). Remember to only soak similar colors together to avoid discoloration.

Step 2: Once your undies have had a nice soak, pour in about a teaspoon of detergent and begin hand washing your undies. You want to be gentle with each item, gently rubbing the fabric together to remove any stains or spots. You do not want to twist or scrunch them, or you may damage the elastic.

Step 3: Next, rinse them in cool water until the water runs clear and suds-free. You don’t want to twist your undies and wring them out after rinsing; instead, you’ll lay them flat to dry. 

Step 4: Lay the underwear flat on a towel and place another towel flat on top. Then, press down to remove as much of the water as you can. Remove the top towel and leave the undies laying flat to dry. While hanging them might seem more intuitive, it may cause them to stretch out. 

Don't do this. 

And if you just can’t muster the strength to wash your delicates by hand, we understand. When you need to machine wash your undies, remember to separate them by colors, use a mesh garment bag, gentle detergent, cool water, and wash on the delicate cycle.


If you must machine wash your underwear, the best thing you can do to preserve their quality is to still follow the flat drying instructions outlined above.


Whichever method you use, happy washing!

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