How to Clean Your Lingerie

How to Clean Your Lingerie

There’s nothing worse than washing your lingerie in the wrong way and finding out it’s affected the shape, fit, look or feel of your favourite pieces. But how do you keep your lingerie looking and feeling as good as new? Read on to learn what to do when it comes to cleaning and caring for your lingerie. Because after all, when your delicates are in perfect condition, so is your confidence!

Always read the care label

The trick to understanding how to clean your lingerie is realising that different materials require different cleaning methods. While some items and materials must be washed by hand, other more durable fabrics fare well in a washing machine. But how do you tell which is which?

Always read the care label!

From there, you can ensure your delicates remain undamaged. And remember, hand washing is always the safest way to clean your lingerie, so if you’re in doubt, follow Scarlett’s hand washing tips below to get your lingerie back to its best.

Cleaning your lingerie: The basics

When it comes to cleaning your lingerie, there are few basic guidelines relating to the materials and construction of different garments. Learning these is the key to maintaining your lingerie’s longevity!

1. Materials

Lace, tulle, mesh, silk, satin: Delicate fabrics like these require a tender touch and lots of loving care. Always hand wash these fabrics to preserve them for longer and prevent snagging.

Cotton, elastane, nylon, polyester: While these lingerie materials are sometimes suitable for machine washing, proceed with caution! Only machine wash if the care label explicitly permits it, and make sure you follow Scarlett’s machine washing tips below to minimise the risk of damage.

Top tip: Lingerie garments often incorporate multiple different materials. Follow the washing instructions for the most delicate material to make sure all components remain intact.

2. Construction

Underwires and boning: The structural elements of lingerie and corsets such as underwires and boning need to be treated gently in order to retain their shape and offer support. Hand washing is the safest option to avoid damaging these components.

Padding: Padded bra and corset cups need special attention and a delicate touch so that they can maintain their shape and integrity. Hand washing ensures that the padding remains smooth and evenly distributed, prolonging the life of your bras and corsets!

Detailing (e.g. beads, charms, sequins, embroidery, fur): Lingerie adorned with detailing or embellishments requires lots of extra care. Hand washing will make it easier for you to protect these parts from damage.

Choosing a laundry detergent for your lingerie

When it comes to choosing the right laundry detergent for your lingerie, there are some important points to keep in mind. First and foremost, there's no one-size-fits-all laundry detergent. Different fabrics have different needs, so it's super important for you to select a detergent that works for the materials that make up your lingerie.

Fabrics like silk, which are made from animal proteins, can degrade when they come into contact with enzyme-based detergents, so always choose a non-bio detergent for cleaning your lingerie. You should also avoid using detergents that are designed for whites on brightly coloured lingerie to prevent colour loss.

Opting for all-natural detergents can be a safe bet, as they're free from harsh chemicals that could harm delicate fabrics. But remember to look for detergents that are effective at low temperatures for a gentle yet efficient wash!

Hand washing your lingerie

So, you’ve read the care label and can see that your item isn’t suitable for machine washing. Don’t panic! Hand washing is an effective and easy way to get your lingerie looking lovely again. Follow Scarlett’s hand washing method below for the best results.

Scarlett’s hand washing method for lingerie

  • Choose a gentle laundry detergent that’s suitable for handwashing as these produce more suds than other detergents.
  • Fill a clean basin with cold or lukewarm water and add the laundry detergent, following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Submerge your lingerie in the water.
  • Stir gently to activate the detergent, then leave your lingerie to soak for approximately 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, remove your lingerie from the basin and rinse it in cold or lukewarm running water until the water is soap-free.
  • Don’t twist or wring your lingerie to remove excess water. Instead, press the garments gently against a towel to remove excess water.
  • Don’t dry your lingerie on a radiator or in a tumble dryer. Instead hang it up or lay it flat on a drying rack and allow it to dry naturally. Check out Scarlett’s drying tips below for more information.

Machine washing your lingerie

While hand washing is always the safest way to clean your lingerie, some lingerie items can be machine washed. Check the care label and, if you get the green light, follow Scarlett’s machine washing method below to ensure your delicates aren’t damaged!

Scarlett’s machine washing method for lingerie

  • Separate your lingerie by colour and only wash with similar coloured items to prevent colour running.
  • Only include other delicate items in the load as heavy items can damage your lingerie during the wash cycle.
  • Close all of the fastenings on your lingerie (e.g. hooks and clasps) to prevent snags or damage to other garments.
  • Place your lingerie inside a mesh laundry bag to protect the delicate fabric and preserve elasticity during the wash cycle.
  • Add a gentle laundry detergent that’s suitable for delicate fabrics to the machine, following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Select a gentle wash cycle, such as the delicates or silk setting.
  • Select a low temperature setting, never more than 30º C.
  • Don’t dry your lingerie on a radiator or in a tumble dryer. Instead hang it up or lay it flat on a drying rack and allow it to dry naturally. Check out Scarlett’s drying tips below for more information.

Drying your lingerie

So you’ve done the hard part, washed your delicates without causing damage! But how do you dry your lingerie without affecting the shape or damaging the fabric? We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: always check the care label! Here are some general tips to get you started:

  • Never twist or wring your lingerie to remove excess water as this can stretch and distort the shape.
  • Never dry your lingerie on a radiator as direct heat can cause shrinkage and damage fibres which will degrade your lingerie over time.
  • Never dry your lingerie in a tumble dryer as the tumbling action and heat can be too harsh, causing shrinkage and rubbing.
  • Never dry your lingerie in direct sunlight as prolonged exposure can cause colours to fade and fabrics to degrade.
  • Instead, hang up your lingerie and allow it to dry naturally, but don’t use clothes pegs on padded bra or corset cups as this can distort the foam!
  • You can also use a drying rack with flat sections to dry your lingerie as these allow for airflow and can prevent stretching and misshaping.

Can you iron lingerie?

Never iron your lingerie as the heat from the iron can damage the delicate fabrics, causing them to shrink, warp, or even melt! Ironing can also flatten delicate textures and embellishments, ruining any intricate designs.

Consider steaming instead to remove wrinkles (this method is especially good for silk and satin) but make sure to use the correct setting to avoid burning the fabric. Items can also be hung in the bathroom whilst you shower; the humidity will ease any creases out gently.

Can you spot-clean lingerie to remove stains?

Avoid spot-cleaning lingerie as it can lead to uneven colour fading or discolouration due to the concentrated application of cleaning agents, or even leave behind pesky water stains. Additionally, rubbing or scrubbing vigorously on specific spots can weaken the fabric or cause pilling, especially on delicate materials like silk or lace.

To ensure uniform cleaning and prevent potential damage, it's best to wash the entire garment following the care label rather than spot-cleaning specific areas.

To remove tough stains from lingerie, such as fake tan or makeup, gently dab the affected area with a mild detergent before washing in the usual way. To tackle blood stains, soak the lingerie in cold water as soon as possible to prevent the blood from setting, then apply a mild detergent directly onto the stain before washing the lingerie in cold water.

Lingerie to make you sparkle

At Scarlett Gasque, we know a thing or two about lingerie. Our stunning collections boast beautiful bras, thongs, suspenders, corsets, waspies, and robes made from the finest textiles sourced from trusted suppliers across the UK, Europe and Japan.

Through quality craftsmanship and expert corsetry techniques, and drawing inspiration from the glamour of 1950s burlesque and pin-up girls, we design intimate wear that’s made to be seen…

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