How to Wash Lingerie & Women’s Underwear

They’re called delicates for a reason! When it comes to cleaning lingerie and underwear, you’ll want to take special care to maintain durability, shape, and color. Improper washing often leads to unwanted wear and tear, and can even ruin your favorite garments. Luckily, we’ve got some great, simple tips for how to wash lingerie and women’s underwear!

As a general rule, always check your underwear for tags and specific special care instructions first. However, hand washing your lingerie and underwear will always be your safest bet, especially for more expensive or fragile garments! Here are some easy tips for how to wash women’s underwear by hand:

– Use a mild detergent. We recommend Forever New products, which are specially designed for cleaning lingerie without damaging your delicate items. Some of the detergents are even specifically designed for handwashing!
– Do not soak lingerie. The colors will bleed, and the quality of your items could fade.
– Do not twist, stretch, or wring out your underwear. Instead, wash your garments gently between your fingers or hands.
– Pat and air dry. After washing, gently press your underwear on a flat surface between two towels to soak up excess water. Then hang to dry.

When Using a Washing Machine…

Some of your lingerie items and underwear may be suitable for the washing machine. Be sure to always read your labels first! For best results, use a delicate or gentle cycle with cool to warm water and follow these tips:

– Again, use mild detergents like Forever New Ovacion Laundry Wash, and follow the instructions for how much to use. Detergents are often concentrated, so less may be more!
– Do not use bleach unless you are washing white, all-cotton blends.
– To protect your lingerie, use a mesh bag or sachet. There are also called lingerie bags and will help to prevent your items from snagging or catching on other clothing.
– Hook the backs of your bras to keep them from getting tangled or snagging other clothes.
– Separate colors to prevent unwanted bleeding or blending.

Drying Lingerie and Underwear

So, you know how to wash lingerie—but how do you get it dry? For best results, flat dry or hang dry. Be aware that some items such as tights may stretch, so it may be best to loop the garment loosely around the hanger or drying rack.

Never put fine lingerie in the dryer. This can ruin the shape, fade the color, shrink your garment, break down the fibers, and/or shorten its overall lifespan. No good!

Low heat or tumble dry settings may be suitable for some garments. Just be careful. Some fabrics will shrink or even melt in the dryer. For specific fabric care tips, check out our chart below!

Lingerie Fabric Care Tips

Material Qualities Care

Elastic, absorbent, warm
and soft.

Comfortable to wear.

Can be machine washed.

Can withstand high temperatures. However, cold or warm water is usually best.

Washing may lead to shrinkage between 3% and 5%.

Wrinkles and commonly requires ironing.

Extreme softness and shine.

Fine and delicate fabric with
unmatched beauty and fit.

Thermo protective.

Very gentle care required.

May be dry clean only.

Hand wash washable silks in cold water with a mild soap

Wash each garment separately.

DO NOT soak silk or dry with heat.

Heat sensitive and subject to fading and bleeding colors.

Dry flat. Fabric tends to crease.

Low heat iron can be used. Use a towel between silk and iron so no heat damage occurs.

Warm, soft material.

“Spongy” effect.

Very sensitive to heat and cannot be machine washed.

Handwash only. Use mild soaps.

Do not use dryer. Hang dry or flat dry.




Softness and shine.

Supple, fluid fabrics.

Initially manufactured in the 1940s as “artificial silk.”

Very Heat Sensitive. Wash with cold water, preferably by hand.
Use mild soap.

Washing may lead to shrinkage between 4% and 7%.

Creases easily. Cool Iron.









Consistent quality.

Very easy care.

Can add strength to blends.

Very heat sensitive!

These fabrics will melt.

Machine washable at medium temperature.

Does not crease easily. No ironing.


Find Your New Favorite Lingerie Items!

We hope these tips on how to wash women’s underwear and lingerie will help you keep your favorite pieces lasting for years! Don’t miss the Bits of Lace collection of high end lingerie, bras, panties and more from the world’s top brands like Prima Donna, Empreinte, and Hanky Panky. Shop today!