How to hand wash delicates

Updated: June 24, 2020.

Don’t you want to take better care of your delicates? You really need to start hand washing them. Before you dismiss hand washing as too time-consuming, hear me out! With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to hand wash your underwear in no more time than it takes to throw a load into the washing machine. Considering how much better your skivvies will fare in the long term with a little TLC, we think it’s well worth learning how to do.

How to hand wash delicates

Do you know how damaging it is to machine wash or tumble dry your delicates? Not only are your intimates often snagged in the wash, but the excessive agitation (and especially the heat from the dryer) will absolutely wreck your fine fabrics and laces. With machine washing and drying, your stretch fabrics will sag and eventually tear, the elastics will stretch out of shape and lose their “memory,” the colours may bleed into each other. and to what end? They certainly don’t end up any cleaner in the machine than with hand washing. If you follow our instructions, you’ll find that it only takes a couple of minutes of active time to properly hand wash your delicates!

Hand wash your underwear in 4 easy steps:

Step 1. Run your sink full of cool, soapy water and submerge your undies. I recommend using just a small squirt of a specially-formulated delicates or silk wash.

How to hand wash delicates

Step 2. Swish around to loosen any dirt or stains, and give the gusset a gentle scrub. Let them soak – a few minutes is plenty of time.

How to hand wash delicates

Step 3. Remove from the water, pat dry, and roll up into a clean, dry towel. Rolling up the towel through the garments and pressing firmly is a great way to remove any excess moisture. (Only rinse your undies if your detergent requires it – many silk washes are no-rinse formulas!)

How to hand wash delicates

Step 4. Hang to dry or lay flat on a second, dry towel. That’s really it! If you have any persistent wrinkles afterwards, you can iron on the reverse of the garment with low heat after.

How to hand wash delicates

(If you’re wondering which of our gorgeous, handcrafted undies we’ve used in this guide, they’re the Camellia knickers.)

Again, the 4 steps all in one place:

  1. Run your sink full of soapy water and submerge your undies.
  2. Swish around to loosen any dirt, and let soak for a few minutes.
  3. Roll up into a clean, dry towel to remove excess moisture.
  4. Hang or lay flat to dry on a second, dry towel.

Extra tips and answers to your top questions:

  • How can I get rid of stains on the gusset? Honestly, we don’t worry much about a little staining. The extra layer inside the gusset is specifically there for you hygienically, and yes, it’s probably going to become marked over time. You can rub a little extra detergent there to pre-treat if it really bothers you. But don’t let a small gusset stain keep you from feeling fabulous in your lingerie!
  • What about blood stains? It’s true: sometimes life happens and you get your period or spotting on your Very Favourite Knickers. But I have a pro-tip to share for blood stains! Your unique saliva has enzymes in it which can help to break down your own blood. I know it sounds funny, but this really does work: a bit of spit on the affected area can help keep the stain from setting.
  • Can I hand wash my silk robe? You can technically hand wash any silk garments, including robes with metres of material. However, we actually recommend dry cleaning for those. The reason is that with large expanses of silk, you’ll have a lot of ironing to do after a wash. Most people don’t want to take the time to iron (and/or don’t have enough experience with ironing silks to do it nicely), so it’s simply easier to take those to the cleaner. That said, make sure it’s a reputable cleaner that you know and trust before handing over your fanciest, floor-length silk robe!
  • Will my silks change texture with washing? Yes, this is the one downside of repeated hand washing over time. Silks do lose a little bit of lustre with hand washing. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the material – it just won’t be quite as shiny a year down the line. It’s perfectly normal. But if you are very averse to that effect, you can always have your special items dry cleaned instead of washing.
  • Can I really do it that quickly? YES. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll find that it takes no more than 1-2 minutes of active time to wash your underwear by hand. Yes, there’s a bit of inactive time involved while you’re waiting for them to soak or dry. So take that time to pour yourself a cup of tea (or maybe something stronger?) and pat yourself on the back for taking such good care of your clothes!

Looking for some pretty new undies to add to your collection?

Try the very best! Angela Friedman underwear is exquisitely handmade and crafted from the most luxurious materials: 100% silk satin, French lace, soft plush elastics, and cotton-lined gussets. We handcraft each piece here in England and ship worldwide – giving you many more pretty knickers to fall in love with and practice your hand washing skills on!

Have more specific tastes? Browse our collections of classic low-rise briefs, full coverage high-waisted knickers, or beautiful thongs. We’re convinced that once you try our gorgeous underwear selections, you’ll never go back to those scratchy old pairs in the back of the drawer again. Happy washing!

How to hand wash delicates

Most laundry experts agree that silk, synthetics with polyester, lace, fine knits, chiffon, velvet and other lightweight fabrics should be categorized as delicates. From silk ties to lacy bras, these special fabrics require a different approach than you use to clean your other clothes. Delicate fabrics require careful handling to help them maintain their shape, appearance and longevity.

While you can machine wash some delicates, many of your items like hand knitted or crocheted fabrics will require hand washing and other special care. Some items may even require a trip to the dry cleaners. NEVER hand wash or machine wash extra fine silk, suede, leather, feathers, fur and other fragile fabrics. Give your delicate clothing the care it needs by following these expert tips.

1. Read the Label On Your Delicates

The best place to start for learning how to clean your delicates is the item’s label. Some delicate fabrics like silk, synthetics, and fine knits will have tags that say “hand wash” or “dry clean.” While these terms don’t rule out using your washing machine, it does mean you’ll have to take extra care when machine washing your delicates. When in doubt, hand washing is the safest way to go.

So can you machine wash delicates or not? Yes and no. Depending on the material, if the label says, “dry clean,” you can either hand wash the item or clean it in the washer— as long as you follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions . If the label says, “dry clean only,” then off to the cleaners it goes. We all want to save time and money, but the last thing you want is to ruin your expensive silk blouse or favorite rayon skirt trying to save a couple of bucks.

2. Treat Stains Immediately

For the best results, take care of stains on delicate clothing as soon as you discover them. Before you begin tackling those stains, there are some extra steps you can take to make stains more manageable . Avoid using a commercial stain remover, especially on silk items. The same goes for bleach. Instead, use a natural stain remover like white vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice. Even with natural cleaners, it’s best to take it slow and use only as much cleaner as necessary to get the job done.

Dab the solution on stained areas and rub it gently into the fabric with your finger. Lacey trim and other fragile areas will require a little extra time, so be patient. For heavy stains, let the stain remover soak into the stain for five minutes before you rub it in. If you’re not going to wash the garment right away, lay the item out flat on a clean, white towel. Move on to your hand washing or machine washing phase before it dries completely.

3. Learn How to Hand Wash Delicates

It’s best to use clean containers for washing and rinsing delicates by hand, but you can easily use the sink. Sort your delicates into lights and darks. Sorting delicate items lets you wash multiple items and avoid having them fade or bleed onto other fabrics.

Use cold or warm water only because hot water may shrink your garments or fade colors. Use a detergent formulated for washing delicate items by hand. If a lingerie detergent isn’t in the budget, a homemade cleaning solution using one cup of hot water, one teaspoon of baby shampoo, and one drop of your favorite essential oil can make a great substitute.

Mix your detergent in the warm water, but don’t overdo it. It may take some experimenting with different types of delicates before you get the detergent-to-water ratio just right. Swirl your clothes gently in circles, side-to-side and up and down. Be careful with delicate trim like lace, sequins, etc. Remember—delicate items need delicate handling.

Rinse your clean delicates in a second container with clean water or rinse them gently with a kitchen sink sprayer. In the container, swirl them like you did during the wash cycle to get out all the soap. Fold and press your items against the basin edge to remove excess moisture. NEVER wring out delicates or you will damage the fabric or trim and cause them to lose their shape.

4. Wash Delicates in the Washer the Right Way

Just like with hand washing, you’ll start by sorting your delicates. But besides sorting by color, you’ll need to sort by fabric, too. Don’t mix cashmere with lace, knitwear with polyester, etc. or you run the risk of your delicates losing their shape. Be careful mixing and delicates with zippers and metal closures together to avoid snagging and tearing.

For any stains you may have missed before, you can still pre-treat them before throwing your delicates in the wash. Again, natural stain removers will get the stains out as gently as possible. Turn your delicates inside out and make sure any zippers and other closures are securely fastened. Put your delicates in a mesh washing bag, add your detergent and use the “Delicate” or “Gentle” wash setting with cold water. Choose your washing machine’s lowest spin cycle to avoid damage.

Whether you wash your delicates by hand or in your washing machine, the final steps are the same. Wet delicates can easily lose their shape if they aren’t allowed to dry correctly. After you wash them, gently reshape your delicate items to get them back to the desired shape and size. Lay them flat on a clean, white towel to dry. Once the exposed side is almost dry, flip your delicate garment over and let it completely air dry. You can use a drying rack to dry delicates too, just be mindful they don’t get stretched.

5. Soaking Delicates Helps Get Them Cleaner

The beauty of handwashing undergarments and other delicates is that it requires just a few minutes of actual work. Sure, taking the time to soak your delicates takes extra time, but the payoff is worth the time spent. Soaking your delicates helps break down stains and gets your items even cleaner. Make a good soak your first line of defense against stains on delicates and save some wear and tear on those fragile fabrics. Here’s how to do it:

Fill a container or sink with enough lukewarm water to fully submerge your previously sorted delicates. Gently rub any area that is particularly soiled or stained and let the items soak for 15 minutes. Drain and refill with clean water and let your delicates soak for another five minutes. If you do it right, soaking will eliminate all but the toughest stains. Once you’re done with the soaking process, check for any remaining stains. Treat any stains you discover and move on to hand or machine washing.

6. Delicates Like Bras Need Special Cleaning Care

The construction of many bras includes underwires, padding, additional shaping elements and bendable closures. All these different materials mean machine washing is a big “no no.” Anything that can clean big loads of towels, comforters and workout clothes is most likely going to mangle your favorite bras. Help your bras maintain their shape and last longer by hand washing them with the same care you give your other delicates.

Follow these six expert tips for cleaning delicate clothes and make them last longer and look their best. You take care of cleaning your delicates and let The Maids take care of the rest with our range of housekeeping services .

Consider these expert-approved hacks the next time you give this gentle method a try.

How to hand wash delicates

How to hand wash delicates

For one reason or another, sometimes it’s best to ditch the washing machine and take a manual approach. While hand-washing is typically reserved for delicate items — bras and underwear, namely — it’s an effective option for most types of clothing, especially if you don’t have a large enough load to make a trip to the laundromat worthwhile.

Before heading to your sink, take a look at your garment’s care and fiber tag for water temperature guidelines and further washing instructions. If the label says, “dry clean,” as opposed to “dry clean only,” it may be safe to wash in the sink — and lower your dry cleaning bill in the process. To err on the side of caution, test your garment by placing a drop of water in a hidden spot and blotting with a paper towel. If no color comes off or it doesn’t leave a water spot, then it should be safe to hand-wash. Although the care instructions may vary from one clothing type to the next, the same step-by-step method applies, no matter if you’re working with wool, silk, or cotton.

Whether you’re tackling a wine stain or simply need to spruce up a blouse before its next wear, take a tip from an expert — Carolyn Forte, the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab — on the foolproof way to hand-wash clothes.

How to Hand-Wash Clothes

Washing clothes by hand is by far the most gentle approach. That means, you want to treat your garments with an extreme level of care throughout the entire cleaning process. To save time, feel free to wash likes with likes a.k.a. garments in the same color and fabric type. Follow this step-by-step guide for most garments (but keep on reading for more specific how-tos for bras, underwear, and sweaters):

  1. Read the care label to determine the type of fabric: silk, wool, and so forth. From there, pinpoint the best laundry detergent. Any standard detergent should work for most items. Delicate fabrics may call for something more gentle, like fine fabric detergent, free and gentle detergent, or mild dish liquid.
  2. Treat stains, if necessary. To do so, gently work laundry stain remover or liquid detergent into the stain with your fingertips (avoid scrubbing!). While it’s soaking, gently squeeze the sudsy water through the garment several times.
  3. Fill sink with water — lukewarm or warm, depending on your garment’s care labels — and put garments in. (FYI: Wool, silk, and bright colors clean best in cold water.) Then add the recommended dose of detergent. Swish the detergent in the water to make sure it’s completely dissolved, then lay your garment in the water and gently press it down to fully immerse it. The water may turn color, but don’t panic: This is simply the fabric dye releasing color, and won’t result in any color loss after washing.
  4. Rinse thoroughly. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place any lightweight garments, like lingerie or swimsuits, in a colander and rinse clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with cool, clear water, immerse the garment, and squeeze the water through to rinse. Repeat as needed.
  5. Remove excess water. Since wringing out wet, delicate fabrics may cause unnecessary damage, carefully lift the garment with both hands and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Then, lay it flat on an absorbent towel, and roll the towel and garment together until the water is absorbed.
  6. Lay items to dry. To prevent delicates, especially knits, from stretching out of shape, lay them flat to dry. For extra care (and to speed up up the drying process), lay sweaters or swimsuits on top of a dry towel, and let it air dry. Once the front is dry, flip it over.

How to Hand-Wash Bras and Delicate Lingerie

While throwing your bra in the washing machine may seem like a quick fix, it can be damaging in the long-run. Washing your bras by hand is the recommended method by lingerie brands and designers since it helps your undergarments keep their shape and fit. Good news for you: It’s seriously easy to do.

  1. Fill sink with lukewarm water (or the temperature specified on your bra’s care tag). Add a gentle detergent.
  2. Carefully place the bra in the water and soak for 15 minutes. Gently work the sudsy solution into all the nooks and crannies of the bra.
  3. Rinse. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place the bra in a colander and rinse clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with cool, clear water, immerse the bra, and squeeze the water through to rinse.
  4. To get rid of any excess water, gently squeeze out water from the straps and back, blot or patting it (including the cups) with a towel. Then reshape and dry flat.

How to Hand-Wash Underwear

How to hand wash delicates

Similar to bras, there are some underwear styles that should be washed by hand. Follow this how-to guide the next time you clean your silk, lace, or delicate underwear.

  1. Fill sink with warm water (or the temperature specified on your underwear’s care tag). Add a gentle detergent and swish it in the water until it dissolves.
  2. Place the underwear — you can wash multiple pairs as long as they’re the same color and fiber material — in the water and let soak for up to 30 minutes. Swish the detergent in the water periodically to make sure it’s completely dissolved.
  3. Rinse with lukewarm water. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place the underwear in a colander and rinse clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with water, immerse the underwear, and squeeze the water through to rinse.
  4. Carefully lift the underwear out of the water and gently squeeze it to remove any excess water. Then blot with a towel, reshape underwear, and either hang dry or dry flat.

How to Hand-Wash Sweaters

We all have that one sweater that we love . except for the fact that it requires a trip to the dry cleaner after each wear. If it’s marked “dry clean” on the care tag, it may be safe to wash your sweater right at home.

  1. Double-check the sweater’s care and fiber tags to determine the perfect water temperature and detergent. More often than not, fill the sink with lukewarm water and add gentle detergent or mild dish liquid.
  2. Treat stains with laundry stain remover or liquid detergent. Work the stain remover into the stain with your fingertips (avoid scrubbing).
  3. Flip the sweater inside-out. Immerse the sweater in the water and swish the suds around. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place the sweater in a colander and rinse clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with cool, clear water, immerse the sweater, and squeeze the water through to rinse.
  5. Lift the garment with both hands and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Then, lay it flat on an absorbent towel, and roll the towel and garment together until the water is absorbed.
  6. Lay sweater top of a dry towel, and let it air dry. Once the front is dry, flip it over.

Hand washing isn’t just for delicate clothes, it’s also a great way to save money at the dry cleaner.

Hand washing clothes isn’t as easy as putting a load of laundry in the washing machine, but it’s the only way to clean delicate items without damaging them. Spill juice on a blouse or accidently drip that delicious marinara sauce on your favorite pair of pants? Hand washing a garment as soon as possible will prevent stains from setting in. It can also be an alternative to dry cleaning, saving you time and money.

Before filling up your sink with soap and water, find the washing instructions on the label, which may be hidden on the side of the garment. If the label says, “dry clean,” as opposed to “dry clean only,” the item can safely be hand washed. It should also give you guidelines including ideal water temperature.

Using the right detergent is also important. Pick a product specifically formulated for hand washing clothes, such as The Laundress Delicate Wash ($19; amazon.com). While you can use a smaller amount of your regular liquid or powdered laundry detergent in a pinch, it’s often hard to figure out the right amount to use. Also, many detergents tend to have chemicals too harsh for delicate fabrics.

As a general rule, it’s best to drain the soapy water before rinsing. Then, run fresh cool water over your clothing until it runs clear and is free of suds.

Drying is the final step of the hand washing process. Move your shower curtain over and hang items on the bar or use a separate tension rod ($17.42; amazon.com). You can also try using a drying rack.

Read on for more easy tips on how to hand wash clothes.

How to hand wash bras

Turn on the faucet, fill the sink with lukewarm water, and put in the detergent as it fills. When the sink is approximately three-quarters full, place bras of like colors in the soapy water. Swish them around gently as needed. Check that the hooks don’t catch onto any lace or mesh cups or embellishments.

Soak bras for up to an hour and then rinse.

Finally, place the bras on a towel, and then fold over the other side gently to blot up the excess water. Never squeeze or wring bras. Hang dry.

How to hand wash underwear

Plug the drain and dispense delicate detergent into an empty sink. Put the underwear in and then fill the sink with warm, but not hot water. Let your undies soak for five to 30 minutes (you can make that call). Gently agitate periodically. Rinse with lukewarm water for several minutes.

After you remove your underwear, gently squeeze out the excess water. Then blot with a towel and hang dry.

How to hand wash a shirt

Fill the sink with lukewarm, soapy water and place in the shirt. While you can wash multiple items at once, you probably shouldn’t try for more than three or four, depending on the size of the sink. Gently agitate each garment to loosen any dirt. Let soak for 10 to 30 minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Gently squeeze out excess water without wringing. If a shirt is really wet, roll it carefully inside a towel. Hang dry on a padded hanger ($10 for eight; amazon.com) or velvet hanger ($30 for 50; bedbathandbeyond.com). Never use wire or plastic hangers because they can ruin the shape of your clothes.

How to hand wash a sweater

Before hand washing a sweater, double check that the label says “dry clean” and not “dry clean only.” For synthetic fabrics, such as rayon and polyester, you can wash the garment in warm, but not hot, soapy water. Synthetic fabrics tend to hold odors more than natural fabrics, so a slightly raised temperature may be needed.

Swish the sweater around the sink. Soak for 10 to 60 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Gently squeeze out the excess water and roll the sweater inside a towel. You can push the roll down for a few seconds or even leave it there for a few minutes, allowing the water to absorb. Dry sweaters flat for a few hours or overnight on a dry towel. You will probably need to turn the sweater over in the morning. It can take up to 48 hours for a sweater to dry thoroughly depending on how thick it is. Never hand a sweater dry, it can distort and stretch out the shape.

How to hand wash jeans

While you don’t need to hand wash jeans on a regular basis, sometimes an accidental spill or traveling will call for it. Put the jeans in cold, soapy water. If you don’t have a delicate wash on hand, it’s completely fine to use a small amount of your regular detergent. Agitate jeans with your hands and let them soak for approximately half an hour.

Then, drain the water from the sink and fill with fresh water. Soak for another 10 minutes. Drain the sink again and let the water run until clear. Feel free to wring out of your jeans (denim is a pretty durable fabric), and let them drip dry or use your dryer.

How to hand wash a hat

Hats, especially baseball caps, can easily become dirty and smelly, so they require a thorough washing. Start by spot cleaning any stains with shampoo or delicate wash, lightly scrubbing with an old toothbrush. Soak the hat in cold water from half an hour up to a few hours, depending on the level of grime. Then rinse with cold water.

How you dry a hat is just as important as how you wash it because it can easily lose its shape. Dry upright, stuffing the inside with a clean towel (a gym or hand towel works well) or a few washcloths crumpled together.

How to hand wash wool

Washing wool is a little different than synthetic fabrics. Always use cool water because hot water can cause damage and shrinking. Instead of using a regular delicate wash, you should ideally use a detergent formulated just for wool, such as Alparino Luxury Wool Wash ($17; amazon.com). Squeeze out excess water carefully without wringing and roll the garment in a towel. Then dry flat on a clean towel.

How to hand wash silk

Whether you are trying to wash a silk shirt, pillowcase, or another garment, it’s important to be as careful as possible with this very delicate material. Dyed silk bleeds easily, so keep it limited to washing one or two garments of like colors at the same time.

Turn each item inside out before washing. After placing the item in cold, soapy water, gently agitate each garment. Then let soak for half an hour. You may see dye, especially from newer items, in the sink, but don’t worry, this is normal. Then, rinse with cold water until it runs clear.

How to hand wash delicates

When was the last time you washed any of your clothes by hand? For most of us, it’s probably been a LONG time! Modern washing machines have long since eliminated the need for hand-washing our laundry, for the most part. Many delicate clothing items still require a gentle hand to get clean, and can sustain damage even in the gentlest machine washing cycles. So even these days, knowing how to hand-wash clothing is still a useful skill to have in your arsenal!

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How to hand wash delicates

And let me assure you, hand-washing is neither as time-consuming or as labor-intensive as you might think.

Here are some tips for safely and effectively washing your delicate clothing items.

How to hand wash delicates

  • Gentle detergent
  • A container for washing (your bathtub, a bucket, your sink, etc.)
  • Clean bath towels

How to hand wash delicates

Start by reading the label of the item of clothing you want to wash. Look in particular for any detergent or water temperature recommendations. (If you need a refresher of what those strange laundry symbols mean on clothing labels, we created a free printable washing instruction symbols cheat sheet!)

If there aren’t any recommendations on the label, your safest bet will be to wash the item in lukewarm water with a mild detergent. (You could use my homemade powdered laundry detergent here, if you use it at home!)

How to hand wash delicates

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How to hand wash delicates

Happy Monday everyone! I am SO happy to be home after having SO much fun at BlogHer ’13 in Chicago. I was actually feeling kind of depressed last . Continue Reading

Fill your bathtub, a bucket, or your sink with lukewarm water, then add a small amount of detergent. Mix it up together with a large spoon or a whisk to dissolve the detergent and break up any clumps.

How to hand wash delicates

Submerge your garment in the soapy water, and move it around using gentle swishing motions. Avoid wringing, stretching, scrubbing, or twisting!

How to hand wash delicates

After a few minutes of swishing, drain your container of water and refill it with cool water for rinsing. Push your garment down into the water several times to rinse it out. Drain the rinse water and repeat, if necessary.

How to hand wash delicates

Inspect the label of your garment for drying recommendations. If there are no instructions provided, lay the garment out on a clean, dry bath towel. Flip the item over every once in a while, and change out the towel, if necessary. This process takes a little longer, but it is the gentlest way to dry delicate clothing.

Last updated on September 9, 2020

No one has time to hand-wash their bras and other delicates, right? Think again! Hand-washing bras is actually really easy, and quick too. Learn how to hand-wash your bras correctly to keep them clean and make them last longer, because you deserve to have nice things!

When it comes to laundry, I’m just trying to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m definitely guilty of tossing my bras into the washing machine (on a delicate cycle!) because I just didn’t have time to hand-wash them.

Turns out I was wrong! Hand-washing your bras and other delicates is actually super easy to do, and way quicker than I thought. Plus, hand-washing your bras keeps them from becoming misshapen and makes them last longer, so it’s definitely the best way to care for them.

Here’s how to hand-wash bras the right way. Cuz you deserve to have nice things! (And also, bra shopping is the WORST!)

How To Hand-Wash Your Bras Correctly

  • How to hand-wash a bra and other delicates
  • The “real world” way to wash a bra (in the washing machine)
  • How to dry a bra
  • Bra care and storage tips

How to hand-wash a bra and other delicates

Hand-washing bras is the best method for keeping them clean and making them last longer. And luckily, it’s easy to do!

  1. Fill a sink with cold water and add 1-2 teaspoons of gentle detergent. (My favorite detergent for hand-washing bras is Soak.)
  2. Add your bras.
  3. Swish the bras around in the water, gently rubbing at the areas that tend to collect the most sweat, like the back band and the center and bottom of the cups.
  4. Let the bras soak in the water for 15 minutes.
  5. Swish and gently rub one more time.
  6. Rinse the bras in clean, cool water (unless you are using a no-rinse detergent like Soak).
  7. Gently fold your bra against a towel to get rid of any excess water. Don’t wring it out; twisting causes too much strain on the delicate fabric.

The “real world” way to wash a bra (in the washing machine)

I get it, even though it only takes like 5 minutes to hand-wash a bra (plus 15 minutes of soaking), we all live in the real world and sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to do it. For those times when you do put your bras in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, follow these tips to keep them as safe as possible:

  • Close the back and any other hooks, so the bra doesn’t snag and stretch out.
  • Put each bra in its own mesh lingerie bag, so they aren’t roughed up by the heavier fabrics in your machine.
  • Wash them on a delicate cycle using cold water; hot water causes the elastic and spandex to break down quicker.
  • Don’t wash them in the same load as heavy things like towels, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.

How to dry a bra

There’s a “real world” way to wash your bras when you’re really pressed for time, but when it comes to drying your bras I’m going to take a hard line: You MUST air dry your bras. We already know that heat is bad for your bras (it degrades the elastic and spandex), but even a low-heat cycle is too much heat for the delicate fabrics. Many dryers also have a no-heat/tumble dry/air dry cycle, but those aren’t any better because the tumbling is still rough on fancy embellishments and can cause the underwire to bend in weird shapes or poke out of the fabric.

There are two ways you can air dry your bras:

  1. Lay them flat on a towel. Lay the bra flat with the cups facing up, then re-shape the cups before leaving it to dry so they don’t dry with weird creases.
  2. Hang them on a drying rack or clothes hanger. If you hang your bra to dry, NEVER hang it by the straps or from one end of back clasp. The weight of the bra when it’s wet can cause the straps or back band to stretch out. The best way to hang it is from the center gore (the fabric between the two cups); just let the cups hang down on either side of the hanger. And make sure to re-shape the cups if they got a little flattened in the wash.

Bra care and storage tips

Bras aren’t cheap, so here are a few more tips to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

  • Wash your bras every 3-6 wearings
  • Rotate bras between wearings to give them a rest (don’t wear the same bra two days in a row)
  • A bra’s lifespan is generally about 3 years before the elastic is worn out, even with the best care.
  • Store your bras standing up in a drawer. You can nest them together with the cups inside of each other to help them retain their shape, but don’t fold them in half.

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Can you hand wash silk and delicate items?

Most care labels on silk and delicate items, such as lingerie, lace and sheer fine fabrics these days say ‘dry clean only’. However this hasn’t always been the case: the truth is that most ‘dry clean’ only silk items, and many other delicate items, can be washed at home with little time and effort. If the garment is free from padding, tailoring, or embellishments, then there’s every chance that it will wash really well with a delicate hand wash product and the right technique.

Our No.4 Eco Wash for Silk and Delicates was created so that you can feel confident washing silk and delicates at home. Crafted with our proprietary formula and delicately fragranced with bergamot and patchouli, No.4 will leave silk garments refreshed and nourished.

Before you wash.

It’s important that you check your silk or delicate garment for any details or structure such as pleats or unusual textured finishes as these could be damaged or misshapen when washed. It’s also a good idea to dry clean first if it’s a brand new garment, especially if there’s more than one colour in the fabric. Every time you hand wash you’ll likely see a little dye come out in the water, but the first time it will run more than usual and an initial dry clean will help to make it colourfast.

Follow our guide to hand washing silk and delicates at home:

1 . Fill a basin with cool water and add 2-3 caps of our No . 4

How to hand wash delicates

2 . Turn the garment inside out and gently submerge the garment and agitate the water with your hands to distribute the soap and water. It is normal for a little dye to be released. Soak for up to 30 minutes.

How to hand wash delicates

3 . Rinse with fresh cool water until the garment is free from soap and then gently press between your hands or against the sink.

How to hand wash delicates

4 . Absorb excess water with a towel and leave to dry flat on a drying rack. Alternatively, you can hang to dry, making sure to position the item correctly on a hanger to prevent stretching.

How to hand wash delicates

To summarise, silk can be delicately hand washed at home with the right product and technique. In fact, we believe that washing silk at home can provide better results than dry cleaning, and will prolong the lifespan of your favourite garments.

It’s time to say goodbye to costly and damaging dry cleaning, and give your garments some love by hand washing with No.4.

Also known as: How to keep the quality of your silk high and your dry-cleaning bill low.

How to hand wash delicates

How to hand wash delicates

Welcome to Take Care of It, where we’ll share best practices for the upkeep and maintenance of luxury fashion purchases—because we know you want to keep them forever.

We know how intimidating it can be to take care of your most dainty pieces. The dreaded “dry-clean only” tag can have your silkiest possessions hanging in your closest for far too long in fear of possible stains. But the best way to keep the quality of your most delicate pieces high and your dry-cleaning bill low is as easy as 1, 2, 3. 4!

Before you psych yourself out: Hand-washing is an easy way to take your must-have silk blouses and delicates from fusty to fresh in the comfort of your own home—while avoiding additional costs and chemicals used at local dry-cleaners. Follow these four simple steps from start t0 finish to preserve the color and quality of your favorite silks and remove stains from them where necessary.

Step 1: Check the Temperature

How to hand wash delicates

To avoid any shrinkage and color bleeding, always start by filling a basin with cold water.

Step 2: Soap Up

How to hand wash delicates

Make some suds by adding a gentle detergent like the Laundress: Delicate Wash to your basin.

Step 3: Suds ‘N’ Soak

How to hand wash delicates

Gently lather up your garments and spot treat wherever necessary, then leave them submerged in the soapy water for up to 30 minutes.

Step 4: Hang Loose

How to hand wash delicates

Once any stains are removed gently rinse, press (don’t wring) excess water out, and let your delicates air-dry flat on a drying rack or hang to dry in the breeze!