How to Wash Your Lingerie and Nightwear

No one likes having to throw clothes away, especially when it’s a piece they really loved. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if everything we bought stayed in perfect condition forever? Unfortunately, whether faster or slower, all fabrics eventually wear out. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prolong your clothing’s lifespan, and today we’ll be sharing our tips on best washing practices for delicate items such as underwear and sheer nightwear.

Washing and drying is where a lot of the damage happens. Sometimes it’s bleach causing the color to fade. Other times it’s the physical friction of being tumbled about with other garments. More often than not though, it’s a result of heat (hot water, tumble dryers, draping garments over a radiator, or hanging them out in bright sunshine) which gradually breaks down the clothing fibers.

Here’s how to keep all of this inevitable wear to an absolute minimum:

Image: © Costasz

How to wash underwear / sleepwear by hand

If you’re prepared to put in the effort (and it really needn’t take long!) then hand-washing is always going to be gentler on your clothes than a washing machine. Even if you don’t hand wash all of your delicates, you may want to consider it for at least your most treasured pieces. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1 – fill a sink or small container with cold or lukewarm water, and mix in a little ‘delicates’ detergent. Liquid detergents dissolve best if using cold water.

Step 2 – add the garments (all similarly-colored to avoid staining) and give them a brief swish about. If required, apply a little more detergent directly onto very dirty areas and rub the fabric against itself to dislodge the dirt. Then allow to soak for 15-20 minutes. Note: silk shrinks when left in water, so for that, reduce the time to 3-5 minutes.

Step 3 – Drain the water, refill with fresh cold or lukewarm water, and swish again to rinse out the detergent.

Image: © Lagarrigue

How to wash underwear / sleepwear in a washing machine

Oh, what a wonderful invention washing machines are! That said, they do have the potential to ruin your clothes if used incorrectly. The most important thing here is to check the garment label, which will give you key information such as the maximum temperature setting.

Most of our collection can be machine-washed on a warm (not hot) setting such as 90°F, but certain items such as our modal garments should always be washed on a cold setting. Modern detergents are often perfectly effective in cold water! Speaking of detergent, don’t use more than the recommended dose – excess suds can leave an invisible ‘film’ on the clothing that traps grime instead of removing it.

One very easy, yet very effective, way to protect your delicate clothes inside the washing machine is to use a mesh laundry bag. These prevent the garments inside from getting snagged on other items (e.g. a zip) and we particularly recommend using them for garments with lace, embroidery, or a very fine fabric such as chiffon.

Mesh laundry bags are also ideal for bras, since they’ll prevent them from getting all twisted up (which could cause an underwire to pop out). Be sure to fasten the hooks on your bra though, or other garments inside the laundry bag could easily catch on that.

Image: © Janis Smits

How to dry underwear / sleepwear

Once your lingerie or nightwear is nice and clean, how do you dry it? Just as hand-washing is the gentlest way to wash your clothes, air drying is the least-damaging method of all. But if you don’t have a washing line (or it’s raining out) then keep your tumble dryer on a low-heat setting. High temperatures may dry faster but they also ‘wear out’ fibers more. This is especially true for spandex which would lead to your bra bands, bra straps and spandex-containing panties losing their stretch, and hence losing their perfect fit.

If you’re air-drying, hanging bras from the band or straps can also overstretch them. So hang them from the center-front (the bit between the cups) or lay them flat. And definitely don’t put anything with spandex on a hot radiator!

If you’ve hand-washed your underwear or sleepwear, you’ll want to remove as much water as possible before drying, but excessive twisting and wringing can damage the fabric. Instead, squeeze the water out; it can also help to press the garment between a dry towel.

We hope you’ve found this sleepwear and underwear washing advice helpful! And remember, if you ever have questions about how to wash a specific Shadowline Lingerie garment, you can find guidance on the label, on the product page, or by contacting us.