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How to properly look after lingerie

Lingerie is the foundation of your wardrobe, so it’s important to look after your favourite pieces properly. That’s why we’re answering some of the most common questions about washing and caring for lingerie, so you can launder your intimates with confidence. 

Should I wash lingerie by hand?

For pieces made of fine silk or with detailed lace, as well as structured or padded bras like push-ups, we recommend hand washing. But most other pieces, such as non-padded or underwired bras, sports bras, knickers and shapewear in non-delicate fabrics (like cotton or synthetics), can be machine washed. If you’re machine washing your lingerie, make sure you securely fasten the band closed, then pop the item in a mesh laundry bag to prevent tearing or snagging in the machine and preserve elasticity. Wash cool (no more than 30°C), on a gentle delicates or hand wash cycle, with a low spin, measuring out the appropriate amount of our Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash for the load size. 

How can I hand wash lingerie?

When hand washing lingerie, dilute a little of the detergent in a basin in tepid water (we recommend 1-2 capfuls). Submerge the item in the water and gently swirl with your hands, then leave it to soak for up to 30 minutes (for silks in particular, it’s important not to soak longer than that!). Rinse by running fresh, cool water through the item until the water is no longer soapy, then gently squeeze out excess water (don’t wring). Take particular care with delicate straps, supportive underwire, and also underwear liners. 

Should I separate lingerie by colour?

Whether you’re washing pieces in a machine or by hand, it’s super important to sort and separate by material, structure and colour. That means always washing similar colours (black with black, white with white) together to avoid any colour running or staining.

How often should I wash my bras?

Unless you’ve worked up a sweat or you’ve been wearing body moisturisers and oils, there’s no need to wash bras after every wear. We recommend after about 2-3 wears, though hot days may call for a gentle clean after each wear. You can keep your bras fresh between wears by hanging them somewhere with good ventilation, and also by spritzing regularly with finishing spray. Sports bras, by contrast, should be washed after every wear!

Kair - How to wash lingerie properly - sheer bra on door handle

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How should I wash my shapewear?

Though shapewear is sturdier than other types of lingerie, it should still be treated delicately. Like activewear, it’s made from synthetic, elastic fibres, which maintain their form after being stretched. If the garment label says that machine washable, still stick to gentle, delicate cycles, and never tumble dry. To keep your shapewear in shape, use a specialist detergent, like our Activewear Wash, which works wonders on materials such as elastane and spandex, as well as shapewear made from bamboo fibre and TencelTM. 

How should I wash my hosiery?

You can machine or hand wash your hosiery, but take care as they’re as delicate as delicates get! If you’re machine washing, be sure to use a mesh laundry bag to avoid any tearing or snagging, along with a gentle delicates cycle, and a gentle detergent. And again, never ever tumble dry! Instead lay them on a towel on a flat surface, and gently roll them (like a lingerie sushi) so the towel can soak up most of the moisture, then unroll the towel, and leave them to dry in a warm, dry place (it shouldn’t take more than an hour).

Woman wearing a white wool sweater sitting in a chair

Image via @monikh

Do I need to use a mesh laundry bag?

If you’re machine washing your lingerie, then yes, you should absolutely use a mesh laundry bag. It’ll give your pieces much-needed extra protection inside the drum, so you can say goodbye to misshapen bras, shredded lace, tangled tights, and irreparably holey hosiery, and never lose anything to the mysterious machine ever again.    

What kind of detergent should I use?

Unless it’s shapewear or performance wear, all lingerie should be washed with a specialist gentle detergent, such as our Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash: it’ll keep your favourite pieces in one piece with a formulation that’s as effective as it’s protective, while leaving them with a warm, luxurious scent - so you can wear, Kair, repeat, time and time again. For shapewear and performance wear like sports bras, use our Activewear Wash. 

How should I dry my lingerie?

Never tumble dry lingerie: the combination of heat and agitation can damage the delicate fibres and reduce both their elasticity and special moisture-wicking properties. Hang to dry on a washing line or padded hanger, or lay the item flat in its natural shape on a drying rack or towel in a cool, dry place. Feel free to dry light-coloured items outside in direct sunlight, but set dark-coloured ones in a more shady spot to limit fading. Remove any wrinkles by lightly steaming (don’t iron), then spritzing with finishing spray.   

How should I store my lingerie?

To preserve their fit and avoid distorting the construction, store bras in their original shape - or fold one cup into the other if you’re short on space. Be sure to gently smooth out lumps or dents first. You can stack underwear inside your drawer after sorting by colour and/or style, taking care to fold them one on top of the other. 

From washing to drying to storage, now you know how to Kair lovingly for your lingerie, so you and your most-loved intimates can look and feel beautiful for years to come. 


Cover Image by Alex Bramall

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