How to wash silk and lace underwear - in partnership with Coco de Mer
Fine silk and lace lingerie isn’t only delicate - it’s an investment. So if you’ve discovered and invested in pieces you love (we can’t get enough of Coco de Mer’s sensuous collection), it’s important to show them love by caring for them in the right way. After all, lingerie isn’t just for Valentine’s Day: it’s the foundation of your wardrobe. Follow our step-by-step guide on washing delicate underwear, so you and your favourite luxury pieces can look and feel beautiful for years to come, and you can launder with confidence.
Step #1: Sort and separate
Not all lingerie requires the same treatment, so it’s important to sort and separate by material, structure and colour. Many 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. But pieces made of fine silk or with detailed lace, as well as structured or padded bras like push-ups, should be hand washed. Wash like colours together, for example, black with other black pieces and whites with whites.
Step #2: Spot treat stains
Gently pre-treat stains with some of our Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash. Simply dilute the detergent in cool water, work it into the stain with a clean cloth, dab away the residue, then repeat as necessary until the stain disappears. For tough body oils in particular, you can also try soaking the stain in a powder such as talcum powder or cornstarch before spot-treating with detergent, while hydrogen peroxide works well on stubborn makeup stains. Treat blood stains by running them under cold water (not hot, as this will set the stain - check out our definitive 101 stain removal guide to find out more).
Step #3: Machine or hand wash
If you’re machine washing, make sure you securely fasten the band closed, then pop the item in a mesh laundry bag to preserve elasticity and prevent tearing or snagging in the machine. 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 (25ml in soft water areas or with lightly soiled items, 35ml in hard water areas or with heavily soiled items, for a 3-4kg load). If you’re hand washing, dilute 1-2 capfuls of the detergent in a basin in tepid water. 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.
Step #4: Air dry
Never tumble dry underwear: 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.
Step #5: Store delicately
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.
To enjoy long-lasting lingerie, we also recommend following these guidelines:
TIP #1: 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.
TIP #2: You can keep your bras fresh between wears by hanging them somewhere with good ventilation, and also by spritzing regularly with finishing spray.
TIP #3: Always wash similar-coloured items together, to avoid colour run or staining.
TIP #4: Even if the label says your underwear is machine washable, always handle with Kair, and use a mesh laundry bag for extra protection inside the drum.
TIP #5: You should machine wash shapewear and hosiery in the same way as other lingerie (i.e. on a cool gentle cycle, in a mesh laundry bag, with no tumble drying).
With these top tips and tricks, it’s easy to Long Love Your Lingerie spin after spin.