Washing Underwear 101 - in partnership with Underdays
Having plenty of soft, lightweight underwear should be the foundation of your wardrobe. That’s why we’re in love with Underday’s game-changing collection, from breathable everyday briefs, to sweat-wicking workout thongs, and silky-smooth microfibre lingerie. But whatever your preference, it’s important to look after your intimates properly, so you can enjoy that feel-good, first-wear feeling every wear. Read on for our underwear 101.
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. You can machine wash non-padded or underwired bras, knickers and shapewear in non-delicate fabrics (like cotton and synthetics). But pieces made of fine silk or with detailed lace, as well as structured or padded bras like push-ups, should be hand washed. We recommend further sorting by category, such as everyday, workout and lingerie, and always washing similar colours together.
Step #2: Let it air
Throwing sweaty, smelly performance underwear into the washing basket allows odours and bacteria to settle deep into your garment’s fibres, making them harder to wash out. So air for a few hours before washing - preferably outside - so that moisture can wick away.
Step #3: Choose the right detergent
The type of detergent you choose depends on the fabric. Kair’s Signature Clothing Wash works wonders on resilient, everyday fabrics like cotton, but for performance fabrics (such as elastane, nylon, bamboo and micromodal), choose a specialist detergent, like Kair’s Activewear Wash, which has been specially formulated to deep-clean and deodorise performance fabrics whilst protecting fabric integrity and elasticity. For delicates like silk, use a super gentle, non-abrasive formulation, such as Kair’s Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash.
Step #4: Pre-treat stains
Gently pre-treat stains with a little liquid detergent. 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. 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 #5: Machine or hand wash
If you’re machine washing, always pop the item in a mesh laundry bag to preserve elasticity and prevent tearing or snagging in the machine. To get the most out of your underwear, wash cool (we suggest no higher than 30°C), on a gentle delicates or hand wash cycle, with a low spin. 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 30 minutes, before rinsing and gently squeezing out excess water.
Step #6: Air dry and finish
Never tumble dry underwear: the combination of heat and agitation can damage the fabric’s fibres and reduce both their elasticity and special moisture-wicking properties. Hang bras and silk on a washing line or padded hanger, but lay briefs and thongs flat in their natural shape on a drying rack or towel. Dry light-coloured items outside in direct sunlight, but set dark-coloured ones in a more shady spot to limit fading. Maximise freshness and lock in long-lasting fragrance with a few spritzes of finishing spray.
Step #7: Store delicately and refresh
To preserve 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 - smoothing out lumps or dents first. Stack underwear in a drawer one on top of the other after sorting by colour and/or style.
Follow these seven easy steps to keep your underwear comfy and silky-smooth wear after wear. And even if the item’s label says it’s machine washable, always wash with Kair.