Every woman knows she's supposed to gently hand-wash all of her lingerie and other delicates. However, most women also know that real life often makes that kind of luxury close to impossible. Call it lazy, call it busy or call it just a dose of reality, sometimes bras end up in the washing machine.
For many busy women, lingerie washing means throwing it into the washer and dryer. Admittedly, this method eventually weakens garments and creates shorter life spans. However, by taking a few extra steps, you can reduce that damage and make the convenience worth the slightly higher cost.
The Net Bag
The most important rule for machine-washing lingerie is always to use a net lingerie bag. By placing bras in the bag, you prevent hooks from snagging or knocking against the machine. You also help shield and cushion the lingerie from both the rushing water and the machine metal.
The bag should be created from a fine, sturdy mesh that will help protect and shield garments while still letting water and soap run through. It should be small- to medium-sized, rather than laundry-bag sized. It's also better to use two or three small bags rather than one large one.
Any net bags should have small, rust-resistant zippers for opening and closing. Pull strings with a plastic ball at the end will just knock against the machine and lingerie, causing potential damage. Snaps will not hold and allow too much open space.
Washing and Drying
Always hook bras before washing. Place the lingerie in the bag, and zip it closed. Do lingerie in light loads, and never fill the machine. Never include pantyhose. They need to be hand-washed only.
Never mix garments like jeans or towels with the load, or your delicates may turn out damaged and covered in lint. Use a soft detergent on your lingerie, sticking to labels specifically created for washing "delicates." Avoid using bleach, color-safe or otherwise. Wash on delicate in warm or cold water.
Air-dry the lingerie if possible, by either hanging the garments or placing them on a towel to dry. You should never place lingerie in a dryer, but, if you must, always dry on delicate, fluff or air in the machine. Use the least amount of heat possible, since it breaks down the spandex threads used in most lingerie.
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