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Illustration for article titled How To Wash That Sexy Valentine’s Day Lingerie After You’ve, Well, iYou Know/i
Photo: Pawel Szvmanski (Unsplash)
SqualorJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

Lingerie is a bit polarizing. Some people love it (guilty as charged!), some people find it oppressive (understandable!) and others just don’t see the point (“it’s just gonna come off!”) If you’re a person who falls into the first category, you probably know the struggle of trying to figure out how to wash those delicate wisps without destroying them completely. As always, I am here to help — Ask a Slutty Clean Person is now in session.

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Most Lingerie Is Machine Washable … But!

A friend once texted me, “Jolie WHY are all my Hanky Pankys coming back from the wash completely mangled?!?” The answer was pretty simple: She was sending them out to the wash-and-fold along with all the rest of her clothes — jeans and hoodies and all sorts of other garments that have zippers and hooks and rivets and etc. — that were snagging her undies and causing damage.

The solution to her problem was simple: Get a set of mesh wash bags and bag the delicates up, which protects them from snagging on other items in the wash, before sending them out to be laundered.

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Now, we live in New York, where sending your laundry out is a common practice, but most of you reading this likely do your own wash. Given that, another thing to strongly consider when laundering delicates of any sort is to avoid washing them in the same load as heavy and/or embellished items like the aforementioned jeans and hoodies and etc.

Speaking of embellished items! Let’s move along to the types of lingerie that shouldn’t be machine washed.

When, and How, to Hand Launder Lingerie

If a piece of lingerie is extremely delicate, or has embellishments like beading, feathers, marabou, etc. it is a better choice to skip machine washing and launder the item by hand.

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Doing laundry by hand is a much simpler proposition than it may seem, and you also do not at all need a specialty detergent for the job. However, if you have a lot of fine lingerie, or many sweaters, it’s worth investing in a specialty no-rinse detergent like Soak Wash for delicates and woolens.

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Here’s why: That they make the process of hand-washing speedier, since they take a step out (the part where you, well, rinse) and forgoing rinsing means less handling of the garment, which in the case of delicates like bras or cashmere means less stress on the fibers. Regardless of whether you use a no-rinse detergent or a small amount of regular liquid detergent, here are your hand-laundering instructions:

  1. Identify a space roomy enough to accommodate the garment and water to fully submerge it. I do my hand-washing in the kitchen sink, but you may find that your bathroom or utility sink, or the bathtub or a washing bucket is best for you.
  2. Fill the sink with cold water the detergent; Soak recommends using a capful of its detergent diluted in a gallon of water.
  3. Put the garment in the water and use your hands to submerge it, swirling it around a bit so that the detergent fully penetrates the fibers. Let it soak for 15 minutes.
  4. Then, drain the water and roll the item in a dry towel to extrude moisture (don’t wring or twist delicate garments please!)
  5. Hang or lay it flat to dry.
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Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person

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