Brassiere Love: Wash With Care

Hand washing your brassieres in the sink is about as exciting and glamorous a venture as detailing the toaster. Out of lack of initiative in this regard, I have looked and researched and investigated on a way, any way, that I can avoid hand washing my bras and instead hurl them in the washing machine each week–yet get the same results as hand washing. Alas, I have not found it.

Particularly if your bras have lace, ornamentation and embellishments, hand washing is the way to go. According to Shahla, owner of Avisha Lingerie in Redondo Beach, the wash/spin cycles are too harsh for bras. Plus, they damage the moulding (support).

A lingerie rep, however, told me that she feels the “Lingerie,” “Delicates” or “Hand Wash” specialty setting available on some new washing models is kind enough to even luxury bras. As I do not currently own such a magic machine, I can neither personally confirm nor deny this.

I will continue to hand wash my brassieres in the interest of maintaining their life, general sassiness and shape (and by consequence, that of my bosom). I also hate the look of an old, worn bra. It’s horrible and soul-crushing and anti-glamour incarnate. (An admirable life goal is to never allow an ugly or cheap bra touch your bosom!)

To that end, here are some tips on washing your brassieres, lingerie and other unmentionables so they will serve you and look lovely for as long as possible:

  • Hand wash them in a basin of cool water with a small amount of mild soap or specialty lingerie soap (I have heard many good things about Forever New–find it at Macy’s in the lingerie department as well as at many fine lingerie stores.)
  • Rinse garments in clean water and remove excess water from the item gently with your hands.
  • Roll the item(s) in a clean dry towel to absorb moisture.
  • Do not twist, wring or otherwise Macarena* your items.
  • If you do use the washing machine, place items in a mesh lingerie bag.
  • After washing, lay your items flat to dry.
  • No dryers for your fine undergarments and lingerie. The motion beats the hell out of the garment and compromises its shape. Plus, a dryer’s heat fades colors, deteriorates the fabric and will weaken the strength of any stretch in the item.

*One day I was towel-drying my wet hair with much vehemence and vigor and passion and muscle. I recall it being after some shoot that involved a “statement” done with hair  and my hair in particular. A kind and dressed-in-all-black hair stylist came up to me and said, “Don’t do the Macarena on your hair, chica, you’ll damage it.” He showed me how to gently dry my hair by pressing a towel through it to absorb the moisture. This fine tipster also told me that you can tell if a woman is iron deficient by touching her hand–it feels cold.

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