With everyone trying to do their bit for the planet knowing how to wash your underwear to make it last is a small but important step! Moving away from a “through away society” and making things last is key and we all need to try and do our bit.

Handwashing your underwear, particularly underwear that contains lycra or elastane, correctly keeps the fibres from breaking and makes your underwear look good for longer. With a little extra care and time you don’t need to have loads of underwear that falls apart after a short time. Have key pieces that last. It may be an initial investment but well worth it in the long run!

How to Hand Wash your Underwear

Washing your underwear is always difficult. Elastic can become unravelled, cotton lycra can lose its stretch and colours can fade.

It’s always best to hand wash your underwear to avoid any unnecessary trauma to the material.

  1. Use warm water and a detergent without enzymes.
  2. Be careful not to use too much detergent as this will leave behind a soapy residue.
  3. Use a gentle plunging action when washing and avoid vicious rubbing.
  4. When drying NEVER hand-ring out residual water or use the tumble dryer. Instead, hang your underwear outside, but avoid drying in direct sunlight. This process will ensure that lycra stays in tact and your fabrics keep their stretch.
  5. If at all possible hand wrap your underwear in a towel to absorb the excess moisture and then lay it out as flat as possible in an airing cupboard.


  1. Check the care label first. This will give you an indication of what cycle and temperature you should use.
  2. Put your underwear in a laundry bag or pillow case to avoid the fabric being snagged in the washing machine.

Should you be washing underwear with normal clothes?

Unless you wash your clothing at a minimum of 60 degrees, the bacteria from your underwear can transfer to the rest of your load. You may now be wondering you are advised to wash clothing at anything less than 60 degrees. Aside from the environmental benefits of a cold wash, cold water will CLEAN clothing but will not ELIMINATE microorganisms. Unless your clothing is particularly dirty, simply cleaning it will suffice.

How do you kill germs?

There are several ways that you can rid bacteria from your underwear asides from a hot wash. Using an oxygen bleach detergent can kill the bacteria from underwear at as low as 20 degrees. After washing underwear in the washing machine, you should always clean you machine. The e-coli and bacteria from your underwear can stick to your washing machine and transfer to other loads of laundry. To wash your machine, simply add two cups of white vinegar and run an empty cycle. This will leave your machine sparkling clean and ready for your next load of washing.

Running an empty cycle every time you wash your underwear is not very environmentally friendly. Rather than wasting water, energy and detergent try hand washing your underwear instead.

How to wash Bras

Bras can be worn 2-3 times before they need to be washed. Regardless of if you hand wash or use a washing machine, its best to use a detergent that doesn’t contain bleach or alcohol. If you can’t find a detergent without either of these ingredients, use a small amount of baby soap for the same effect.

  1. To ensure that your bras stay in good shape it’s best to hand wash them. Hand washing is the best way to eliminate sweat and odours and prevents them from losing their shape.
  2. The best way to hand wash your bras is to leave them in warm water with a small amount of detergent.
  3. Leave them for 40 minutes to 1 hour before taking them out of the water and hanging them over your shower curtain pole, or leaving them flat on a towel to dry.
  4. Never tumble dry your bras as this will lead to them losing their shape.
  5. If you want to use your washing machine to wash your bras, use a delicate cycle setting and a laundry bag.
  6. Additionally, make sure you don’t wash your bras with any rough or heavy materials as this will break down the fibres of your bra and lead to their deterioration.

I hope this information has helped, at the end of the day it is better to spend the time caring for your underwear so it lasts longer as well as doing your bit for the planet!

Every little helps!