BraIf you bought (or received) some new lingerie for Valentine’s Day, you want to keep it looking its best. Just because it isn’t Valentine’s Day anymore, doesn’t mean that you don’t care about it. The same goes for the rest of your lingerie. However, caring for your bras, underwear, slips and other pieces involves a bit more work than washing your regular clothes. There is a reason why your lingerie is often called your delicates. If you just throw everything in the washer and dryer, you can do serious damage to your lingerie.

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The president of Hanro USA Jan Snodgrass says that the number one mistake people make with their lingerie is not following the care instructions for each individual garment. We need to be reading every care content tag, people. Another big mistake is assuming that the care of one garment is similar to the others. Just because you wash one slip a certain way, does not mean it is okay for the rest of them in your collection.

It doesn’t matter whether you are caring for bras, underwear or a fancy set, the first thing to do is read the tag. Jan explains that for Hanro products, they recommend specific care instructions based on the fabrication of the garments. Most pieces can be machine washed in a cooler temperature with a lingerie bag to protect the fabric.

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Lingerie bags are great because they help protect your delicates, but hand-washing is the best option in certain cases. Jan states that hand-washing bras and lingerie with underwires is safest because the wire will not get damaged in the machine. Also pay extra attention to tulle or microfiber garments because they tend to be more delicate and are usually mean tot be hand-washed. The rest of your pieces without underwires should be safe in the wash provided you follow the instructions.

As for your soap, there are many soaps designed specifically for lingerie and intimates. A lot of regular detergents can work for washing your delicates, as long as you check the instructions. Jan notes that Hanro products are created to be used with regular detergents. The one thing that you should stay away from for most garments is the use of bleach. It is too strong for the majority of the delicate fabrics you have in your lingerie drawer.

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When it comes to drying, throwing your lingerie in the dryer is another big mistake, according to Jan. When you put certain items in the dryer, they will not come out looking like how they did going in. Jan explains that air drying is always better because the heat from the machine wears down the fabric. If you want to wear something but it is still damp, it is much better to choose something else and allow the garment to air dry.

If you have washed and dried your lingerie properly, you should also ensure that you are storing everything correctly. Jan says lingerie can be stored in lined drawers or in breathable bags. One definite no-no is folding your bras with underwires. They should always be stored upright to help maintain their shape.

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Yes, it is extra effort to care for each piece of lingerie according to its specific instructions, but it is worth it in the end. Do you really want to save a bit of extra effort and wind up ruining something? You paid good money for your lingerie so you will want to keep it looking its best for as long as possible.

(Photo: iStock)