Underwear, like all clothing, requires adequate care and laundering to keep it looking and feeling its best. Underwear might need the most tender loving care of all garments, given a) how much time you spend in it and b) how much time it spends cradling your most sensitive places. Given how much of an investment fine undergarments are, it makes no sense whatsoever to shorten their lifespan with inadequate care. Of course you know that your clothes need to be washed, but you might be unclear as to the specifics of keeping your unmentionables looking and feeling their best. Here are a few tips and guidelines:
1.) Wash them after every wear, but not immediately. Resist the urge to throw your dirty underthings in the wash at night after you take them off. Any elastic that has been stretched around you all day needs a day or so to tighten back up. Throwing your underthings into a wash while the elastic is stretched out might result in permanent stretching. Obviously, a stretched out pair of bikinis will not have the look and feel that you desire.
Caring for Your Underwear
2.) Heat is not your friend. Men have a tendency to throw everything in the dryer on the highest heat setting possible. While that is not the best idea for any of your clothes, it is especially bad for your underwear collection. Drying your underwear on the high heat setting can cause shrinkage, which will render your collection uncomfortable or impossible to wear. Furthermore, heat breaks down the elastic binding in the waistband and leg holes. Compromised elastic leaves your skivvies sagging and sagging definitely does not complement your best feature.
3.) Choose your detergent wisely. First and foremost, you want to ensure that the detergent you select is optimal for the machine you are using (high efficiency machines, for example, use less water and subsequently need special detergent to function without wrecking the machine). For your underwear, you are going to want to look for a gentle detergent that is free of harsh dyes, chemicals, or perfumes. Remember, these garments spend all day cradling your most sensitive parts, do not risk irritating them with harsh chemicals. Detergents that are free of unnecessary chemicals will also leave less residue and buildup behind - prolonging the life of your undergarments. (To eliminate build up, rinse your things in a vinegar and water solution periodically.)
4.) Be delicate with your delicates. For your average briefs and boxers, machine washing and drying will be fine, but for your most exciting pairs of underwear - especially the ones made with finer materials like silk and lace - you are going to have be a little more careful. Specifically, you are going to have to hand wash them. Hand washing is less scary than it sounds. To properly hand wash your underwear, fill a clean sink with water and a hand washing detergent, like Forever New, and let your finest pieces soak for awhile. Then, rinse them with warm water and allow them to dry flat.