Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine?

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
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I bought an underwear last week, and clearly written on the tag was:

“Wash cold

Do not Iron

No machine wash”

If there is any lesson we have in the 21st civilized century, it is: always follow manufacturers instructions.

You can wash your underwear in a washing machine. Newer washers come with delicate settings that are gentle on your privy wears and uses less heat. This reduces damage that can be done to fragile fabrics often used in the production of underwear. 

However, manufacturers of undergarments often advise against using washing machine to launder underwear.

And for obvious reasons:

Many underwear are made from delicate materials like silk and lace and cannot tolerate the hot temperature in washing machines.

Is It Safe to Wash Underwear In Washing Machine

If your underwear is made from cotton, then you can wash it in a washing machine, like you would your singlets and other light cotton fabrics.

But the fashion and advertisement world are pushing fancy, transparent, and lace fabrics underwear to buyers. In that case underpants made from silk and linen.

So whether you should laundry your underwear depends on what fabrics it is made with.

Silk

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Silk fabric

Silk fabrics is soft, breathable, and good for underwear. Garments made from this fabrics are qualitative and slightly expensive. 

However, it is not heat tolerant. If your underwear is made of this fabrics, then you should not wash it with washing machines. Else you will weaken the materials and shorten its lifespan.

Also the tumbling and rubbing of garments against each during the washing process can degrade and damage silk fabric.

The best method of washing this kind of underpant is by hand-wash. And unlike washing machine that simply tumble and scrub the whole material, hand-wash can focus on areas of the garment that takes more stain and are likely to decolor without wearing out the whole garment.

Cotton

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Cotton Fabric

Cotton fabrics are affected prolonged exposure to hot water. But unlike silk, it has more tolerance to heat. You can occasional wash your cotton underwear in the washing machine with temperature 30 – 40 degree Celsius.

As mentioned it is always better to wash your undies with hands. But occasional there might be a need to wash with a washer. In that case, go for lower temperatures. Cotton shrinks in hot temperatures. So the lower your washing temperature, the better.

Remember many washers are programmed to do hot wash at 60 degrees Celsius and above. Know this will help you to manually lower your washer temperature if you decide to wash your privy wears in a washing machine.

Linen

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Linen fabric

If you live in hot climate, linen might be your go-to fabrics for linen. For one thing, water in it evaporates quickly. For this reason, some prefer buying underwear made from linen. 

How does linen underwear fare in washing machines? As with silk, the biggest threat to linen in washing machine is temperature. 

Linen is better able to withstand the stress of washing in a washer, however, is it best washed by hand. If you must wash it in a washing machine:

  • Ensure the water is warm (30 – 40 degrees Celsius) or cold.
  • Reduce the overall wash time.
  • Wash your undies unclosed in a washing net. This should protect your fabrics from the stress of direct scrubbing.

Hemp

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Hemp Fabric

Hemp is durable. While they are not the most common fabrics for underwear, they are a nice option.

And when it comes to the stress of a washing machine, hemp underwear are a good pick.

If you have underwear made from hemp, you can freely wash them in a washing machine. Of course, the catch is: use warm or cold settings.

Wool

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Wool fabric

If your washer has “wool” wash settings, then you can definitely wash your wool (merino wool) underwear in the washing machine.

Wool fabrics are generally heat resistant. So while it is preferred to wash underwear in cold to warm water, you can still wash your wool underwear in a washing machine even if the temperature is hot.

Factors To Consider Before Washing Underwear In A Washing Machine

There are different factors to consider before deciding to wash your undergarment in a washing machine.

  • Type of fabrics
  • Water temperature
  • Age of washing machine
  • Wash duration

Type Of Fabrics

As we will see later in this article, the type of fabric your underwear is made from will decide whether you should wash in with your washer, to opt for hand wash.

As a general rule, fragile fabrics are better washed manually. For other stronger fabrics like cotton, you can wash it with the right temperature and washer setting without damaging the fabrics.

Water Temperature

One of the main reasons why manufacturers discourage using washing machine for their products is due to water temperature often used in washing machines.

Generally speaking, hot water shrinks most fabrics to some extent. Prolonged usage of hot water results in discoloration and gradual damage to fabrics.

Temperatures ranging from 60 degree and higher can damage your underwear faster. So if you decide to wash with a machine, cold water wash is your safest bet.

Age of Washing Machine

Many newer machines are built to reduce damages done to clothes by older machines. As such, they have have built-in settings for delicate garments. 

Many washers even  have fabric specific wash settings. Using these settings can greatly improve the wash quality and reduce damage done to your undies.

Agitator washers are not so friendly with light fabrics. If your lingerie are delicate and lacey, you risk tears and pulling of fabric threads by agitator action.

If your washer is old with less delicate settings, you should wash your lingerie with hands instead of risking damage 

Wash Duration

Time in itself, is not a problem. But other factors mentioned above can improve or worsen when applied for short or longer period of time.

So if you must use a washer to wash your cotton and hemp lingerie, for example, you should resort to shorter time periods. Application of a tolerable amount of hot water can harm your fabrics when washed for too long. 

If your washer has delicate settings, chances are, they are auto-set to wash for short duration. If you use older models, you can opt to simple wash for shorter time frames, like 15 minutes for example.

Should You Wash Your Underwear In A Washing Machine

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Lingerie

On the one hand, newer machines are incorporating delicate wash settings that can be used to wash your underwear.

On the other hand, underwear makers are discouraging using washing machine to wash their products. Who you should listen to depends on the type of fabrics, and your washing machine settings.

To be on the safer side, you should use hand wash to wash your underwear as much as possible. With hand wash you can focus on the undersides of your privy wears, while applying less tension on the garment as a whole.

How To Protect Your Underwear When Using A Washer

Can I Wash Underwear In a Washing Machine
Mixed garment

Using machine to wash your lingerie is something each individual will decide. If you choose to lean on machine wash, the following suggestions will help to reduce or eliminate damages:

  • Use laundry bags
  • Use delicate wash
  • Wash with cold or warm water
  • Use shorter wash time
  • Use right amount of detergent. (Excess application can damage your fabrics)

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