If you care about your fancy bras and underwear at all, you should be hand-washing them — or so the story goes. In reality, who has the time? I am a professional costume designer (shameless plug), paid to know how to take care of clothes — but even I toss my bras and underwear directly into the washing machine. While it’s not ideal, it’s also not as bad as you think — because I do take the time to pack them in a nifty zip-top, mesh lingerie bag first. I always knew those mesh washing bags (called “lingerie bags” because they’re used to launder sexy undergarments) were a good idea, but never used them religiously until there was an episode with a pair of tights and my washing machine that was so bad, scissors and a repairman had to get involved.
After that experience, I now put everything that might need protection from an aggressive washing machine into the bags: tights, bras, underwear, stockings, leggings, slips, and swimsuits — basically anything delicate, prone to snagging, or silky. Even inexpensive polyester dresses from chain stores, linen pieces, and vintage items that may have fragile seams will benefit from the protection a mesh wash bag gives. They are also a good way to make sure your socks don’t get lost in the washer or dryer if you are a person who cares about wearing matching socks. I even put my dog leashes in one when they need a good wash, in order to keep them from clanging around in the wash and getting tied up in knots.
But not all mesh lingerie bags are created equal — I’ve owned a dozen different styles that stunk. They either ripped open in the middle of a wash cycle, had holes so large that bra straps could sneak out and hang themselves on other things I was washing them with, or featured zippers that either rusted (leaving brown spots on my fancy lingerie) or got bent out of shape and snagged the very items I was trying to protect. That’s why my new go-to set of lingerie wash bag is made of a super fine net material that allows soap and water in easily but keeps all items safely inside. They feature a plastic zipper that obviously won’t rust and even have a flap that covers the zipper to keep it from catching, unzipping, or clinking against the inside of the machine annoyingly. The biggest ones are perfect for expensive gym clothes that need a little TLC, and the smallest size fits one bra nicely. They will change your laundry life for the better, forever. Just try not to think of all the ruined items you could have salvaged over the years by simply investing eight bucks in a set of these.