Use lingerie bags for washing delicates AND sweaters

May 24 2013 | Guest post by Jane
Lingerie wash bags are a thing! Who knew?
Lingerie wash bags are a thing! Who knew?

As part of my attempts at looking like a grown up, I've been updating my wardrobe from wearing sweatshirts to wearing sweaters. This was great until I realized two things:

  1. That washing sweaters in the washing machine can, at worst, destroy them. Or at best, increase their rate of wear and tear.
  2. I hate washing things by hand. In addition to sweaters, I think that other delicate clothing/unmentionables last longer if you wash them by hand.

My first victory was moving somewhere with a washing machine that has a delicate cycle. But I was still doing multiple loads of delicate laundry since bra hooks and knit sweaters do not mix! The next victory was what I like to call a "baskets moment" or in my case, a "bags moment." For people who apparently live under rocks like I do…

Lingerie bags! They exist! Instead of doing multiple loads of laundry, I separate incompatible articles of clothing and bras into different bags. In my opinion, the best bags are the ones made of the smoothest material and have a lip of fabric over the zipper. That way the zipper on the bag can't rub against anything else in the load. After the washer does its job, you can lay the bags over your normal drying rack to support the sweaters as they dry.

No more stretched out twisted bra straps, no more ruined sweaters, no more giant pile of hand-washing I will never do, and fewer loads of laundry!

  1. I use the same method for socks! All my daughter's socks (which are tiny because she's two) go in one bag and my husband's fancy work socks go in another so it's easier to pair/find them after they're dry.

    4 agree
      • My boss parents (I'm a nanny) do this with the kids' socks, and they do put them in the dryer in the bag.

        I do my reusable pads in the lingerie bags– soak, wash, and dry all together. It's great!

    • I put the baby's socks in a bag too! The first few loads with baby stuff I was afraid of losing a sock (shared laundry, and socks/small things tend to get stuck in the doors for some reason) because they are so itty bitty. Now I throw in my nursing pads too! Sometimes they don't get all the way dry though, but I'll just hang the bag up.

      Also, I've totally started using "basket moment" when I've thought of some awesome life hack.

  2. Ooh, and bras and tights (pantyhose??)! That is a serious baskets moment ­čśÇ

    2 agree
  3. Yesssss! All hail the awesome bags! I've been using them for a year now and it's AWESOME. Beware the cheap knock-offs, though. They're not even kindof the same thing. Though I think Target's knock off is pretty comparable, but Wal-Mart's is laughable.

    1 agrees
    • Yeah, I agree. The zipper on the outside of the bags can rub against other things in the load that are not in bags!

      1 agrees
  4. Brilliant! I really need to get into using bags. With bras, I've found that remembering to hook them before they go into the wash makes a huge difference–the hooks don't get all weirdly stretched and pokey the way they do when they're unhooked and gradually suffer from repeated sweater-hooking in the laundry. Aside from a few items that I hand wash (items that say "hand wash only" or "dry clean only" at least get hand washed the first few times…I don't believe in dry cleaning), just about everything gets washed on regular cycle, either warm or hot (depending on colour).

    3 agree
    • This is a good habit to be in if you do start using laundry bags for your bras. The hooks will otherwise get caught in the mesh.

      1 agrees
  5. I've been using laundry bags for years for my bras. Additionally I line dry them because it makes the elastic last longer.

    1 agrees
  6. My mom had some of these bags, and they were draw-string, so no zipper problems whatsoever! (Hmm, one could probably make these pretty easily out of a nice smooth mesh fabric… I might need to look around my local fabric store…)

    2 agree
  7. I'm not organised enough to own lingerie bags but I do put my bras in a pillow case before they go in the machine. Bonus, the pillow case gets washed too!

    2 agree
      • I don't know if it does whatever else the lingerie bags are supposed to do, but it stops them getting caught in things and stretched. I started doing it after the machine yanked the underwire out of one and mashed it.

  8. I got my lingerie laundry bags on freecycle and keep them in my bra drawer. I find it's easiest to put the old bra in the bag before it goes in the laundry basket. My partner's socks and mine are so, so different (I'm a size 6, he's a 14!), but if we ever have kids I'm going to do the socks in laundry bags thing, too.

    (I also use the laundry bag when I'm prewashing fabric for sewing with raw edges).

    1 agrees
    • And that's ANOTHER use for them! I will now use them for washing new fabric, too. I don't sew that often, but that will be a big help when I do. Thanks!

      I also should add that I use them for hats, too. I wear a hat when I exercise in the sun, and the bag prevents the velcro from sticking to everything else!

      1 agrees
      • Thats great! I've been working a lot with bamboo rayon jersey lately, so I haven't had a lot of problems with raw edges, but I will keep this in mind for other fabrics.

        Jane's idea is fantastic. Velcro ruins everything. Velcro + lacy things = extreme sadness.

        3 agree
  9. Another use: Traveling! Put your bras/undies/socks in one bag (or 2-3 separate) and you always know where they are (and so lightweight)! And if you have to do a load of laundry in a horrendously rough washing machine, just use your laundry bag, which you already have with you!

    At home I have 3 small bags and one massive drawstring one that a coat can fit in. I put anything that I don't want extra piling/wear/snags/stretching on (dresses, wool tops/sweaters, delicates, my 3 yr old daughter's sweaters, etc), and everything else goes in the front loader as normal. It really reduces wear on the surface of the clothes! (tip: the drawstring bag's only downside is the drawstring getting wound around the cloths in the wash!)

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