Lingerie Hygiene: How to Take Care of Your Lingerie the Right Way may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page.

There’s something extra special about buying a new bra or a sexy pair of panties.

Once you start wearing them though, they lose that new feel and start to look a bit worn. Maybe it’s blood stains from your period. Maybe it’s natural vaginal discharge. Maybe your bra just looks worse for wear.

Whatever the case may be, there are easy lingerie hygiene tips you can use to keep your underwear fresh and clean for as long as possible.

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How often should I wash underwear?

According to Philip Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology, bacteria, including E. Coli, collects in your underwear. Even washed underwear can still have feces on them.

Now, this might freak you out, but the truth is, this is normal, and as long as you wash your underwear regularly, it’s not a problem. But how often should you be washing your panties?

You should only wear each pair once, and wash them after that. This doesn’t mean you have to wash each pair every day – who’s got time for that?

How to wash underwear

There are a couple options for washing your underwear. To kill the organisms hanging out in your panties, you can wash them in a hot water cycle with a detergent containing bleach.

If this is too harsh for your underwear, consider a cold or warm cycle, using gentle detergents that contain peroxide.

And to keep your panties protected in the washer, consider putting them in a lingerie bag. Of course, it’s always smart to check the cleaning instructions on your panties before throwing them in the washer.

For delicate pieces, soaking them in cold water with an appropriate detergent, like Laundress, is usually all you need to do. Then, give them a gentle rinse, ring them out, and let them air dry by laying them flat, or hanging them.

How to clean blood and vaginal discharge from underwear

Our cycles are normal, and so is the vaginal discharge or menses we experience throughout the month.

But why let this ruin your favorite pair of panties? You can have your cycle and fresh panties, too. You just have to understand some key points about vaginal discharge and menses to keep them from destroying your sexy briefs.

First things first. Vaginal discharge is a mix of amino acids and proteins. Your acid levels will fluctuate, depending on your vagina and where you are in your cycle, but sometimes, these acids interact with fabric color, leaving you with a discolored pantie.

Sexy? Not really. But here’s what you can do about it.

Before you toss your panties into the sink or washer, spend a couple extra minutes taking care of menses stains or vaginal discharge.

Cold Water Rinse

As soon as you take them off, give them a quick, cold water rinse. The same goes for blood stains.

Avoid using hot water because that will actually set the stain and make it next-to-impossible to remove.

Remove stains

Before washing stained panties in the machine (or sink), you can break down the proteins in the vaginal discharge with several different applications.

Here are four suggestions:

  • Fresh lemon: For light-colored fabrics, you can apply lemon juice directly to the stain about 30 minutes before washing it. Avoid using lemon juice on darker materials though. It will discolor the fabric and make your panty problem worse, not better.
  • Kitchen salt: Sprinkling salt on your underwear might not seem quite right, but it can help to lighten stains from vaginal discharge before you wash them.
  • OxiClean: You’ll sometimes see products like OxiClean referred to as “enzymatic sprays”. In short, you just want to use something that can break down proteins in both blood or vaginal discharge. Be sure to rinse out this product before you wash them in the machine.
  • Baking soda paste: If you want to keep chemicals away from your lady parts, you can make a paste using baking soda and water. Combine the two until you have a thick paste. Apply it directly to the stain and let it sit for either a couple hours or overnight before rinsing and washing.

When should you buy new lingerie and swap out old?

As long as you treat stains as soon as possible, and clean your underwear after each use, you can keep your panties as long as you see fit.

Of course, if they start to stretch, thin or get holes in them, toss them – there’s nothing that makes you feel less sexy than a raggy pair of undies!

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Lingerie hygiene tips for your bras

How often should you wash your bra?

It all depends on how often you use it. For example, if you rotate between many bras, you may only need to wash it once per month. However, if you rotate between two or three bras, you should probably wash it once every two weeks.

During warmer months, when you sweat more often, you may choose to launder your bra more frequently.

Do you have to hand wash your bra?

It may seem like a lot of (unnecessary) work, but it may be best to wash your bra in the sink, rather than in a washing machine – especially if they have an underwire.

The temperatures in the washing machine can actually alter the shape of the wire, which leaves you with an uncomfortable and potentially harmful bra.

To hand wash bras, simply fill your sink with warm water and a delicate detergent. Place your bra in the soapy water, and let it sit for up to an hour.

Then, rinse with cold water and leave it to dry by laying it flat on a rack. If that’s not possible, you can also hang them in your shower to air dry.

When should I buy a new bra?

Again, this depends on how often you wear each bra. If you tend to wear the same bra over and over again, you’re probably going to need to replace it sooner than later.

And the truth is, most of wear our bras for far too long! So, lucky you! You may need to stock up on some new, sexy bras soon.

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