May 2, 2014

Vintage Lingerie...Let's Do Some F'ing Laundry

Yep, that's how I feel, when it come's to laundry day...I am hoping I got a weeee bit of a smile out of ya though.


We get asked all the time..."How do you wash your lingerie?" I know these steps seem long, but we included some warnings, do's and don'ts along with them.

First off, these are not your typical granny quilted robes and terry cloth cover ups I'm talking about. This is for your fine, frilly, chiffon nylons, and silky rayons. Properly caring for silk, rayon and nylon vintage lingerie will help ensure long life wear-ability and years of enjoyment to your collection for your most valuable pieces!

Because most "today's" modern washing machines have gentle cycles (mine has a lingerie cycle!), most nylon type gowns can be gently laundered in the machine. When in doubt, hand wash. When buying laundry detergent, remember to get the right kind for your machine as well, HE, etc., – don’t put front loader detergent in a top loader, and DEFINITELY not vice verse, always read your manual first.

What you will need:

  1. Any MILD laundry soap will do, Woolite, Dreft, Ivory Snow are a few good ones to choose from. I personally use Dreft, again, be sure to buy what is appropriate for your machine (HE, Top Loading, etc.) 
  2. Stain remover (I love Oxyclean in the spray bottle)
  3. Washing machine 

      1. Sort/separate the lights from the darks, never mix the two. Most of you can skip the following long paragraph, or if you are bored, by all means... 

       Ok, I know MOST of you folks know what "light's from dark's mean", but I do get the occasional poor fella, for unknown reasons, *wink wink* who obviously is a rookie at all this delicate business, will write me asking, "just how do you wash this stuff?" So, if that is you, your "lights" would be your whites, ivories, yellows, pale pinks, baby light blues, light lavender, mint light green, (get the picture yet? no?). Well, your "darks" would be reds, dark blues, dark greens (think forest green), blacks, dark purples, browns. Again WHEN IN DOUBT, and you are unsure whether to wash certain colors together, then don't. Better to be safe than sorry, unless of course you like tie dyed vintage lingerie, or that beautiful ivory Olga nightgown is a spotted pale pink. Yikes!

      2. Stain treat any areas you may have.

      Stain treat!? You mean I can't just throw all this in the washing machine? I say, sure you can! However *clears throat* WARNING, the following may cause a visual that may be disturbing to viewers *wink wink*. If you had a fun night in your vintage nighty, organic matter aka "protein stains", if not dealt with in reasonable time, does and can leave an unsightly yellowy icky mark. Ok, are you confused at this point and not sure what the heck I am talking about? Let me break it down for you then, think... Bill Clinton...Blue Dress... Monica Lewinsky. You cannot EVEN imagine the amount of vintage lingerie I have come across that has had these slightly disturbing stains. Yes, my job is hazardous I would say.
      Ok, getting back to that *stain*. Wet the area first with water, apply a commercial stain remover (I love Oxyclean in the spray bottle), be sure to saturate through to the other side of the material then rub the stain gently with your fingers to get the stain remover in the fibers. IF the stain is still visible after the wash cycle, you will need to retreat the area while it's wet, and NEVER dry in the dryer as the dryer will set in the stain.

      NO-NO'S on stain treatment:  Never use bar soap to rub on the stain, it will actually set in the stain, and never ever use bleach, unless you want polka dotted lingerie. Never rub the stain with anything but your fingers, never use a cloth to rub the stain, you can rub off the color from the cloth you are using onto your garment.
      YIKES! TANGLED UP... Always use a net laundry back for your tights!

      3. Lightly pile in your load of lingerie in the drum of the washer, using a gentle detergent such as Dreft, Woolite or Ivory Snow.

      Always use the MOST GENTLE CYCLE (I am lucky enough to have a hand wash/lingerie option) on my washing machine. If you do not have one, then wash on any the most gentlest washing cycle you have (refer to your owners manual), or wash by hand (follow the directions below for rayons/silks).

      As for drying these chiffon nylon lingerie pieces, the absolute BEST method is to air dry these on your laundry line. If that isn't feasible, I simply fluff in the dryer for about 20 minutes on the air dry setting (not hear), if you have a no heat setting, then choose the lowest heat, and only fluff in the dryer for about 10 minuets, then hang up on hangers to air dry (I hang to dry on the eaves of my doors in the house). Typically chiffon lingerie only takes a FEW MINUTES to dry, so do not over dry these, as you will shrink the chiffon.

      Quick Tips To Remember (basic knowledge or common sense when it comes to lingerie)

      • Washing by hand is always best. (I launder everything in the machine, except for rayon satin nightgowns and silks)
      • Store your vintage lingerie/nylons and other small delicates/intimates in acid free WHITE tissue paper (NEVER use plastic for storing or covering your delicates and intimates).
      • Stuff bullet (pointy) bras with acid free WHITE tissue paper to reserve their shape.
      • NEVER EVER use bleach.
      • Never wring. Lay clean thick white towels on a flat surface and place the delicates atop and the excess water will just go into the towel.
      • NEVER place nylon stockings, tights, nylons,or ANYTHING silk in the dryer. Let them air dry.
      • Always use plastic hangers, NEVER metal, they will rust on intimates.
      • Avoid direct sunlight, will definitely bleach out your darker colors, and weaken the delicate fabrics.
      • WARNING! Never EVER iron nylon or chiffon. To remove wrinkles, simple mist with water, shake out and fluff up in your dryer on LOWEST SETTING for 5 minutes, OR a clothing steamer works well. 

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