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The Right Way to Wash Handmade Lingerie (+A Free DIY Wash Bag Pattern)

One of the things I love most about sewing lingerie is all of the beautiful and delicate fabrics I have the opportunity to work with. But, pretty laces and delicate knits can pose a challenge come laundry day. 

With a few smart washing tips, you can get the most out of your handmade lingerie.

Photos via Ohhh Lulu

As a bonus, I’m included a free lingerie wash and travel bag pattern and tutorial! This wash bag is a perfect scrap buster that allows you to combine pretty cotton prints with athletic mesh, or other open weave fabrics.

How to care for delicate lace lingerie

Cotton undies can get thrown into the washer and dryer without much thought, but lingerie with lace, mesh or delicate elastic experience the longest life when hand washed.

Although hand washing sounds like an onerous task, it’s really something that can be done in just a few minutes in your bathroom sink or a clean basin!

How to wash lingerie by hand

how to wash lace lingerie underwear
  1. Mix warm water with a small amount of gentle detergent and set a clean cotton cloth near your work station
  2. Submerge your delicates into the water and gently agitate them by moving them back and forth with your hand or gently scrunching the garments up in your fist.
  3. Inspect the garments for any marks, and carefully rub the area with cloth to remove any dirt or debris. The water and detergent will do most of the work for you; there’s no need to wring or heavily scrub.
  4. After a few minutes of agitating the garment with your hands, empty out the soapy water. Rinse the garments under the tap until the water runs clear and no soapy residue remains.
  5. Carefully squeeze out as much water as you can, without twisting or wringing.
  6. Use a cloth or towel to gently pat the garment to remove any excess water. Once most of the water has been removed, hang your dainties up to dry. Avoid using the dryer at all costs. Prolonged heat causes wear to elastics and delicate fabrics like lace.
how to clean lingerie

Washing lingerie in a mesh bag

Although hand washing isn’t nearly as laborious as it’s cracked up to be, if you’re anything like me, sometimes you need a quick clean. This is where lingerie wash bags come in handy! Bras, lace panties, and other delicates can be thrown into a wash bag and put right into the washing machine!

When washing lingerie in the machine, even when in a lingerie bag, avoid mixing delicates with heavier items like jeans or garments that might have zippers or velcro. I like to toss my lingerie wash bags in with softer items, like towels, and clean on a gentle cycle. Remember to still hang your pretties to dry.

Make your own lingerie wash bag

Of course, you can easily buy lingerie wash bags online, but if you’re making your own under garments, you might as well make your own laundry bag, too!

how to make a lingerie wash bag

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1: Cut out the pattern

Cut the Cotton Upper Front Top, Bottom and Back pieces out of cotton fabric and the Lower Mesh Bag pattern piece out of athletic mesh.

Step 2: Attach the zipper

sew a zippered lingerie bag

Using your zipper foot, attach the zipper to the lower edge of the Cotton Upper Front Top with the right side of the zipper facing the right side of the fabric.

how to attach a zipper

Turn the seam allowance under and topstitch in place.

make a zippered pouch

In the same manner, stitch the zipper to the Cotton Upper Front Bottom piece.

Finish by topstitching the seam allowance in place.

Before moving onto the next step, place the Cotton Upper Back overtop of your completed Upper Cotton Front and make sure they are the same size. If needed, trim back either piece so that they are the same size.

Step 3: Assemble the bag

sew a delicates wash bag

Pin the Upper Cotton Front to one half of the Mesh Bag. Stitch together with a straight stitch and finish your seam allowance with a zigzag stitch or serger. Press the seam allowance up, toward the top of the bag, and use a straight stitch to topstitch in place.

On the opposite end, pin the Cotton Upper Back to the Mesh Bag and stitch in the same way as you did the front.

Fold the bag in half and pin around the perimeter of the bag. Use a straight stitch to stitch around the outside of the bag, excluding the folded bottom portion. Finish the edges with a serger or zigzag stitch.

Turn right-side out. Use a blunt pair of scissors or other pointed object to pop the corners out.

lingerie wash bag tutorial

Fill, zip up, wash and enjoy!

how to wash lingerie

Now you can fill your lingerie wash bag with your delicates and throw them in the wash! Make a couple so you can pre-sort your lights and darks. 

One Comment


The laundry bag method in the machine is my favorite, due to laziness on my part, and it feels cleaner. I’ve never ruined anything using that method. A zipper scares me, so my bag has a gathering cord on one end. I double tie that because if I don’t, it will untie itself in the wash cycle. I only use the gentle cycle on it. Thanks for the pattern and article.


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