What Temperature Do You Wash Underwear At?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about the ideal temperature to wash your underwear, you’re not alone. 

Underwear comes in various materials like silk, lace, and cotton, which means the temperature you use to wash them can depend on factors such as fabric type. 

In this article, we’ll go into the technicalities of washing your undergarments and learn about the best temperatures for different materials. Plus, we’ll also share some tips to extend the lifespan of your underwear!

The Best Temperature To Use For Washing Underwear

Before we go into the basics of washing temperatures, let’s understand why underwear needs special attention. 

Undergarments, from boxers to bras, tend to harbour more bacteria and fungi than your average T-shirt or jeans. Why? Because they come into contact with body fluids and waste like sweat, urine, and even bacteria from infections or illnesses in the genital area. 

This is the reason why it’s crucial to choose the right temperature when laundering your undies. After all, using extremely hot temps may ruin your fabrics, and cold washes may be useless in giving your garments a thorough clean. 

Washing Underwear At High Temperatures (60°C to 90°C)

To kill bacteria and fungi, it’s generally recommended to wash your underwear at higher temperatures, usually around 60°C to 90°C. These hot water temperatures are like kryptonite for germs, effectively eliminating them.

60 Degree Wash Cycle

Cotton fabrics are usually up for the heat, ensuring a thorough clean. However, silky and lacy garments might not appreciate the heat and could end up shrinking or getting ruined!

TIP: Wash your underwear separately to prevent cross-contamination, especially if they’re heavily soiled.

Washing Underwear At Low Temperatures (40°C)

Now, what if your underwear collection features some delicate silk or lace pieces? In that case, you should opt for a gentler approach with lower temperatures, around 40°C. 

40 Degree Wash Cycle

These fabrics can’t handle the heat and may end up looking more like modern art if subjected to high temperatures. Cold water also prevents colour transfer between different garments, which is a handy bonus. 

But remember, washing at lower temperatures might not be as effective at killing bacteria, so it’s not ideal for heavily soiled undies.

NOTE: Always double-check the care labels on your underwear. They contain valuable instructions on how to clean them without risking damage.

Choose The Appropriate Wash Setting Based On The Fabric

Understanding the fabric composition of your underwear is key to proper care. 

sports bra

Learn About Different Fabric Types

Most underwear is made of cotton, silk, lace, or a blend of synthetic materials. Knowing the differences is key to keeping them pristine.

  • Silk and Lace
    These are delicate materials, so opt for delicate settings when washing and drying.
  • Cotton and Synthetic Blends
    These can handle higher temperatures, typically ranging from 30°C to 60/90°C.

Different fabrics require different care, and the wash setting you choose makes all the difference. Here’s a quick and easy guide:

  • Cotton Underwear
    Wash with warm to hot water on a regular or cotton cycle.
  • Synthetic Blends
    Use a synthetic or delicate cycle with temperatures ranging from 30°C to 40°C.
  • Silk Underwear
    Handle with care by washing in cold water (around 20°C) using the delicate cycle.
  • Lace Underwear
    Because it’s as delicate as lace itself, stick with cold water and the delicate cycle.
  • Sports or Exercise Underwear
    Typically made from synthetic materials, they’re best washed at moderate temperatures (30°C – 40°C) using the synthetic cycle.

Best Tips For Washing Underwear

Now that you’ve got a grip on the right washing temperatures, let’s explore some additional tips to ensure your underwear’s longevity.

Check The Care Labels

Firstly, pay close attention to the care labels on your underwear. These labels contain valuable information on how to care for your garments properly. 

wash and dry similar colours together care label

From washing and drying instructions to ironing and storage tips, it’s all there. Following these guidelines should be a priority if you want your favourite undies to stay in tip-top shape!

Sort Your Underwear

When doing laundry, it’s wise to sort your underwear. Start by separating them by colour, ensuring that white underwear never mixes with coloured ones to prevent colour transfer. 

Next, group delicate items together, separating rougher fabrics into another load. Finally, sort by soil level, and always wash heavily soiled clothing separately to avoid contaminating your other garments with bacteria.

NOTE: Don’t forget to pre-treat any stained underwear before tossing them in the wash to ensure those pesky stains are removed effectively.

Use Mesh Laundry Bags

Protect your delicate underwear by using mesh laundry bags. These handy bags prevent snagging and damage in the wash, ensuring your lacey pieces stay intact. 

The same goes for embellished underwear, such as sequined or wired ones. Bras with underwire should always be placed in a mesh bag, preserving the wire and safeguarding your other garments and your washing machine.

TENRAI Delicates Laundry Bags, Bra Fine Mesh Wash Bag for Underwear, Lingerie, Bra, Pantyhose, Socks, Use YKK Zipper, Have Hanger Loops, (White, 3 Large, QS)
  • PROTECTS DELICATES - Tightly stitched, The Micro-mesh System with a rust-resistant zipper closure, Specially designed to protect your delicates in the washing machine and keep them safe from damage and extend the life of delicates.
  • LONG LASTING - Our strong wash bags are made from stain, stretch and tear resistant material -- 100% polyester. Therefore they are durable and they will protect your finest clothes for years

Avoid Underloading Or Overloading Your Machine

Finding the right balance is crucial when it comes to laundry. 

Avoid overloading or underloading your machine; this can lead to wear and tear on your undergarments. Aim for filling about half to three-quarters of the drum’s capacity for an efficient clean.

SEE ALSO: How Much Should You Fill A Washing Machine? (easy guide)

Use The Right Detergent

Selecting the right detergent is important, especially for washing underwear. 

Go for mild soaps that are gentle on your garments and your sensitive areas. Harsh detergents can upset the pH balance of your genitalia, potentially leading to various infections.

Woolite Laundry Detergent Liquid, 750ml, Pack of 4, For Delicates, Hand & Machine Wash, 48 Washes
  • Renews fibre softness and volume
  • Helps prevent fabric shape loss and fuzz

Air Or Line Dry Your Garments

Finally, one of the cheapest ways to prolong your underwear’s life while reducing energy consumption is air or line drying!

underwear on clothesline

However, make sure to check the care label on your undergarments; some may not be suitable for air drying. Hanging clothes in the breeze is not only eco-friendly but also gentle on your delicate fabrics.

Make Your Garments Last With Proper Care!

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the perfect washing temperature for your underwear and some top-notch tips to extend their lifespan, you can confidently tackle your laundry day. 

Your undies will thank you for the extra care, and you’ll enjoy fresher, longer-lasting undergarments. 

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask them below!

SEE ALSO: How To Kill Bacteria In A 30 Degree Wash (using antibacterial laundry sanitiser)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best setting to wash underwear?

The best setting to wash underwear depends on the fabric type. Cotton underwear can be washed with warm to hot water, while delicate materials like silk or lace should be washed with cold water and on a delicate cycle.

Is it better to wash underwear on hot or cold?

It depends on the fabric. Hot water (around 60°C to 90°C) is suitable for cotton to kill bacteria, while delicate fabrics like silk or lace should be washed in cold water (around 20°C) to prevent damage.

Is it OK to wash underwear every day?

Yes, it’s generally okay to wash underwear daily, especially if they come into contact with body fluids. Proper washing and care help maintain hygiene and prolong their lifespan.

Can I wear the same underwear for 2 days?

It’s recommended to change underwear daily for hygiene reasons. Wearing the same pair for multiple days may lead to the buildup of bacteria and odours.

What temperature kills bacteria in the washing machine?

Bacteria are effectively killed in the washing machine at higher temperatures, usually around 60°C to 90°C. Washing at these temperatures helps ensure thorough cleanliness, especially for cotton underwear.

How can I kill bacteria on a cold wash?

One of the best ways to kill bacteria on a cold wash is to add an antibacterial laundry sanitiser like: Persil Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser, Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser or BritishBasics Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser. These are known to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, and they’re very effective at low temperatures.

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