hand wash underwear
LAUNDRY

How to hand wash underwear and socks

Hand washing underwear, bras and socks is easy when you follow this simple four-step process.    

Delicate underwear, bras and hosiery benefit from hand washing. It can seem a daunting task but with a step-by-step guide on how to hand wash underwear you’ll feel confident to clean your intimate garments by hand. Learn how to dry hand washed underwear and how to care for these delicate items to help them last longer with an extra step in the process. 

4 steps to hand wash underwear, bras and socks

Whether you’re interested in learning how to hand wash underwear and socks or how to hand wash bras properly, there are certain steps you’ll take regardless of the specific garment. Here’s the basic four-step process when it comes to hand washing underwear, bras and socks:

  1. Read the care label – This will tell you whether the garment needs to be washed by hand, or if it needs to be dry cleaned only, or if it can go in a washing machine.
  2. Prepare your water – You will need a large container, which could be a big bucket, a plastic tub or a sink basin. Fill this with water at the temperature recommended on the garment’s label. Go with lukewarm water if no guidance is given. Mix in approximately one teaspoon of detergent. Follow the instructions on the bottle and take safety precautions, testing on a small area first when using a new product.
  3. Soak – The key part of hand washing is submerging and soaking the garment for long enough. Swish the clothing around in the soapy water and leave submerged for at least 15 minutes – tough stains might require a 30-minute soak.
  4. Rinse – Remove all of the detergent from the garments by re-filling your container with clean, cool water. Lift and submerge the underwear several times until all of the soapy residue has gone. You might need to repeat this process, re-filling with fresh water again.

The important extra step to take when hand washing underwear, bras and socks

By hand washing bras, socks and underwear in this way, you’re already taking good care of them. However, there’s an additional step to add to the basic process that will really help them last – and that’s fabric conditioner. A quality fabric softener like Comfort will reduce friction on clothing fibres while they’re being cleaned. That means they will suffer less wear and tear during washing. Here’s how to hand wash underwear using fabric conditioner:

  • After you’ve rinsed the garments, transfer them to a basket (to avoid pouring any softener directly onto fabrics)
  • Re-fill your container with clean water again and mix in fabric conditioner
  • Soak the underwear for up to 30 minutes
  • Re-fill the tub, basin or bucket with fresh water and rinse the garments thoroughly

Drying after hand washing underwear

Not only will you want to learn how to wash underwear by hand properly, you’ll also want to know how to dry it appropriately too. Follow these steps to complete the washing and drying process:

  • Don’t twist or squeeze while washing, rinsing, or drying, as this can cause damage
  • To dry delicates, lay them on a dry, lint-free towel and roll them up inside, gently pressing to absorb more of the water
  • Reshape and lay flat on another clean, dry towel for the garments to air dry, occasionally flipping over

Hand washing bras

There are particular considerations when hand washing bras compared to hand washing underwear or socks. Learning how to hand wash bras properly is straightforward once you’ve taken on board these tips.

  • Pat dry with a lint-free towel after rinsing
  • Gently reshape the bra, paying particular attention to the band and the cups
  • Allow it to dry naturally by its straps, preferably in fresh air – you can use a fan to help speed up the process in humid environments

Now that you’ve learned how to wash underwear and socks and bras by hand you’ll be able to prolong the life of these delicates and take extra good care of them. Happy hand washing!  

Top Tip


Go the extra mile when hand washing underwear by adding a quality fabric conditioner like Comfort to your hand wash routine. It will help reduce the wear and tear that clothing fibres suffer during washing and will make your garments last longer.    

Key Steps


You’ll know how to hand wash underwear when you follow these simple steps:

  • Add detergent to a tub of water at the correct temperature
  • Soak your delicates
  • Rinse the garments in fresh water
  • Soak in water mixed with fabric conditioner
  • Rinse again
  • Gently pat dry in a clean towel before reshaping and leaving to air dry.