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  • Writer's pictureThe Underwear Review

Here's How Your Underwear Care Might Differ Based on Fabric Type

Proper fabric care will extend your garment’s lifespan.

Pair of underwear drying on a laundry line.

For most, if you had to pick the single most important factor that you need in your underwear, it’s comfort.

Regardless of the style you pull out of the drawer or the occasion for which you’re wearing them, you need a pair that’s pinch-free and not constantly drawing attention.

So, whichever fabric is your go-to choice for comfort when it comes to underwear, it’s important to be familiar with that fabric’s best care methods in order to preserve feel and lengthen lifespan.

And if you’ve invested in a few high-quality pairs of underwear, you’ll want to give a little extra attention and care to these garments than you might a pair from a bulk pack.

In general, if you want to know how to best care for your underwear, defer to your garment’s washing instructions.

However, we’ve outlined a few standard care tips for various underwear fabrics that you’ll find helpful, as well as washing and drying technique for luxury garments.

How to Wash and Dry Cotton Underwear

For many years, cotton was the primary fabric used for men’s underwear. And even though there is considerably more variety in fabric options available today, cotton remains a highly popular choice.

Cotton material is soft, lightweight, and breathable, which provides great ventilation along with a relaxed and comfortable fit for all-day wear.

Additionally, cotton underwear typically comes with a lower price tag than other fabric options.

Classic cotton fabric underwear.

When it comes to washing your cotton underwear, you’re going to want to machine wash with either cold or warm water in a gentle cycle.

Detergent is fine to use when washing cotton and, if necessary, you can use a non-chlorine bleach.

When drying your cotton underwear, you’re going to want to tumble dry using a low to warm heat setting.

Cotton is a slower drying fabric, so most opt for machine drying over air-drying.

However, be aware that cotton is prone to shrinking when exposed to high heat settings.

How to Wash and Dry Modal Underwear

Modal is an all-natural fabric that’s become a very popular choice for underwear recently.

It has an incredibly soft feel while remaining a durable, wear-resistant material.

Additionally, modal is more absorbent than cotton and will maintain a newer look for longer than most other fabrics.

Modal material is lightweight, finely knit, and known for feeling silky to the touch, making it comfortable for all day wear.

For this reason, modal is often used for cozy garments like sleepwear, loungewear, and baby clothes, as well as for delicate garments like lingerie.

When it comes to washing your modal underwear, you’re going to want to machine wash with cold water in a gentle cycle.

Mild detergent for washing.

Modal is a resilient fiber that will hold up to repeated washing with detergent.

However, be sure to avoid using bleach.

When drying your modal underwear, you’re going to want to tumble dry using a low heat setting.

If you’re opting to air dry, simply smooth and lay your garment flat.

Modal does not shrink or require any pulling back into shape.

Also, modal generally does not wrinkle or crease, so it’s best to avoid ironing.

How to Wash and Dry Nylon/Lycra Underwear

An increasingly popular fabric for underwear is the nylon and lycra (or spandex) blend.

This is the fabric blend that is commonly used in athletic wear, such as compression shorts and other activewear garments.

The reason for this is because the material has great breathability, moisture-wicking capabilities, and it minimizes the risk of abrasion.

It’s also worth noting that many find nylon and lycra blend underwear to be a very comfortable choice.

The lycra/spandex gives the garment its stretchiness, so it fits like a second-skin.

This blend is also soft and silky to the touch, making it great for long-term wear.

Not to mention, it’s also a very durable fabric that retains color and shape after many washes.

Washing machine with gentle cycle.

When it comes to washing your nylon and lycra blend underwear, you’re going to want to machine wash with cold water in a gentle cycle.

Use a mild detergent and wash with similar garments.

Additionally, do not soak the garment and avoid the use of bleach.

When drying your nylon and lycra blend underwear, you’re going to want to opt for air drying, as you should avoid machine drying.

Dry the garment in a shaded location to avoid harsh sunlight.

Also, avoid wringing the garment and do not use an iron.

How to Wash Luxury Underwear

For starters, when washing luxury underwear it’s always best to follow the care instructions that come with your garments.

These instructions will be specific to the exact material and design of the garment.

Failing to follow these instructions could lead to fabric damage or shrinking, as well as warping of the garment’s structure.

That being said, we’ll offer some general guidelines that may come in handy when washing a variety of luxury underwear options.

If you’ve invested in a quality pair of underwear (or several), it’s only natural that you’d want to take good care of your purchase and extend its lifespan.

Giving a little extra care to your garments can go a long way.

Full laundry basket.

For starters, the optimal washing technique for preserving and extending the lifespan of your underwear is hand washing.

It’s the gentlest washing method that places the least amount of stress and wear on the garment.

However, many people choose machine washing or hand washing for the simplicity and convenience it offers.

So, if you’re machine-washing your luxury underwear, the best practice is to choose a delicate cycle that uses cold water.

Warm and hot water can place unnecessary stress on the garment’s fibers that causes warping or fading.

It’s also important that you use a gentle detergent and avoid fabric softener and bleach.

However, these products are typically unnecessary with luxury underwear, as most utilize high-quality fabrics that do not require fabric softener or bleach.

Additionally, it’s best if you wash the underwear with similar garments. In other words, avoid washing with garments that have rougher fabric, zippers, or other detailing that could scuff the more delicate fabric of underwear.

How to Dry Luxury Underwear

Just as with washing your luxury underwear, when it comes to drying it’s always best to heed the care advice that is provided with your garment.

However, we’ll offer a drying technique here that applies broadly to most luxury underwear options.

When your garments have completed washing, it’s important to continue treating them with a delicate touch.

Dried and folded underwear.

Do not simply toss them in the drier and throw on your usual cycle.

For starters, the ideal drying method for underwear with higher-quality fabrics is air-drying.

So, with this in mind, it’s best to smooth and lay your garments out to dry immediately after washing.

For an extra step of caution, avoid any direct sunlight that could cause fabric damage after hours of exposure.

If you’re in a rush and air-drying is not an option, be sure to choose the gentlest setting available on your machine dryer with the lowest heat setting and runtime.

Interested in learning more? Discover the different underwear types that are available to men.


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