How to wash Underwear in Washing Machine?

Underwear (briefs) can be machine washed in gentle/delicate cycles and cold water settings. Just make sure to use a mild detergent. Alternatively, they can also be hand washed in cold water.

For added safety, you can use a mesh laundry bag and then place it into the washing machine.

For drying, you can either hang them to air dry naturally or use a clothes dryer.

If you are using a clothes dryer, put them in a laundry bag that can go in the dryer and use the delicate cycle and the lowest heat setting on the dryer.

Key Takeaways

  • It is safe to wash underwear in a washing machine, however, it’s recommended to read the care label before machine-washing them.
  • Always use mild detergent and cold water when washing underwear to prevent them from shrinking.
  • Use a delicate cycle or if your washer includes a special cycle for lingeries that should do the trick.
  • It is advisable to air dry underwear naturally and not expose them to direct sunlight for quick drying. Instead, use a shady place or if your clothesline is exposed to direct sun then simply place a cotton cloth over your underwear as they dry.
  • In order to disinfect the underwear you can make use of disinfectant during the wash cycle.

Underwear is usually made of delicate fabrics and is subject to more wear and tear than other clothing items.

This just means that they need to be washed with more care if you want them to last longer.

What are underwear briefs?

There are many different types of underwear, and they all serve the same purpose, which is to provide support and coverage for your intimate areas.

The most common types of underwear are briefs and boxer briefs.

In fact, briefs are a type of underwear that offers more coverage than other styles.

They typically have a high-waisted design and full coverage in the back.

Boxer briefs, on the other hand, are a style that combines both briefs and boxers.

They offer more coverage than briefs but less than boxers.

When we talk about materials, a variety of materials are used to make underwear briefs, including cotton, polyester, spandex, and nylon. 

Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right material for your needs and body type.

Here are some common materials used to manufacture underwear briefs and boxers.

Cotton briefs

Cotton briefs are breathable and absorbent and are often used in athletic underwear because they help keep you cool and dry.

However, cotton can shrink in the wash and isn’t as durable as some synthetic materials.

Polyester Briefs

Polyester is a synthetic material that is strong and durable and is often used in menswear because it doesn’t wrinkle or shrink.

However, polyester can be less breathable than cotton and can trap heat more easily.

Spandex Briefs

It is a synthetic material that stretches and holds its shape. It is often used in athletic underwear because it fits snugly and prevents chafing.

However, spandex can lose its shape over time and may not be as comfortable in hot weather.

Nylon Briefs

Briefs made using nylon (a type of synthetic material) are usually lightweight and dry quickly.

It’s often used in women’s wear because it provides a smooth fit under clothes.

However, nylon can be less breathable than cotton and may not be as comfortable in hot weather.

No matter what materials are used to make underwear, it is of utmost importance to wash them regularly after every use.

Most types of underwear can be washed using a washing machine. However, some types of underwear (such as those made with delicate lace or fabric) may need to be hand washed to prevent damage.

How does underwear get dirty?

Underwear or underpants can get dirty from a number of things, including sweat, oil, and dirt.

When these things mix together, they can create a breeding ground for bacteria.

If you wear the same underwear more than once without washing them, body fluids can stain the fabric.

How often should you wash underwear?

Ideally, you should wash your underwear once after every use.

With that said, not all underwear is made equal.

Some are made of delicate fabrics that can fade away over time with repeated washing, whereas some are good enough to be washed after every wear.

So, the washing frequency clearly depends on the fabric type and your usage.

As a general rule of thumb, washing your undergarments once after every use should be ideal.

What temperature to wash underwear?

The water temperature for washing underwear should be between 30 and 60 degrees Celsius.

If you’re using a washing machine, you can usually select the delicate/gentle/hand wash cycle and set the temperature to warm.

If you’re hand-washing your underwear, you can fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent.

With all that said, you should get a good idea of the ideal temperature by taking a look at the care label.

Should you wash underwear separately?

If your underwear is heavily soiled, then it makes a lot of sense to wash them separately from other clothes.

If you still want to wash them with other clothes, make sure to pre-treat and disinfect them before loading them into the washing machine. If possible, use a mesh laundry bag.

How to wash underwear in washing machine?

Steps to wash underwear in a washing machine

To wash your underwear in a washing machine, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sort your underwear for washing

Start by sorting your underwear by color and fabric type, as this will help you to avoid any accidental bleeding or damage to delicate fabrics.

You can wash underwear with other clothes, but be sure to wash similar colors together.

The unclean ones can be pre-treated, and the clean ones can be put in a different pile.

Note: Separating dirty underwear from the rest of your clothes will help to prevent any cross-contamination.

Step 2: Pre-Treat dirty underwear

  • Fill a sink or bowl with warm water and add a mild detergent to it.
  • Add a small amount of laundry disinfectant to the sink and let it mix well with the solution.
  • Now turn your underwear inside out and place it into the sink.
  • Let it submerge and settle for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Now remove and scrub the stained areas with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse them thoroughly and put them in for a wash.

For stained underwear

If your underwear looks a little dingy, you should spot-clean the stained areas with a laundry stain remover for delicates and then put them in for washing.

Use a stain remover or prewash spray on any stains and make sure to follow the directions on the bottle before using it.

Note: If your washing machine has a prewash cycle, use it. This will help loosen any dirt or stains on the clothing.

Step 3: Load the underwear into the washer

Start by placing your sorted pile and the pre-treated underwear together in the washing machine.

If you are washing a mixed load, you may also want to consider using a lingerie bag so that they don’t get tangled up with other items in the load.

Alternatively, you can even use a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase as a makeshift lingerie bag.

Step 4: Add mild detergent

Add the appropriate amount of detergent depending on the size of the laundry load.

Step 5: Choose the right cycle and temperature

Choose the appropriate cycle and the soil level depending on the type of fabric. However, for most underwear, a gentle cycle will suffice.

Set the water temperature to the recommended setting based on the fabric type. If you are confused, simply use cold water settings.

Next, hit the start button and let the washer complete the wash cycle on the setting selected by you.

Step 6: Drying process

Take your underwear out of the washing machine as soon as the cycle is done to keep them from getting wrinkled.

Next, hang or lay your underwear flat to dry, or tumble dry on low heat only if needed or the care label permits.

Note: Leaving them in wet conditions can lead to mold and mildew growth.

How to wash underwear by hand?

  • Fill a sink or a container with warm water and add a mild detergent to it.
  • Sort your underwear briefs or boxer briefs for washing and place them into the sink. Make sure they are turned inside out.
  • As you are washing your underwear by hand, simply agitate the underwear to create suds.
  • Let them soak for at least five minutes and then gently rub them against each other in the soapy water for a couple of minutes.
  • You may repeat this step after another 5 minutes.
  • Now rinse them thoroughly using clean water so that there are no soap residues left behind.
  • Discharge excess water and hang them up to dry, or pop them in the dryer on suitable heat settings depending on the care label.

How do you disinfect underwear?

In order to disinfect your underwear, you will need to wash them in hot water only if the care label suggests.

You can either wash them in your washing machine in the hottest setting or soak them in a sink or basin filled with hot water before washing them by hand (read the care label to get clarity on the ideal water temperature).

To evenly disinfect your underwear, simply soak them in water mixed with detergent and a disinfecting solution like a Dettol or Lysol additive. Then, put them through a final wash.

Garments not suitable for hot water washing should be treated with warm or cold water.

If you don’t have access to disinfectants, try using home remedies such as vinegar or lemon juice.

Do’s and Dont’s for machine washing underwear

When machine washing your underwear, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here are the quick Do’s and Don’ts while machine washing your briefs and boxers.


  • Separate dark and light colors.
  • Pre-Treat dirty and stained undergarments before washing.
  • Wash on any gentle cycle or cycle that is close to a delicate cycle.
  • Use cold or warm water settings.
  • Hang to dry or lay flat to dry.


  • Use lukewarm water instead of hot water.
  • Don’t use bleach. 
  • Avoid tumble drying your underwear on high heat settings.

Final Thoughts

Underwear needs special treatment because they are usually made of delicate fabrics.

Washing your underwear properly will help them last longer and stay in good condition.

You may extend the life of your underwear by washing it by hand or by machine washing in delicate settings.

No matter which way you choose to treat your underwear, it is important to follow the care instructions on the label.

If you are unsure about the wash instructions, then simply use a mild detergent and cold water to hand wash them.

If possible, air dry your underwear instead of putting them in the dryer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to wash underwear in washing machine?

In most cases, underwear can be machine-washed. Therefore, it is considered safe to wash your undergarments in the washing machine. However, it’s highly recommended to go through the care label before deciding on the washing method.

What wash cycle do you use for underwear?

Washing your underwear on a delicate or gentle cycle with warm water settings should be ideal. The water temperature of about 40°C should be perfect to get the best results.

Can I use vinegar to wash my underwear?

Yes, vinegar is a great home remedy that can be used to clean your underwear. Simply add one cup of vinegar to a washing machine filled with water and let the cycle run as usual.

Can I put my underwear in the dryer?

Yes, but make sure to use low heat or they will shrink. For added safety, place the underwear in a dryer-suitable laundry bag or a cotton pillowcase.

Do I need to use a special detergent for my underwear?

Using a regular mild detergent should work fine for most types of underwear. If you are unsure about the fabric, then go for a mild detergent that is designed for delicate fabrics.

Can I iron my underwear?

Yes, you can iron your underwear to sterilize it. However, make sure to use low heat or they will shrink. Additionally, do not iron them in wet conditions. Underwear in damp conditions can be ironed by pacing a thin cotton cloth over them.

Can I bleach my underwear?

No, it is not recommended to bleach underwear as this will damage the fabric. For clothes that can be bleached, just use a small amount of non-chlorinated bleaching solution.

What is the best way to store my underwear?

Underwear can be stored as you store your regular outfits. It is best to store them separately in a drawer or a laundry basket.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)