By Adam Welsch
If you’re like most women, your wardrobe contains at least a few pieces of black lingerie. Black panties, bras, and pieces of shapewear are classic and sexy, and are great to wear under the most stylish of fashions, or your favorite sweater and pair of jeans. But like other darkly-colored clothes, black underwear is prone to fading when washed over time. Fortunately, there’s a variety of tricks you can use to help your panties, bras, and shapewear retain their original rich, black color as long as possible.
The task of keeping black underwear its blackest begins before you enter the laundry room. Make sure to buy garments from manufacturers with reputations for producing high-quality apparel. Their products, regardless of color, should be less likely to bleed when washed. Next, keep in mind that the choice of fabrics used in your bras, panties, and shapewear will affect the speed with which they’ll fade. Choose garments made from synthetic fibers, since cotton and other natural fibers, though cool and comfortable, won’t hold their colors as well. Also, try to wash your clothes only when necessary. The more you wash them, the faster they’ll fade. Though most of the time you’ll want to wash your undies after only one wearing (since they are undies), sometimes black lingerie will be worn for a relatively short amount of time and won’t have to go right into the wash.
The most tips for maintaining the deep, black color of your bras, panties, and shapewear relate to washing them. First, make sure to follow your mom’s advice and separate your blacks from your lightly-colored clothes. Fibers are routinely detached from clothes during washings, and lightly-colored fibers that find their way onto your black intimates can dull their appearances. Second, remember to turn all of your black unmentionables inside out before putting them in the washing machine. The friction generated when lingerie rubs against agitators and other clothes can loosen its dyes. Third, when washing your undies for the first time, pre-soak them for fifteen to thirty minutes in a solution of water, distilled white vinegar, and a little salt. The vinegar and salt will help lock in their black color. Try using a half gallon of water, a half cup of vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt. It may sound a little crazy but it works. Don’t worry, the odor won’t remain on your clothes after the wash, and vinegar is mild enough to not harm your fabrics. A half cup of vinegar can also be added to the wash cycle in each future washing to help your blacks (and all of your colors) remain bright.
Fourth, make sure to keep your laundry cabinet stocked with a detergent made especially for dark colors. Such detergents have both additives that neutralize the chlorine that’s often added to city water supplies and dye-transfer inhibitors that help keep dyes attached to fabrics. Fifth, wash your undies in the coolest water possible. If you’re not comfortable washing them entirely in cold water, try using at least one cold-water cycle. Not only do hotter temperatures encourage fading, but colder temperatures reduce the amount of suds that your machine will generate. Though we like to think that washing machines thoroughly rinse our clothes, that isn’t always the case and dried suds can dull the look of your black shapewear, bras, and panties. Along these same lines, adding some vinegar to the rinse cycle will help to dissolve the alkalis in your detergent and reduce the suds in the water (the vinegar will also function like a natural fabric softener). Sixth, wash your undies using your machine’s gentle cycle. Though great for removing dirt, as mentioned above greater agitation increases the friction applied to your black undies and speeds the loosening of their dyes. Lastly, avoid using color-safe bleaches, stain removers, or brighteners.
There’s also advice you can follow when drying your black panties, shapewear, and bras that will help them maintain their deep, black color. Most importantly, if you can, allow them to dry on a line or on hangers. A dryer’s harsh heat can weaken fibers and speed the fading process, and its tumbling action causes friction that helps to loosen dyes. Of course, avoid exposing garments to direct sunlight during the drying process, as the sun is a notorious fader of everything. If you must use a dryer, try to use its lowest possible setting and remember to keep your garments turned inside out.
Using these tips, you should be able to extend the color life of your favorite black panties, bras, and shapewear pieces. Of course, over time, they will eventually start to fade. Nothing lasts forever. But look on the bright side (or, should I say, the dark side). When the bloom starts to come off the rose, you’ll have the opportunity to treat yourself to some brand new black undies.CC Image courtesy of rwkvisual on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwkphotography/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of rx2web on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/rx2web// CC BY 2.0