Guest Post by Sandi Rosner
Shapewear is an investment in looking and feeling your best. Whether you reserve your shaper for special occasions or won’t leave the house without it, make the most of your investment by washing and storing your shapewear properly.
If you are a shapewear devotee, be sure to purchase your favorite style in multiples. Shapewear needs time between wearings to recover its shape and elasticity. Wearing the same garment for long periods of time can shorten its life; the shaper can become permanently stretched out. Proper washing is actually good for your shapewear! Even if you layer panties underneath, aim to wear a piece no more than twice before washing.
What is shapewear made of?
Most shapewear is made of a blend of synthetic fibers, usually nylon and spandex. Spandex is derived from polyurethane, and is the ingredient that gives these fabrics their superior elasticity. Fun fact: Spandex is an anagram of “expands”!
Some shapewear styles include latex, which can be made with either natural or synthetic rubber.
Check the tags on your shapewear. Latex and spandex have different care requirements. When in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and choose the gentlest washing method you can.
Handwashing is the safest method for cleaning spandex garments. Fill a large basin with cool water and add a small amount of Eucalan. Submerge your shapewear, swish it around, and let it soak for 15 minutes. Gently squeeze to move the water and soap through the fibers. With Eucalan, there is no need to rinse. Gently squeeze out excess water (don’t wring!) and hang or lay flat to dry.
Spandex garments can be machine washed if your machine has a delicate or hand wash cycle.
Fasten any hooks or zippers and place your shaper in a mesh lingerie bag. The bag protects your shapewear from snagging on other garments and prevents it becoming entangled with the rest of your laundry. Don’t stuff your shaper into a too-small bag; water needs to flow easily to all parts of the garment to clean well. Choose a bigger mesh bag, perhaps one that is sized for washing sweaters. If you don’t have a mesh bag, use a pillowcase and close the end with a rubber band.
Set the machine for cold or cool water and select the most gentle cycle and add Eucalan. Chlorine bleach will cause the spandex to degrade, so choose an oxygen-based bleach if you’ve got stains. Avoid fabric softener. Do not tumble dry your spandex shapewear. Lay flat or hang to dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
Spandex can also be safely dry cleaned, but the fabric may hold onto the odor of the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process. When you get it home from the cleaners, remove any plastic packaging and hang your shaper to air out before storing it.
Many cleaners offer “wet cleaning” on request. This process is gentler and more controlled than your home washing machine, and avoids the issue of chemical odors or residues. Many cleaners even use Eucalan in their wet cleaning process!
Latex must be hand washed. Fill a basin with warm water and add Eucalan. Submerge your shaper and let it soak, taking care to avoid deforming the garment. Use a towel to gently blot excess water, then hang your shaper or lay it flat to dry away from direct sunlight.
Never dry clean latex.
Heat and light will damage latex. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed drying by positioning a fan to blow over your garment, improving air circulation.
Storing your shapewear
Extend the life of your shapewear by storing it in a cool, dark place. Shaping panties can be rolled loosely and stored in a divided drawer for easy access.
Hanging your body shapers can lead to stretched-out straps and damage from bumping against other garments. Avoid folding or rolling your full-body shapers, especially if they have molded cups or boning. For best results, store your body shapers laid flat in a drawer.
A little time and attention will go a long way toward preserving your shapers. With proper care, quality shapewear can continue doing its job for years.
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