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Do Mesh Laundry Bags Protect Your Clothes?

a woman and child sitting by the washing machine

Christian Dior said, “Real elegance is everywhere - especially in the things that don’t show.”

Dior certainly must have understood the value of good undergarments.

High-quality undergarments are an essential to looking well in all of your clothes. These foundational pieces are usually expensive and should be treated with care in order to extend their lives as long as possible.

Ideally, you should wash delicate items such as bras, camisoles, underthings, socks and lingerie by themselves.

But if you don’t have time to wash multiple loads of clothes, using a mesh laundry bag to separate delicates from other clothing is the next best option.

What Are Mesh Laundry Bags Used For?

If you think about it, the washing process is rather rough. Clothes rub against each other, creating friction that helps clean the items. But when you add delicate items to the mix, items can get damaged.

Bras have clasps that can easily snag other pieces. Silk and other fragile fabrics can be picked. Small straps can wrap around other items. The possibilities are endless.

Using a mesh laundry bag prevents those scenarios from happening.

As the name suggests, a mesh laundry bag is a zippered pouch made of flexible and durable meshing. The mesh is heat-resistant and allows water and cleaning agents to permeate the bag freely. Delicate fabrics are preserved and items with embellishments last longer.

underwear in mesh bags

Mesh laundry bags are popular products, and you can find them in a variety of sizes and shapes. When purchasing bags, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose zippered bags. Avoid purchasing a mesh laundry bag with drawstrings. Strings can get wrapped around other clothing items or snag, causing the very problem you are trying to avoid. Always select bags with zippers.
  • Choose high-quality bags. Because bags can be found everywhere from dollar stores to department stores to specialty stores, the quality can vary widely. It’s important to choose a bag with mesh that is durable enough to withstand washing. Look for micro-mesh made from nylon or polyester.
  • Purchase a variety of bag sizes. The size of the bag you choose should be proportionate to the number of items you have to wash. Over-stuffing your garment bag keeps your clothes from getting clean. Putting too few items in an extra-large bag is problematic as well. Having a variety of sizes to select from eliminates this problem.

What Garments Are Washed in Mesh Laundry Bags?

Many types of clothing can be washed in mesh laundry bags. Here are some of the items you could consider washing in mesh laundry bags:

  • Delicates: Many women have a variety of undergarments for a variety of occasions. Mesh laundry bags are perfect for keeping the shape of your delicates and preventing sagging, pulling, and twisting.
  • Hosiery: Mesh laundry bags protect your stockings, tights, and thinner leggings from getting picked, tangled, or torn.
  • Embellished Items: Decorative elements on your clothing are prone to ripping off when left to float freely in the washing machine. The laundry bag keeps that from happening.
  • Athletic Wear and Bathing Suits: Stretchy materials like those used in athletic wear and swimsuits lose shape over time. A mesh laundry bag keeps bathing suits and athletic wear in better condition for longer.
  • Wool, Silk, Velvet, and Cashmere: These softer materials are usually dry cleaned or hand-washed because the machine is too abrasive. Placing items in a mesh bag and washing on the delicate setting means you never have to hand-wash your cashmere sweaters and silk blouses again.
  • Socks: Mesh laundry bags eliminate the problem of trying to find missing socks. All socks are kept in the bag with their pairs throughout the washing and drying process.a pair of cream woolen socks
  • Jeans: Jeans and other denim clothing can be washed in laundry bags to protect buttons, zippers, and any detailing or distressing.
  • Coats: As long as your wool coat doesn’t have viscose lining, you can put it in a laundry bag to wash. Simply turn it inside out to protect the wool fibers.

How Do You Use a Mesh Bag for Laundry?

Using a mesh bag for laundry is simple. Here are some steps to streamline washing clothing in a mesh laundry bag:

  • Check the material. There are some items that are far more susceptible to damage than others. Always separate the most delicate materials from rougher materials. For example, only bag cashmere with cashmere, silk with silk, lace with lace, and so on.
  • Be careful with embellished items. Avoid placing delicate materials in a bag with items that have embellishments. Do not put knitwear with something that has a zipper, for instance. To minimize any damages, close all zippers, buttons, clasps, and clips prior to washing.
  • Pre-treat any stains. This makes washing more effective and reduces the amount of stress on your clothing. One handy trick is to pre-treat stains made from beverages, oils, or grass with dish soap. If the stain is from blood or bodily fluid, treat the item based on its fabric. Hydrogen peroxide works well on wool and a salt water solution works well on silk.
  • Sort then bag. Sort delicates into small piles separated by type and color. You can fit up to three large mesh laundry bags in one standard-sized washer. If the load is too small, add a few sturdier items directly into the wash basin, like t-shirts.
  • Turn garments inside out. The laundering process is much gentler on items of clothing when they are turned inside out.
  • Complete the wash cycle. If you are washing delicates with normal clothing, use the gentlest washing machine cycle. Heavier stains on normal clothing are usually remedied by using a pre-soak.

The washing process is very similar whether you use mesh laundry bags or not. The only difference is you are adding bags to the wash basin instead of a heap of clothing.

delicates in a mesh bag going in the washing machine

Can You Wash Delicates Without a Mesh Bag?

Are laundry bags a must? No.

You can wash delicates without a mesh laundry bag, but it may not be the best idea.

While most modern washing machines have either a Hand Wash or Delicate setting (or both), there is still a chance that the clasps on your bra or the metal embellishments on your sweater get hooked on something and cause problems.

Washing delicates without a mesh bag is rolling the dice. Sometimes luck is on your side, and everything will turn out fine. But other times, two items rub together the wrong way, and something you love is ruined.

Do you want to take the chance? Instead, save time and effort by washing your delicates in a laundry bag.

What Can I Use Instead of a Laundry Bag?

Perhaps you are not a fan of using nylon- or polyester-based products to do your laundry.

There is an alternative to mesh laundry bags that has been used for many years. Before mesh laundry bags became popular, women put their delicates inside pillowcases.

You can use a few safety pins to seal the pillowcase shut and toss it into the laundry. It will work just like a mesh bag does for your clothing. Another option if you have a seamstress is to have your own zippered laundry bags made out of pillowcases.

Can You Put Mesh Bags in the Dryer?

It is perfectly safe to put mesh laundry bags in the dryer. Simply, remove the mesh bags from the washing machine and put them in the dryer.

There is no need to put a heap of clothes in the dryer after protecting them through the whole washing sequence, only to have something to snag while it is getting dried.

Though mesh bags can be put in the dryer with no negative consequences, the same is not true of all clothing. More fragile fabrics such as silk, spandex, and wool should be air dried and never put in the dryer. Also, putting denim items in the dryer will cause shrinkage.

For other items that are able to go in the dryer, dry the clothes on for half the time they would take to completely dry. Then remove the clothes from the laundry bag and finish with air drying. This will preserve the condition of your pieces so your clothing lasts longer.

After your clothing has been laundered and is ready to store in your closet, we recommend Hayden Hill garment bags to preserve the beauty of your clothing. Our bags are made of organic, soft cotton with a sheer, organza side panel so you can see your pieces while keeping them protected from light, dust, and moths. Hayden Hill delivers sustainable and beautiful garment care to protect what you love.

a Hayden Hill organic cotton garment storage bag
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