How to Take Care of Your Shapewear

If you want your shapewear to last, you have to know how to take care of it correctly. Washing, drying, and storing shapewear is not the same as it is for any standard clothes. Like lingerie, shapewear is more delicate and  requires special attention and care in order to remain functional and in top condition for as long as possible.

To make things even more confusing, different shapewear styles each have their own specific care instructions. The required care for one of the shapewear pieces in your collection might be totally different than the care that another piece needs. High-quality shapewear from boutique lingerie sites are worth what they cost but these styles can be pricy, so you want to do everything in your power to make it last. Taking good care of your shapewear can make a big difference in how long it lasts and how well it does its job of sculpting and smoothing your curves.

How Long Should Shapewear Last?

So let’s say you take perfect care of your shapewear to keep it in pristine condition for as long as possible. How long should each shapewear style in your collection last? How often do you need to replace your shapewear? The answer to this question depends on several different factors, including the material, style, and quality of the shapewear as well as how often you wear it.

Determining how long a certain shapewear style should last you before it needs to be replaced can help you gauge how well you’re caring for your shapewear and learn when it’s time to say goodbye for good to your favorite shapewear styles no matter how well you take care of them. Daily shapewear that you wear every day or almost every day should last about three to six months. Shapewear that you wear infrequently—like shapewear you only wear for special occasions or under formalwear—can last you up to a year or more if you take care of it properly.


Some shapewear styles can be washed in the washing machine, while others are hand-wash only. Check the tags on your shapewear pieces before you decide how to wash them. Washing instructions on these tags should specify whether a piece of shapewear can be put in the washing machine or if it needs to be hand-washed.

If your shapewear includes mesh panels or any delicate material like lace overlay, skip the washing machine altogether. If you do wash your shapewear in your washing machine, only use cool water and set the washer to cycle on the most delicate setting to protect your fragile shapewear and help it retain its original shape and elasticity. Also, don’t use regular detergent. Opt for more gentle baby shampoo instead to get your shapewear clean without wearing it out.

Note: If you wash your clothes at a laundromat rather than in your own house or apartment, hand washing your shapewear is the way to go. Industrial washing machines at commercial laundromats tend to be harsher on clothing and are likely to wreck even shapewear styles that claim to be washing machine-safe.


The number-one rule for shapewear care is: always (ALWAYS) air dry your shapewear. Never put your shapewear in the dryer. The heat and tumbling motion of a dryer wears your shapewear out by stretching it out and disrupting its original shape that is key to its functionality.

Even if your dryer is equipped with a cool or delicate setting, don’t try to use it to dry your shapewear. The motion of the dryer can wreck the elasticity and shape of delicate shapewear even when heat is not a factor. Once you’re done washing your shapewear—whether you hand-washed it or washed it in the washing machine—lay it out flat to air dry completely before you put it away.


Always store your shapewear in a cool, dark place. Exposure to too much heat and light can cause your shapewear to lose its original shape and/or stretch out. Once your shapewear is washed and dried, store it flat in a drawer for best results.

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