Ask a Clean Person: Bras, Sex Toys, DivaCups, and Leg Waxidents

I am normally a very clean person myself, but I am totally stumped on how to take care of my bras. I have recently started buying nicer bras after noticing my old Victoria’s Secret bras always wound up with really loose shoulder straps and gave me bra lines. I’ve had a really lovely Le Mystere bra for about three months, and while it was perfect and smooth at first, it’s now starting to loosen up a bit and also give me bra lines and slip at the shoulder straps. So first, is there something I’m doing that’s making my $90 bras stretch out?? Second, I know I need to wash by hand. I’ve never had to wash delicates before, how do you do it without messing them up? What soap do you use?

Remember last week when I admitted that I hate cleaning the floors? This week I’m so excited that I get to talk to you about washing bras because I LOVE WASHING BRAS. Pretty, lacy, booby things? YES PLEASE. Washing bras also brings the extra bonus of cleaning the sink and I cannot tell you the extent to which I adore cleaning the sink. I loathe a dirty-looking sink.

I consulted Noted Brassiere Expert Jane Marie to ask about best practices for getting her precious frilly items clean in the gentlest of ways, and here’s what she had to say.

Unless you want to spend as much time cleaning your bras as you do vacuuming every month, start with a large collection. I wash my bras by hand once every two months or so, BUT! I have about 15 bras that I rotate so that I only wear one bra, say, a maximum of four times before washing? Is that gross? Who cares?

As for technique, I clean my kitchen sink thoroughly with just soap and water. Then I plug the drain, add one tablespoon of this in some scent (I have the little collection) and fill the sink with warm water. Add bras. Let them sit for, like, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lay out one very large absorbent towel on the floor and have another of the same size handy. Next, I put on dish gloves and start, like, massaging the bras one by one in the water? I mean you don’t want to bend or smoosh or squeeze them because they have delicate parts and sometimes wires, so just massage each one. The water should get murky and make you feel like a disgusting person. When you’re done with all the bras, drain the sink and rinse each bra separately with cold water for a super long time.

If the bra has any padding or lots of fabric, give it a gentle squeeze to get excess water out and one by one lay them on the towel on the floor. Top with the other towel and using your hands (or feet!) press all over the place to dry them as much as possible. Transfer all the bras to a third towel taking care to reshape them if needed before they dry. Admire your collection.

Shall we take a moment to gawp at the Great Goddess Janie and her fancy-pantsy Tocca wash and wish that for just one second of our lives we could be as incredible as she is? *whimper*

Now then. This lowly lil’ Clean Person uses Woolite for her delicates. Any of the Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergents will be fine as well, as they’re gentle and delicious smelling. Your geraniums will bring all the boys/girls to the yard. If any of your clothes ever stain your bras with dye, get them wet in your sink-solution then throw some OxiClean right onto the stained areas and do a little chh-chh frottage action of rubbing the fabric against itself. Then put the bra right back in the wash water, add a sprinkle of Oxi to the mix, swirl it around with your paws and let everything have a good soak.

There’s also the wash they’ll try to push on you at Intimacy, and I feel like this is a really good time to talk to you about what you’re going to do when you get to the point in your appointment when they try to upsell you into the $16 Intimacy Lingerie Wash. Here is your script:

Intimacy Upseller Lady: Now, how are you washing your bras?
You: I use Forever New to hand wash my bras.

Forever New is one of the brands they sell at Intimacy, and it’s only $6, so if you say you’re already using it they can’t really shame you into another product. I do not care if it’s a lie if it protects you from feeling bullied into spending $16 on bra wash. (I don’t at all mind if you buy $16 bra wash, I just don’t want you to feel bullied into doing so.)

Related: I encourage you to lie an awful lot, don’t I? Good thing I turned down that Ask an Honest Person column pitch!

Since you really seem to want to tell us (and I have a friend who wants to know), how does one clean her sex toys (silicone, glass and everything in between — this friend really loves her toys)?

Honestly? (Oh now I’m being honest??) It wasn’t so much that I wanted to tell you as I wanted an excuse to go on a reportorial mission to Babeland. Which I did and man oh Manischewitz was it ever fun! Everyone should hang at Babeland, all the time, always. Mama loves her some Babeland.

So here’s the good word, broken down by material type, from the lovely, lovely experts in all things Play Toy:

Silicone, no motor: Soap & water; before first use and/or between bodies or orifices boil for 8–10 minutes (“just like spaghetti!”) to disinfect.

Glass: Soap & water; be careful not to apply extreme heat (“just like a drinking glass!”).

Pyrex: Soap & water; before first use and/or between bodies or orifices boil for 8–10 minutes to disinfect.

Stainless Steel: Soap & water; if your toy has no motor, boil for 8–10 minutes to disinfect before first use and/or between bodies or orifices.

Hard Plastic: Soap & water.

Elastomer and TPR: Soap & water.

Wood: Soap & water.

Stone: Soap & water; before first use and/or between bodies or orifices boil for 8–10 minutes to disinfect.

Jelly Rubber: Soap & water.

Cyberskin: It’s made of mineral oil, so wash with as little soap as possible, if you must use soap at all. Further instructions on the care of cyberskin can be found on the Fleshlight website.

General Tips, Thoughts, Advice from the Babes:

“You can wash a whole load of dildoes in the top rack of the dishwasher. Just don’t use soap.”

“Don’t use anything you wouldn’t put in your body. Dishsoap, rubbing alcohol, bleach …” (Sniffle. ❤ u Bleachie.)

Make sure your toys are completely dry before storing them.

If you’re using a toy with a motor that isn’t waterproof, don’t put it under water. Opt instead to wipe it down with a soapy cloth.

Use a condom for easy clean up or when in doubt.

Hard plastic, elastomer, TPR, and jelly rubber are all porous. You must must must use a condom if you are going to share toys made of those materials with a partner.

And finally: “Toy cleaner is great for when you just can’t get out of bed.”

Were you joking when you mentioned cleaning DivaCups? You were joking, right? Does … does that mean I can ask you how to clean mine, or that I should not mention it for fear of being mocked. Fuck it, how do I clean my DivaCup? I mean, it’s totally clean, I wash it every time I empty it and I boil it to sanitize it after. But it’s … yellowing. Is that just what silicone does, and I have to live with it? I CAN live with it, but … maybe I should add some vinegar when I boil it!

My Lord, I don’t even remember what I said? Did I tell you to wash them with baking soda & vinegar?? Then yes, yes that was totally a joke! Don’t don’t don’t use vinegar on your DivaCup. But hey, it’s a great not-at-all-mock-worthy question and as long as we’re here talking about our ladyparts let’s do this thing!

First things first: The DivaCup website has super great, detailed instructions that you should check out. I’m going to give you the brief version here and let the DivaCup evangelists among the commentariette take it away because lawdy, you are some opinionated ladyfolk! Love you! Never change!

Right then, your basics are: Wash that bad boy (bad girl? Bad girl, yes obvi!) with mild soap and water. You can also boil the Cup for 5–10 minutes. You’ll want the water to be rolling along at a good clip, and you do not want to use a lid once the Cup is in the pot.

Do NOT use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, scented soap, oil-based soaps (castile, peppermint, lavender, etc.), dishsoap, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, moistened wipes, rubbing alcohol, bleach. (Sniffle. ❤ u Bleachie.)

If your DivaCup becomes discolored, try boiling it. If that doesn’t work, as is your case, it may just be that the silicone has been compromised and you can choose whether or not it bothers you enough to purchase a new one. The Diva people offer something called DivaWash that may be the ticket to preventing discoloration in the first place, but I’m (1) not a Cup user (FLOG ME WITH TAMPONS FOR MY CRIMES, GO ON, I CAN TAKE IT) and (2) I’m naturally suspicious of single-use products marketed by companies that have a vested interest in selling you on extras to bank coin.

This is embarrassing. I spilled an entire container of wax on my wooden floors while trying to remove hair from my legs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of wax that hardens — it’s a thick, sticky mess in a 6″ puddle smack dab in the middle of my bedroom. Please help, before this wax ends up over everything!

There are times when a question comes in and I die a weeny bit of joy because it’s just so Hairpin. Usually when this happens I forward them to The Lady Edith and we sort of go “ALKSHjfhaiakhSLKasfHLSKHFsh” because it’s our way of expressing how much we love you. I think it’s nice for you to know that!

Anyway, this is one of those questions. I just … thank God for the legions of women out there DIYing their own hair removal because you crack me up and also your problem is going to be an easy fix! Don’t you just love that? (Sometimes I feel sad when I have to break bad news to you in the form of “Yeah … this will take some work.”)(And other times I enjoy it. You know me too well for me not to admit that.)

Here’s what you need:

  • A couple of brown paper bags
  • An iron

Turn the iron on low and allow it to heat through for 5–10 mintutes. While that’s heating tear or cut your brown paper bags into individual sheets. Now lay a sheet of brown paper over the wax and apply the iron to the paper. Hold the iron there, being extra careful to watch that the paper doesn’t start burning. When one piece of paper is saturated with wax, switch in another and keep doing so until you’ve pulled the mess up off the floor. Since all irons aren’t created equally, if you notice that the heat setting isn’t high enough to make this work, turn it up. Just do so in increments to avoid singeing your floors.

Now that you’re done with that you’ll want to spot clean the floor. Here are several thousand ways to do so!

This technique is also what you should use if you ever get candle wax on other unmoveable surfaces. While I have you, if you ever get wax stuck on small objects, pop them in the freezer. The wax will shrink up and you’ll be able to pull it right off whatever it’s adhered to.

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you looking for a green alternative to the suggestions found here? Because we’ve got some! More importantly: Is anything you own dirty?

Photo by Inger Anne Hulbækdal, via Shutterstock