If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attend the temple, you might wonder how you should wash and care for LDS temple garments. Over time, the whiteness of the fabric can become dingy or yellow without proper care. For years I washed them incorrectly–until I did a little research. My garments are special to me, and I want them to look pristinely white for as long as possible. I’m sure you do too. To keep garments looking their best, there are a few washing tricks you need to know.
Why Temple Garments Are Sacred
But before I explain the cleaning tips, let me share a reminder of why it’s important to keep such sacred undergarments in good condition. As you know, endowed members of the church wear them day and night, as they symbolize holy covenants we make with God in the temple. Here is a video, produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that shows this beautifully:
You can see why my temple garments are important to me and why I’d like to keep them pure and white. So what was I doing wrong when I washed them? Everything. Let me explain.
Care Instructions for LDS Temple Garments
Please note in my following comments that I am specifically talking about the various fabrics available for LDS garments, not the garment itself. I am in no way criticizing the actual garment or its sacred nature. After purchasing various garments of various fabrics and not being happy with them long term, I finally consulted with Distribution Center workers, where the garments are sold. Since proper care instructions are not listed on the garment packaging, members are left to guess, which is what I’d been doing.
From the sister workers I spoke with, I learned that the fabric used for all garment fabrics is dyed white. So it’s a color fabric, which means if you’re going to use bleach on any temple garment fabric, it MUST be COLOR-SAFE BLEACH. No substitutes. You will get yellowed garments after multiple washings with regular bleach. If you don’t want to add color-safe bleach, the ladies recommend you add either 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide OR 1/4 cup white vinegar (not both) to help ensure brightness and a fresh smell.
Also, the water temperature should be COLD or WARM–but not HOT. Guess which setting I’d been using? Yep, the hot. I guess I felt like they’d be extra clean and sanitary. Instead, over time the white color of my garments had dulled because I hadn’t used the right temperature.
Fabric Choices for Temple Garments
As you’ll see from the infographic below, there are 15 fabric options for endowed men and women to choose from. Using your membership account login, you can access this link to the Church’s online store to learn about the specifics of each fabric type. If you don’t know your login information or don’t have an account yet, there are instructions on the site to sign up.
Each fabric option listed below is explained in more detail on the site. Fabrics are designed with different moisture features. Some are better for keeping you cool or warm. Some are preferred for wearing while exercising. Small fabric samples are shown in the Distribution Centers if you shop locally (locations listed on site). If you already know your preferred fabric, great! Otherwise, I recommend that you select a few fabrics you might like, based on the site’s descriptions, and try one of each. Don’t do as I have done and buy several of one fabric before I’m sure I really like it. And, in my opinion, you can’t tell by trying them on for 5 minutes in a dressing room. You have to wear them for a day.
Special Care for Moisture-Wicking Garments
I then asked the ladies if there were any other special care instructions for some of the fabrics. They mentioned Dri Lux, which I had been using for about a year and a half but didn’t like much. It’s a popular fabric for keeping cool during the summer heat because of its ability to wick away moisture. As you can see from the above infographic, it’s available for both women and men. But my Dri Lux garments always seemed to feel hot and sweaty, and were somewhat stinky in the tops especially. I know, TMI, but I’m trying to help others to avoid similar problems.
So what was I doing wrong? Two things: First, you CANNOT USE any FABRIC SOFTENER on Dri Lux fabric or any moisture-wicking fabric on the list. (Again, consult the online store for specific fabrics and their features.) This means no fabric softener in the rinse water or in dryer sheets. Unfortunately, I’d been tossing in the dryer sheets every load. Why no fabric softener? Because it will make the fabric ineffective at wicking away moisture. Second, even with proper care, the fabric’s wicking feature is only effective for about 12 to 18 months. Since I’d had mine for about 18 months, and with my fabric softener faux pas, my garments were past their prime.
I hope no Church member will think I am speaking inappropriately about our sacred temple garments. That is certainly not my intent here. Temple garments are to be treated with respect. I wear them at all times. I just like to have them fit correctly and stay as clean and white as possible.
**Please note: This information has not been reviewed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for accuracy. The advice written here is based on my own experiences and information gleaned from staff at a local Distribution Center.
Products to Help You Care for LDS Temple Garments
November 2018: This popular post has been on my blog for years without any product recommendations. Over time, many members have suggested products that have been helpful to them in washing and caring for their temple garments. I have also used these products and feel that they work well. The following product suggestions are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. This helps me to offset the hosting costs for this site and continue to provide this article for your use and reference.
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Have you used a product that helps you care for LDS temple garments? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please comment.