It’s no secret that women are busier than ever. Between work, kids, homeschooling, self-care, and everything else, is it really necessary to take special care of your bra?
Can’t a bra be washed just like any other piece of clothing?
The short answer is no. So many women just toss their undergarments in the washing machine along with their tops and jeans.
Is it really that bad? What’s the worst that could happen? Well, we’ll take a look at how you should be washing your bras, how often, and why.
How often you should wash your bra?
Believe it or not, this is a topic that’s pretty controversial. Since it’s an undergarment some people would say that it should be washed after each use and others say that you can go one or two weeks in between washes.
While it’s true that washing too much will cause extra wear and tear on the delicate fabric, not washing enough creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
There are also other factors to consider, like how many bras are in the rotation, what’s the weather like, and what kinds of activities are you doing?
How many times can you wear a bra before washing it?
According to the American Cleaning Institute (yes, there really is such a thing) bras should be washed every two-to-three wears. If you’re particularly active on any given day or if you sweat more than usual, by all means, wash your bra after wearing it.
Because your bra is worn directly on your skin it’s great at collecting dirt, oil, sweat, and bacteria. This collection of grime can cause irritation or breakouts, especially on sensitive skin.
Is it bad to wear the same bra every day?
It’s not necessarily bad to wear it every day but it is highly recommended that you skip a day in between wears in order to give the elastic a chance to shrink back to normal. Again, activity and environment during wear matters.
Did you have to run down the street to catch the bus on a 90-degree day? Do you work in a sweltering kitchen? Consider giving it a wash before you wear it again. Your bra and your skin will thank you.
Should I soak my bra?
Yes! Soaking your bra is one of the best and easiest ways to clean it without compromising the delicate fabric. Simply fill your sink or a small tub with lukewarm water, add a bit of detergent and let it soak for about 20 minutes. Heavily soiled items like a sports bra can withstand longer soaking, up to overnight.
A detergent made for delicate items like Woolite for Delicates is great but any mild detergent will do. After soaking it’s time to rinse.
Drain your sink or tub and fill it again with clean water. Swish your bra around a bit, drain and repeat until all of the detergent is out.
How do you dry a bra?
Drying your bra properly is just as important as washing it the right way. High heat and tumbling can wear the elastic out, warp or break underwire, and ruin the shape, especially with molded cups.
Even using low heat or a delicate dryer setting can ruin your bra. So what’s the right way to dry a bra? After washing gently press the water out; don’t wring it or squeeze too hard.
The goal here is to get as much water out as possible without stretching the fabric or altering the shape. Hang your bra on a drying rack or lay it flat on a towel. If you’re hanging it makes sure that it’s not hanging from the straps as this can cause them to stretch.
Can I wash my bra with dish soap?
You could, but you definitely shouldn't. Dish soap is made for cleaning grease and grime and the detergents are much harsher than in mild laundry detergent. Harsh cleaners break down the fibers in the fabric and ruin the elastic in the band.
Also laundry detergent has ingredients to balance pH and enzymes to gently yet effectively clean your clothes. Dish soap has preservatives and harsh scents that can irritate the skin, especially if it’s sensitive.
What about lingerie bags?
If you must wash your bras in a washing machine, you should make sure that they’re in a lingerie bag. This will prevent them from getting stretched out too much.
Hook the bra on the last hook so that it doesn’t catch on anything else while being washed.
Put the washer on the gentle cycle and wash it in cold water. Once again, a detergent made for delicates is best but you can use any mild detergent.
Should you wash a bra before wearing it?
Absolutely. Especially if it came from a store where multiple people may have tried it on. Even if you bought it online and no one has tried it on, it’s been handled by multiple people.
Your new bra may also have skin irritants from fabric dyes and finishing treatments during the manufacturing process. Another reason to wash before wearing is comfort. A quick wash will help to soften the fabric a bit making your first wear irritant free and more comfortable.
We know that life is busy, but it really is worth taking a bit of extra time to take care of your bras. An extra 20 minutes or so a couple of times a week is all that it takes. Invest in quality lingerie, take care of it, and it will take care of you for a long time.