Bras are delicate garments that require a higher degree of care than our other clothing. Hand washing bras is the best method to keep them looking and feeling new, but many of us don't always have the time to wash bras by hand. Can't a bra be machine washed like any other piece of clothing?

The short answer is no. Many people just toss their undergarments in the washing machine along with their tops and jeans, but doing so will wear out your bras quicker. If you want to take care of your undergarments, we always recommend to hand wash bras to ensure they last you a long time.

If you plan to machine wash your bras, there are some steps you can take to ensure your bras stay in good shape. Let's take a look at how you should be washing your bras, how often, and why.

How Should I Wash My Bra and How Often?

Table of Contents:

How often you should wash your bra?

Believe it or not, this is a topic that's often debated. Since bras are undergarments, some people say that they should be washed after each use like underwear 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 fabrics, not washing enough creates a breeding ground for bacteria.

There are also other factors to consider, like how many bras are in your rotation, what's the weather like, and what kinds of activities you're 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 the same bra 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, your activity level 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 and hand washing your bras is one the best and easiest ways to clean them without compromising the delicate fabrics. Simply fill your sink or a small tub with lukewarm water, add detergent and let it soak for about 20 minutes. Heavily soiled items like sports bras can withstand longer soaking, and can even be soaked overnight.

Soaking and washing bras by hand is always the best method to keep them looking and feeling new. Machine washing your bras can wear out the fabrics and compromise the support the bra provides.

A detergent made for delicate items like Woolite for Delicates is great but any mild detergent will do. After soaking your bras it's time to rinse them clean.

Drain your sink or tub and fill it again with clean water. Swish your bra around a bit, drain, rinse, and repeat until all of the detergent is out. When you remove your bra from the water, gently squeeze out the excess moisture.

Hand washing bras is the best way to keep them in tip top shape.

How do you dry a bra?

Drying your bra properly is just as important as washing it the right way. The high heat and tumble cycle of a dryer can wear the elastic out, warp or break underwire, and ruin the shape, especially for bras with molded cups. Even using low heat or a delicate dryer setting can ruin your bra. You should always air dry your bras.

After washing gently press out the excess water; don't wring it or squeeze too hard. The goal is to get as much water out as possible without stretching the fabric or altering the original shape. Hang your bra on a drying rack or lay it flat on a towel to air dry. If you're hanging it makes sure that it's not hanging from the bra straps as this can cause them to stretch.

Can I wash my bra with regular detergent

Yes, you can use regular laundry detergent to wash bras. You can always use a gentle detergent if you prefer, but regular detergent won't hurt your bras.

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.

Detergent also 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 plan to wash your bras in a washing machine, you should make sure to use a lingerie bag. Putting your bras in a mesh bag will prevent them from getting stretched out or snagging on other items. Using a mesh laundry bag to machine wash your bras is especially important for lace bras or bras made of other delicate fabrics.

You should also fasten the bra on the last hook so that it doesn't catch on anything else in the washing machine.

Put the washer on the delicate cycle and wash it in cold water. Once again, a detergent made for delicates will work but you can use any regular mild detergent.

After the gentle cycle is done, remove your bras from the mesh bag and hang dry them on a drying rack.

How many times can you wear a bra before washing it?

Should you wash a bra before wearing it?

Yes, you should properly wash all your bras before wearing them, especially if they came from a store where multiple people may have tried them on. Even if you purchased bras online and no one has tried them on yet, they've 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 hand wash or machine wash will help to soften the fabric a bit making your first wear irritant free and more comfortable.

Concluding Thoughts

Life is busy, but taking the extra time to take care of your bras will ensure that they last a long time and continue to provide the support you need. Hand washing bras is always the best method to keep them in tip top shape, but using a washing machine on a delicate cycle works as well. Whether you hand wash or machine wash your bras, you should always air dry your bras and avoid using a dryer.

Regardless of how you choose to wash bras, either by hand or machine washing, knowing proper bra care is key.

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