This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Bra, Experts Say

Learn what experts say about how you should be keeping your bra clean.

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Bras are one of those things you know you should be washing more frequently than you do, but you don't necessarily want to admit it to yourself. The good news is that you don't actually need to wash them as often as you might be thinking. According to experts, how often you wash your bras depends on how often you're wearing them—you should be washing your bra after every two or three wears. Keep reading for more guidance on bra maintenance, and for more laundry advice, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Sheets, Experts Say.

"Bras are maintained in perfect condition if they are cleaned after two or three uses," says Natalie Barrett, supervisor at Nifty Cleaning Services. "Depending on how often you wear your bras, this may mean once a week or a few times a week." However, if you're wearing your bra less frequently amid the pandemic, you could conceivably go a month before wearing a bra a third time and needing to wash it.

Founder of direct-to-consumer bra company MINDD Helena Kaylin recalls that when she began working at Victoria's Secret, she found that most employees washed their bras every two to three wears. "The truth is, how often you wash your bra really depends on you, where you live, and how often you sweat in your bra," says Kaylin. "Be kind to your bras; you really shouldn't wear it more than three times without washing."

After two or three wears, not only will the bra be dirty, but it will also have lost a bit of its elasticity. "After two or three wears, you will start to feel your bra become a bit looser around the band, and your straps will not be as secure," Kaylin adds. "Washing your bra will do two things: It will always fit and feel better after you wash it, and it will also extend the life of the bra if washed correctly."

So, how do you wash your bra properly? Read on for a few of the best ways to clean your bra, and for more essential guidance on your undergarments, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Underwear.

1
By hand in the sink

Washing bras in the sink
Shutterstock

Most experts suggest washing your bra by hand to avoid any disfiguring and to keep it like new. "Wash your bras in lukewarm water and use a lingerie wash which is a super-concentrated but highly gentle [detergent] that removes dirt and oils to clean them," says Sapna Palep, co-CEO of lingerie brand Journelle.

"Add two capfuls to the water and lightly agitate with your hands to distribute the wash. Drop in your bras and gently move it around to make sure it is fully submerged and rinsed," she says. "Let it sit for up to 30 minutes and run it over fresh water, making sure it runs clear. Gently squeeze the water out, do not wring."

To dry the bra, lay it flat. And for more things you should be washing, You're Forgetting to Wash This Body Part Every Time You Shower.

2
In the washing machine with a lingerie bag

vBra in a lingerie bag
Shutterstock

Although experts don't recommend using a washing machine to freshen up your bra, they know it's inevitable from time to time. "Do I ever throw my bras in the washing machine? One hundred percent. Is it a good thing to do? No," says Kaylin. "It will shorten its lifespan. The straps will get pulled and can break easier. The fabric is delicate and will start to pill."

Kaylin says if you must use a washing machine to wash your bras, you have to use a lingerie bag. "Find a mesh bag and simply toss it in," she adds. "Use the delicate cycle and cold water only." And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

3
Use a bra saver

Bra Saver for washing machine
BRABABY via Amazon.com

Bra savers are similar to lingerie bags, but they have a bit more structure to them to help maintain the bra's shape. You could use one of these if you're crunched for time and need to toss your bra in the washing machine. And for more on when to do your washing, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Hair, Experts Say.

4
In the shower

Checking the water in shower
Shutterstock

This old trick of bringing your bra into the shower may have spread by word of mouth, but some people have put it in writing. Jezebel suggests washing your bra in the shower with mild detergent, while SheKnows recommends only using the shower method as a between-wash rinse. And for more sensitive hygiene advice, discover The One Body Part You Should Never Shave.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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