The Right Way to Wash a Bra, in Steps


Not to be too dramatic, but a bra can be life-changing. Not only does a bra provide support, but it can also make outfits look and fit better—or even add a style element. However, this means they are in constant contact with our skin picking up sweat, dead skin, and our natural oils—not so cute. This means they need more care than other items in our wardrobe. It’s important to wash them properly in order to extend their lifespan, in turn saving you money by avoiding frequently replacing them.

If you want your bra to live a long life and fit you well, it should be hand-washed. Many bras are made with an element of elastic, sometimes lace or soft fabric. These fibers can break down more easily in high heat and spin cycles. A gentle hand-wash gives you more control and your bra will last longer than if it’s constantly machine-washed. 

How to Properly Wash a Bra

  1. Add a small amount of detergent to a gallon of lukewarm water.
  2. Gently agitate the bra in the water without wringing or twisting it.
  3. Let the bra soak in the water for up to 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse detergent from the bra until the water is clear unless you’re using a no-rinse detergent.
  5. Lay your bra on a clean dry towel. Fold the towel over the bra and gently press to remove excess water. Reshape if your bra has molded cups.
  6. Air dry the bra by laying it flat on a towel or by hanging it on the center gore between the cups. Never hang your bra by the straps as the weight can stretch them out. 

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If You Must Machine Wash, Follow These Steps

There are ways to be gentle if the machine is the only option:

  1. Hook the straps together and place them in a mesh laundry bag.
  2. Select the delicate or hand wash cycle on your machine.
  3. Use gentle detergent for delicate items like lingerie and select cool water.
  4. Hang dry.

The dryer is the enemy of your bra and the elastic. The dryer can also warp the cups if they are molded and the underwire, essentially wearing them down more quickly.

Additional Care Tips

You should wash your bra after every 2-3 wearings. During the summer you may need to wash more regularly because of sweating. The elastic needs recovery time in between wearings, so it’s best to cycle through your bras and not wear one two days in a row. Each bra may have different care instructions to consider, but hand-washing will always be best.

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