How to Wash Bras: 5 Tips Every Woman Should Know

Meghan Blalock

Washing a bra: three tiny, feeble words that somehow have the ability to strike fear and intimidation into the hearts of many an otherwise strong, powerful woman. Knowing how to wash bras—and doing it properly—appears to be a rare skill reserved mostly for moms, grandmas, and other wiser-for-the-world women who generally seem to possess magical skills.

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But no longer! Correctly washing a bra is no longer a project reserved for the older and more experienced among us; every woman who wears a bra should know how to wash it. And, furthemore, there’s very good reasons why you should be washing your bras on a regular basis. According to Real Simple magazine, with normal use, you should be washing your bra after very three to four wears. And the “bra whisperer,” Susan Nethero, alleges that women should wash them after every two wears. (Terrified yet?)

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It’s really not as big a hassle as it seems on the surface, and doing it correctly might actually make doing it often enough more possible. Read on for five easy ways to wash yours bras, increase your personal hygiene, and stretch out the life of your bras, all at the same time!

1. Most of the time, it’s best to hand-wash your bras.Because bras are most often constructed of delicate fabrics like lace, mesh, and spandex, the rigors of a standard washing machine can really disturb them and shorten their lifespan. Use cool water and a gentle soap (like Woolite), filling up your bathroom sink. Place your bra in the water/soap mixture, gently moving it up and down in the liquid to shake loose dirt and other particles. Then let is soak for about five minutes. Rinse out, then hang dry. (See, it’s not as hard as it seems!)

2. If you can’t hand-wash, always use the gentle cycle.
This isn’t to say you can’t wash your bras in the machine. That’s totally fine, as long as you’re sure to use a gentle cycle, cool water, and gentle detergent every time. Also make sure to clasp your bras before washing; if left undone, the clasps can get caught on other fabrics and tear them.

3. Use lingerie bags.
The other thing you need to wash your bras (and any lingerie, really): a lingerie bag. These are zipped mesh bags that keep your bras separate from the rest of your washing load, to prevent snags and tears.

4. Always hang dry.
Even if you decide to wash your bras on the gentle cycle, don’t then transfer them to the drying machine. Bras should always be hung to dry, to prevent warping and disfiguring of the metal in the underwire as well as the padding in the cups.

But here’s a clever trick to prevent stretching out the fabric when you’re hanging really wet and heavy bras: hang them over your shower rod not from the ends, but bent over the rod at the middle, where the cups meet in the front. So like this:

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Or, if you have clothing pins and enough space, you can hang them the proper way:

5. Use a salad spinner.
Much like drying cashmere with a salad spinner, you can also add cool water and Woolite to your spinner, put your bra in, and spin away. Then just dump out the soapy/dirty water when you’re done, and hang the bras to dry.