The Secret To Making Your Bras Last Longer Is SO Easy

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
By Jolie Kerr

When was the last time you washed your bras? If you’re like most people, you’re probably furrowing your brow and racking your brain trying to remember when you last laundered your boulder holders. It’s very common for women to infrequently — or never! — wash their bras.

There’s no absolute rule when it comes to the frequency with which you wash your bras. It probably sounds like great news, until you learn this: You’re probably still not washing them often enough.

The reason why rules along the lines of “wash your bra once a week” can’t be assigned to these kinds of things is that every woman’s bra wardrobe — which is a term I absolutely LOVE and encourage you all to adopt! — is different, as is the way in she makes use of it.

Ideally, a bra shouldn’t be worn two days in a row. Giving your bra a day off in between wearings will help to extend its life, because the elastic that holds your girls in place will break down over time from exposure to both body oils and heat.

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Rotating your bras will also allow you to adopt one very good habit that will help to both lengthen the lifespan of your bra and reduce the frequency with which you’ll need to launder the thing: Rinse it. That’s all! You can even take it right into the shower with you!

Regularly rinsing a bra — just with water, no detergent necessary — will wick away some of the body oils and dead skin, which will mean less actual washing is required. This is a good thing for your own personal time management and the bras themselves. This is especially true of bras that have padding, which shouldn’t be over-washed to prevent the pads from breaking down.
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Even if you adopt a regular bra rinsing habit, you’ll still need to launder them. A good rule of thumb is to wash your bra every three to six wearings. If you rinse regularly, your washing cycle will fall more toward the six. But during certain times of the year, like summer when sweat tends to trickle and pool in the front gore of your bra, you’ll probably find that you want to wash more frequently. While there's definitely some wiggle room, it’s a good idea to develop a general bra washing cycle that works for you.

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When it comes to laundering a bra, hand-washing is absolutely ideal. But machine washing is also a fine option — and one that’s much more realistic for most people. If you do choose to machine wash, here's how to do it:

1. Put the bras into a mesh bag to help protect the straps from becoming tangled with other garments, which will lead to stretching.

2. Wash using cold water.

3. Choose the delicate cycle.

4. Use a mild detergent and be careful not to use too much. Detergent overdosing will result in a bra that doesn’t get fully rinsed, which can lead to skin irritation and will cause the bra’s elastic to break down.

When it comes to drying, air drying is always the best choice. Be sure to lay your bras flat or hang them by the center gore (rather than by the straps) to prevent stretching.
Now get out there and wash your bras! They’ll thank you for it.

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