How often should you wash your bra? Are you supposed to wash it every day, like every time you wear it?
If it got a little sweaty but doesn’t smell bad, is it okay to wear it again?
These are all legit questions. But there are no one-size-fits-all answers. Different types of brassieres require different kinds of care, for example.
Let’s start with the basics.
- 1 What happens if you don’t wash your bra?
- 2 Should you wash your bra after every use?
- 3 How do you know when it’s time to wash your bra?
- 4 How often should you wash your bra in summer?
- 5 Should I wash a new bra before wearing it?
- 6 How to wash your bra
- 7 Can I wash bras in the washing machine?
- 8 Can I dry bras in the dryer?
- 9 Should I hand wash my bra?
- 10 How to hand wash a bra
- 11 How to wash a bra in the washing machine (even if you’re not supposed to)
- 12 How to clean your bras without washing them
- 13 How to dry your bra
- 14 How to dry your bra in the dryer
- 15 Conclusion
What happens if you don’t wash your bra?
There are consequences for you and your bra when you don’t wash it regularly.
For one, the brassiere may end up permanently stained. If you sweat a lot, the salt builds up and breaks down the fabric, too.
Worse, you could end up with acne or a rash. Sweat, oil, and dead skin breed bacteria and yeast. If you don’t clean the bra, you’re putting those microbes right back on your body.
Of course, if you don’t wash your bra, it’s not going to smell nice, either. Even a big dose of perfume won’t fix a manky bra for long, plus the alcohol might damage the material.
Should you wash your bra after every use?
How long can you wear a bra before washing it? You might not need to wash your bra every time you wear it. For instance, if you shower daily and don’t perspire much, you can probably wear your bra two or three times before washing it.
However, if you just finished spin class, you really should toss that sports bra in the washing machine.
How do you know when it’s time to wash your bra?
We all do it, but is the sniff test good enough?
The experts are divided. Smelling something isn’t a reliable way to tell if it’s dirty. Instead, it’s best to clean your bras after two or three times you wear them unless you sweat a lot in them. Then wash them after each time you wear them.
If you have zits on your chest or back, put on a clean bra each day to avoid aggravating the acne.
How often should you wash your bra in summer?
If you’re in air-conditioning and not perspiring, there is no need to wash your bra daily even in summer. But if it’s hot and humid and you’re sweaty, by all means, rotate between clean bras to keep up with the laundry.
Give your bras a break
You might hesitate to wash an expensive bra, especially an underwire, because it might get shabby-looking faster. Nevertheless, your bra needs to relax.
Seriously, the fabric and the elastic needs time to bounce back. Don’t wear the same bra day after day. Switch between brassieres to let them air out.
Should I wash a new bra before wearing it?
With all this talk about laundering bras, maybe you’ve gone and bought some new ones so you can rotate through your collection. Good for you.
Do you need to wash new brassieres before wearing them? We recommend it especially if you have sensitive skin. New clothing often contains various chemicals to keep the fabric looking nice. These may irritate the skin. Also, if the bra isn’t packaged, who knows who tried it on before you?
How to wash your bra
So now you know that you’re supposed to wash your bras after you wear them a couple of times or more often if you sweated in them. But how do you wash your bra without messing it up?
So, now you know when and how often to wash your bra. Let’s talk about how to wash brassieres and lingerie without ruining them.
Can I wash bras in the washing machine?
Maybe. What does the care label say?
If it says machine-washable or has an icon that looks like a cup with water in it, you should be able to launder the bra in the washer. Usually, the label will show a temperature like 30°C (cool water) or state “cold” or “warm”. It’s likely to suggest the gentle or delicate cycle, too.
There may be more instructions like don’t use fabric softener or bleach, or don’t iron. If there aren’t written instructions but only icons, don’t worry. There are plenty of pages on the internet that explain what laundry symbols mean. Or you can use your phone to take a picture and search by image.
Whenever something is forbidden, it will have an X through it.
Can I dry bras in the dryer?
It depends. Check the care instructions. It’s rare to find bras that can be tumble-dried. Most of those are cotton or a cotton/poly blend and they won’t have underwires.
High heat may melt the synthetic fabric and wreck the elastic. Not to mention that all that bouncing around in the drum is downright destructive.
If it’s a choice between wearing a wet bra and putting it in the dryer first, see the next section below.
Should I hand wash my bra?
Yes, please. If your bra is comfy and you want it to last, please only hand wash it.
We know, it’s hard to get odor and stains out when you wash by hand. Not to worry, there are detergents designed to tackle these problems. Here’s one now:
Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
Woolite is the best-known brand of detergent for delicates like bras and lingerie. The hypoallergenic version is unscented but effective against odors and stains. Plus, the liquid formula can be used for washing bras by hand or in the machine.
It works best in warm or cold water. What’s nice is it doesn’t dry out the skin or leave an obnoxious fragrance behind on clothing. More importantly, it doesn’t shrink, fade, or stretch any type of fabric. It goes easy on elastic, too. It’s the ideal choice if you don’t want your bra to stretch out.
It’s safe to use in HE (high efficiency) washers as well as regular washing machines. Use the cold water setting and the gentle cycle.
If you’ll be washing by hand, you only need a little detergent so it bottle like this will last a long time.
How to hand wash a bra
Here’s the trick to hand washing your bras with minimal effort: soak them.
Choose a high-quality detergent for delicates like Woolite or The Laundress. Add the appropriate amount to the bucket, bowl, or sink of water. Stir it and submerge the bras.
Let them marinate for at least 10 minutes. This allows the detergent to start breaking down body oil and bacteria.
Gently rub the trouble spots that soak up the most sweat.
Rinse in clean water and let the bras drip for a few minutes. Don’t wring them. Instead, lay them on half of a clean towel and fold the remaining towel over top. Press to squeeze out the excess water. Then let the bras air dry.
How to wash a bra in the washing machine (even if you’re not supposed to)
Sometimes it just isn’t possible or convenient to hand wash lingerie. In that case, here’s how to cheat and wash a bra in the washer.
Step 1: Use a mesh bag. Check out the options below:
Set of 5 Mesh Laundry Bags
There is a mesh bag size for everything here, from bras to sweaters. With these, you can protect all sorts of delicate items in the washing machine.
The tightly-woven mesh keeps lingerie from snagging on other clothing but still allows detergent and water to pass through. The zipper closure even has a protective cover to defend your other clothes from damage.
With that said, please don’t wash your bras with your jeans. Wash fragile, lightweight items like bras, leggings, camisoles, and silk pillowcases together instead.
For even more protection, we suggest the reinforced round bags below if you have underwire bras.
Durable Honeycomb Mesh Laundry Bags for Bras
These 8-inch diameter laundry bags have a sturdy mesh construction with anti-rust zippers. They are perfect for shielding underwire bras from damage in a washing machine.
What’s also nice is that the mesh is tightly woven so bra hooks don’t get caught on it. (Just in case, it’s smart to close your bra before washing it).
Step 2: Once you’ve closed the bra with the hooks or the zipper and placed it inside a mesh bag, you’ll need detergent for delicates.
Regular laundry detergent is full of optical brighteners, phosphates, and so on to make the fabric look better after washing. However, these chemicals may damage the elastic and synthetic materials in bras. At least you don’t need any of those ingredients to clean bras.
Step 3: Only wash bras with other delicate and lightweight items, preferably of the same color scheme, i.e. darks, reds, or lights.
Step 4: Use the delicate cycle. If the machine doesn’t have one, use cold water and the lowest spin setting. (You might also try the “wool” setting”.
Step 5: Remove the bras promptly after the cycle ends and drape them over a clothesline or hanger to air dry. Please don’t pin them up by the straps as it may stretch them.
How to clean your bras without washing them
What if you can’t wash your bras? It turns out that there is a product for that.
Eucalan No-Rinse Delicate Wash
This special detergent comes in unscented and scented versions. It can be used with water to wash bras by hand or in the machine although it makes very few suds.
More important, it doesn’t need water at all to clean bras, laundry, wool sweaters, and so on. It contains protective ingredients that keep moths out of your clothes, too.
It’s pH-neutral and safe for synthetic fibers as well as biodegradable and packaged in a recyclable bottle.
What’s the downside? If you’re allergic to lanolin or certain essential oils, you might want to look elsewhere. Also, avoid using this around copper as it will discolor the metal.
How to dry your bra
Now that you’ve seen how to wash your bra, here’s how to dry it.
Drape the bra by the middle section over a plastic hanger, a clothesline, or something similar.
If it’s wet from handwashing and dripping, press it inside a clean towel first to remove excess water.
And if you live in a humid place where things take a long time to dry, point a fan at it or run the dehumidifier to get the job done faster.
How to dry your bra in the dryer
Please don’t toss your bra in the dryer unless the care instructions say that you can.
If it’s an emergency, use the lowest heat setting and place the bra inside a mesh bag. Dry it for the minimum amount of time needed. For the love, don’t shove it in with your jeans or other heavy clothes and never use a high heat setting.
Be prepared for shrinkage and damage to underwires, strap adjusters, and clasps if you use the dryer.
If you’ve killed your bra, here’s one of our favorites to replace it:
Bali Comfort Revolution Wireless Bra
In a world where bras are often uncomfortable, this one is a delight to wear. The sleek nylon/spandex blend is stretchy yet supportive. It has reinforced zones to smooth the silhouette and keep the band from rolling up.
It’s described as “the perfect T-shirt bra” and we agree. It doesn’t leave impressions on snug-fitting tops. Moreover, it wicks away moisture so it doesn’t feel damp for long.
It comes in many different colors in sizes from extra small to 3X.
The only con is that it’s supposed to be hand-wash only. If you’d rather have a machine-washable bra, buy the one below.
Hanes Women’s Get Cozy Racerback ComfortFlex Wirefree Bra
What could be better than an affordable, comfortable bra that you can toss in the washing machine? This one comes in various colors in sizes from small to 3X.
The pullover bra has a seamless design with supportive knit zones. Translation: there’s no uniboob.
It’s made of a nylon/polyester/spandex blend that dries quickly, too.
The only downside is that you can’t adjust the straps unless you sew them.
We hope our tips about how often to wash bras and how to care for them helped you today. If you have other questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.