Wash your bra? What, the what? Did you even know that you were supposed to wash your bra? After all, if you wash your favorite bra that means taking it off, potentially ruining it FOREVER, and not being able to wear for at least a day while it air dries, right? Plus considering that lingerie experts (yes, there really is such a thing) estimate that the average woman owns 9 bras, but only actually wears 5-6 of them during the course of a year – bra washing becomes one of those forgotten tasks. If you are like most women, you take it off – give it a sniff, if it smells okay, you hang it back up on a hook in your closet or leave it on your dresser for tomorrow, right?
The question of course, is how often should you wash your bra? You wouldn't dare think about wearing dirty underwear, right? So why is that so many women (8 out of 10 according to a Cosmopolitan survey) only remember to wash their bras every few weeks? So here are the stone cold facts about bra washing – when to do it and how!
Obviously, how often you wash your bra depends on your personal hygiene. If you are a sweaty mess, then remember that the sweat soaking your bra is full of bacteria. And you should wash it accordingly. However, if you are the average woman, not wearing your bra to the gym – experts recommend washing it after ever 2-3 wears. Sports bras on the other hand, used for sports wear – should probably be washed with the regular laundry as you go.
Ladies, that gives you two days with your favorite bra. And yes, considering that you likely spent over $20 on that favorite bra – you really should consider hand washing as opposed to throwing it in the washing machine. The washing machine, even on the gentle cycle, has agitation which over time can loosen the fibers and under wires as well as the thread, that holds the bra together. And your bra should NEVER, and we mean NEVER be put in the dryer.
The best way to wash your bra is by hand. And by hand, we don’t mean buying an old-fashioned washing board and rubbing it aggressively to get all the sweat and oils out. Instead, simply toss it in the sink, or basin filled with cold water and your favorite brand of gentle laundry detergent. Woolite, and even baby detergents work well for bras. The cold water will make sure that your bra doesn't stretch out too much over time, and will increase the longevity of your ownership. If you love your bra – then hand wash it in cold water with the least amount of detergent possible.
Start by soaking it, and then gently use your hands to clean the bra. Then, rinse with more cold water that is free of detergent or soap until the water appears to be clear. Whatever you do, never wring it out, contort it, or squeeze it to get the excess water out. Try to lay it in the water flat, with the padding facing up so that it keeps it shape. When it is clean, put the bra between two dry towels, and apply pressure to get the excess moisture out of it. Then, make sure you finagle the bra back into its regular shape. Sometimes the padding can come loose or move after washing. After that, lie flat on a drying surface or table, or even on a table and allow it to air dry. If you would rather air dry, then most experts agree that this is also a good choice when drying a bra.
If you have a cotton bra, a sports bra – or one that isn’t necessarily made out of delicate fabrics such as silk or lace and you want to machine wash it, follow these tips. First, use the gentle cycle on the cold-water setting. Second, make sure that all of the straps, hooks, buckles, and zippers are fastened so it won’t emerge from the washing machine a tangled web of knots. And, you won’t have to worry about the fasteners picking the fabric or poking holes in the lace while it is in the machine. The drying instructions – unless we are talking about a real cotton Lycra blend sports bra is to avoid placing it in the dryer, and follow the drying rules as outlined above. Using laundry bags designed for lingerie in your wash cycle is another great way to protect your bra during machine wash. Just make sure you don’t throw the lingerie back in with hard towels or denims!
Another bra-washing hint is to make sure that you don’t use bleach, and keep the bras away from other clothing that has color. There is nothing worse than your favorite white bra emerging from the wash with a bunch of stains on it. The delicate fabrics of lingerie easily pick up color from other pieces of clothing. (Again, this only strengthens the case for hand washing!)
Many of you are probably reading this article completely irritated that the experts recommend bra washing every two to three wears, right? The truth is that women have hundreds and thousands of sebaceous sweat glands around the breast area. These glands are teeny tiny, yet are breeding grounds for bacteria. Your bra, if held under a black light, is probably right now festering with bacteria, dead skin cells, and possibly even mites that are happy living on such a soft fabric that goes on such a warm place on your body. All of these germs CAN lead to infection. So wash your bras ladies. Wear them two or three times and then make sure you get them clean! Not only will you smell better but your ‘girls’ will appreciate it as well!