With our busy everyday lifestyles it’s good to have support every step of the way – support from your family, support from your friends, and even support from your bra. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you find a bra that not only fits perfectly but is also comfortable to wear. You want the feeling to last and that’s why it’s so important to know the right ways to wash bras so you can help them to stay looking great and feeling great while providing the best support.
How often should you wash a bra?
Unlike other underwear (knickers, socks) bras don’t need to be washed after each use. In fact, if you wash your bras too often, the elastic may start to weaken, shortening their lifespan. As bras can be expensive, it’s only natural that you want them to last as long as possible.
So, how often should you wash your bras to preserve their lifespan and ensure they remain clean and fresh? As a general rule, you should aim to wash your normal, everyday bras after every 3-4 wears. This is just a general guide though and if your bra smells or looks dirty then wash it!
How to wash a bra in the washing machine
Choosing to wash a bra in the washing machine can often be the quickest and easier way to get them clean – and it’s a great choice when you're busy – but what steps should you take to make sure you get the best results for this delicate item?
- Before washing your bras, always check the care label to ensure they’re made of materials that can be machine washed. Most bras are made from washable fabrics like cotton and polyester.
- Check for any stains, such as perspiration marks (especially on sports bras), or milk stains if you’re currently breastfeeding. Pre-treat stains with a small amount of laundry detergent.
- Fasten the hook & eye clasps on your bra before popping in the washing machine. This prevents the fastenings from getting caught in the drum and reduces the risk of damage to your bra.
- Use a cool temperature (around 30 degrees) as hot water may shrink your bra. Also use a mild detergent that is designed to be gentle on delicate items, like Persil Silk & Wool.
How to hand wash a bra
You may find that some manufacturers recommend that their bras are hand washed. This is common for particularly delicate bras, or for bras with a lot of detailing. The good news is that it’s easy to do:
- Fill the sink (or a large bucket) with warm water and add a small amount of a gentle laundry detergent like Persil Silk & Wool. Use your hand to swirl the water to ensure it’s mixed well.
- Pop your bra into the water (no need to fasten the hooks) and leave it to soak for a few minutes. This will help to soften any stains and make it easier for you to target any stubborn areas.
- Gently rub the material of the bra all over, paying special attention to areas where sweat accumulates, like along the bottom wire, or the part of the band that sits under the armpits.
- Rinse with clean, lukewarm water and allow to air dry. Avoid tumble drying as this could affect the elasticity and shape of your bra.
Special considerations for washing bras
You will find that many everyday bras can be washed using the simple steps above. However, there are a few types of bras that will need a little extra care and attention. Here’s how to wash a bra that is ‘special’ or different from your everyday underwear, including nursing bras designed for breastfeeding:
How to wash a silk/lace bra
If your bra is made from very delicate materials such as lace or silk, always pop it into a laundry bag before washing to reduce the risk of it snagging on the inside of the drum. If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag at home, an empty pillowcase is a good alternative.
Compression-style sports bras are very resilient so it’s easy to hand wash or machine wash them using the steps above. However, if you wear a sports bra with pads, pop these out before washing and wash separately (use a laundry bag if machine washing) and then reshape them before drying.
How to wash a nursing bra
Looking after your nipples is essential when breastfeeding, and an important part of good nipple care is ensuring you wash your nursing bras in the best way possible. Use a non-bio detergent for sensitive skin to minimise irritation, and reshape your bras while air drying so they don’t lose their shape or comfort.
When was the last time you washed your bras? Although it can be nerve wracking putting your favourite bra through the wash, if you follow the great advice above there’s no need to panic. All it takes is a little know-how and you’ll find that keeping your underwear clean and fresh really is a piece of cake!