Learn how to wash bras properly! A bra is an essential everyday piece of garment as it protects one of your most delicate body parts. Hence, you want to make sure it’s comfortable and durable as they are usually costly. A bra's longevity and ability to support your breasts depend on how well you take care of it through proper laundering and storing, as well as how often you wash it.
How To Wash Bras - A Step-by-Step Guide
In general, the different steps in washing your bras include:
- Prepare the Right Cleaning Agent
- Wash (Hand or Machine)
Step 1 - Prepare the Right Cleaning Agent
Before you start learning how to wash bras, check the laundry symbol for washing instructions. When it comes to washing your bra, the method isn’t the only thing to keep in mind. You should also make sure you use the right products.
With that in mind, the only cleaning agent you usually need is detergent or soap, whether in powder or liquid form. Generally, it should be mild, not containing any form of bleach and alcohol. Strong detergents or soap, or those made of harsh ingredients, will weaken the fabric in the long run.
If you don’t have a mild laundry cleaning product or prefer an alternative, baby shampoo is a perfect choice. You can also add two drops of essential oil, preferably chamomile or lavender, for every teaspoon of baby shampoo.
Step 2 - How to Wash Bras 2 Ways
Like any other clothes, you can choose between two techniques when washing your bras: hand and machine washing.
How to Wash Bras by Hand
The best way to ensure you don’t damage your bra is to wash it by hand, especially those made of delicate fabric material, such as lace and mesh. Bras with ornaments, underwire, and gel padding should also be hand washed only. To do so, here are the right steps to follow:
- Spot Treatment
1. Sort According To Color
Sort your bras, separating whites and colored ones. For many types of cotton, it’s also best to separate light-colored ones from dark-colored ones to ensure dyes don’t bleed out and stain the lighter ones.
2. Spot Treatment
Compared to most garments, your bra is the least exposed to stains, except for sweat stains. To remove, all you need to do is apply mild soap or detergent and water on the spot, gently rub, and leave it as is for one to two minutes.
3. How to Wash Bras by Soaking
Fill your sink, bucket, or basin with warm water. Then, add one teaspoon to one tablespoon of detergent, depending on the number of bras you need to wash.
Place your hand in the water and swish it around to mix and dilute the detergent properly. Do this until the water becomes a little bubbly and foamy.
Too much foam and bubbles aren’t ideal since you’ll only waste detergent and decrease the detergent's cleaning power. It will also make the rinsing process longer than usual since you need to remove more detergent.
The next thing to do is place your bras in the bucket, pail, or sink, starting with the whites, then light-colored ones, and so on. Soak them for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the detergent dissolves oil and dirt. For dirty or too soiled bras, increase the soaking time to an hour.
4. How to Wash Bras
Once you reach the appropriate soaking time, get one bra at a time and swish and squish it to loosen or dislodge any remaining dirt and oil. Place the washed, soapy bra in a clean bucket, pail, or sink. Make sure you don’t mix whites with colored ones. Drain the dirty, soapy water once done.
After cleaning all your bras, rinse them using clean water; again, making sure you don’t mix the whites with the colored ones. You can do this by using running water or filling the clean bucket, basin, or sink with clean water. Repeat this step with a clean batch of water until the water runs clear or free of soap.
If you haven’t washed your bras for a long time or they’re too dirty or soiled, repeat the soak, wash, and rinse processes.
How to Wash Bras by Machine
Machine washing is the easiest and fastest way to wash any piece of garment, but you might have heard that it could shorten the lifespan of your bra. Definitely, it will if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The secret to machine washing your bras is to use a lingerie bag made of mesh. It will help prevent your bra from stretching out and its hook from snagging and tangling on other pieces of clothing you’re washing. It also protects the bra from other rougher fabric materials like jeans (how to wash jeans).
Machine-washing, though, is only suggested for bras made of sturdier materials, such as everyday bras, sports bra, and bralettes. With that in mind, here are the steps for how to wash bras via a machine or washer:
- Sort your bras according to color, and then clasp or close the hooks to prevent tangling on other fabric.
- Spot treat any sweat stains using the same technique as above.
- Next, place the bras in the lingerie bag.
- Fill the machine with cold water to prevent the fibers from weakening and straps from becoming less stretchy.
- Add the right amount of mild detergent or soap.
- Place the lingerie bag with bras in the machine.
- Set your washer at a gentle cycle, and let the machine do its job.
- Once done, remove the bras from the mesh bag.
How to Wash Bras - Essential Things To Keep in Mind
Since you sorted out your bras by color and would probably wash them with other items, make sure to wash them with similar-colored fabric. Also, make sure your start with the whites, followed by light-colored items, then dark ones.
Additionally, although the lingerie bag will protect your bras from heavier items, it’s best to wash them together with lightweight items only. That includes socks, t-shirts, pajamas, and other types of underwear.
Step 3 - Drying
One of the worst mistakes people commit when removing excess water from their bra is wringing or squeezing it. Most experts suggest that you place the bra between two clean, absorbent towels and then press gently.
After that, reshape the bra cups by pressing on the inside until they pop back to their original shape. Then, leave your bra to air dry by either hanging it or laying it on top of a clean, dry towel.
When hanging, make sure you don’t use the straps to prevent stretching; instead, let it drape by the middle over a drying rack, hanger, or clothesline. You can also choose to clip the bra’s band when you hang it.
Step 4 - Store
Although not really part learning how to wash bras, what you do after your bras dried out will also affect their quality. Most of us store our bras by folding them in the middle and then putting one cup on top of the other, assuming that it will help maintain the cup’s shape. Unfortunately, that is wrong!
The correct way of storing your bra is by laying them flat and then stacking them on top of each other. This way, you don’t only maintain the cup’s shape but also ensure the straps are stretched out properly. As a bonus tip, if you need to travel and pack your bras, the best way to do so is to fill their cups with socks to maintain their shape.
How to Wash Bras - Frequency
Even if you follow the correct steps on how to wash bras to the T, the frequency of washing them can also affect their lifespan and overall quality. Of course, you should wash your bras after every wear. That’s because your body’s sweat, body oil, bacteria, and fungi can be transferred to your bra’s fabric, leading to possible allergies, acne, and other skin issues. They can also damage the material's fiber.
However, the frequency of bra washing would be different from time to time. Apparently, over-washing your bra might do more harm than good since it can negatively affect your bra’s elasticity.
As such, experts suggest that for people who don’t sweat a lot and have no oily skin, or if you’ve only worn your bra for an hour with little to no sweat, it’s best to wash it after about two to four "wears". This will depend on the level and kind of activities you had during the day. For instance, you should immediately wash a sports bra worn after a workout, while you can wash a lace bra worn under a formal dress for an hour after a few wears.
Just make sure that you also don’t wear the same bra for two continuous days. Interchange them so that the bra also gets some rest; otherwise, the bra gets stretched out.
How To Wash Bras - In Conclusion
The proper way of washing your bra, either by hand or via a machine, begins in choosing a gentle cleaning agent and ends with proper air drying. Still, you need to make sure that you also treat your bra with care when storing and packing it. Knowing when and how to wash bras is also important since you don’t only want to keep it clean and odor-free, but also to ensure you don’t shorten its lifespan by over washing it.