If you are anything like me, laundry day is a dreaded activity. I’ve tried the jeans in the freezer trick and definitely left towels unwashed for embarrassingly long. But for those of us who love lingerie, the question of delicates care can add even another thing to consider when laundry day comes. Special occasion silks can wait between dry cleanings, and underwear is obviously a clean after each use item, but just how often should you wash your bra?
Good news! Maybe not as much as you think! Here’s the deal – bras get gross when we sweat, and on a hot day you may find a swamp has formed between your chest. If you’ve worn your sweaty bra all day it may need a wash sooner, just to make sure those gross germs don’t stick around.
Thankfully, you can typically get away with quite a few wears before you escalate to this level of gross. The best way to know if your bra is full of excess oil and bacteria? Through the smell.
Look, if that thought made you gag it is probably time to wash your bra. The rest of us? We can wait.
It goes without saying that depending on the type of bra and the occasion it is worn for will totally affect how much it needs to be washed. Your sports bra? Every time. That silky piece that fits so wonderfully under your formal gown? So long as you aren’t dancing up a storm on a humid night, you might go years without it needing a wash.
Alright, but what if you are one of those people that just loves doing laundry (if so, do you have any tips for me)?
The problem with over-washing a bra – and yes, you can actually wash a bra too much – is that it will wear down the elastic that holds the piece together far faster. As your bra loses shape it begins to work – and look – less effective. If possible, and particularly if you are a person who leads an active lifestyle, it is ideal to have several bras of the same style that you can rotate through, making sure that every one has plenty of time to recover its shape after wear.
Keep in mind that not all bras are created equal, and care requirements will depend based on the style and material of your bra. It’s always a good idea to wash delicates by hand if you can; use a special light soap with tap water and your bra will be clean and handled with care. If a machine is your thing, try and wash delicates in a special mesh bag, as this will protect your items from a stressful washing cycle. For lacy materials or those with excess embellishments or hooks, it may be best to fasten the bra closed to minimize any damage or tears.
Skip the dryer, as the heat will only warp your bras. Even for sports bras, the dryer cycle will wear out items far faster than air drying. Try and lay your bras flat, and make sure cups aren’t squished or folded. Keep this in mind when storing your bras too; there is nothing worse than pulling on a shirt only to see your bra cups are all misshapen!
So, how to make sure you are finding the balance between washing a bra too much and not washing enough? Take a sniff, and skip the bath for as long as you can. Wash by hand and air dry, and keep an eye on elastic parts for signs of stretch.