Helping you find the best bras for all occassions

How Do I Properly Care For And Wash My Bras?

  • By: Nicki
  • Date: October 13, 2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Whether you prefer lacey and luxurious or simple and supportive, one thing is certain: caring for and washing your bras properly is essential for their longevity and maintaining their shape. With this in mind, you may find yourself wondering just how to go about it. In this article, we will share some useful tips and tricks, answering all of your questions about the best practices for caring for and washing your bras. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of bra care together!

Why is Proper Care and Washing Important?

Proper care and washing of your bras is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to prolong their lifespan. Bras endure a lot of wear and tear, so by taking care of them, you ensure that they will last longer and retain their shape over time. Proper care also maintains the proper fit of your bras. As bras lose their elasticity with time, washing them correctly helps to preserve their shape and ensure they continue to provide the support you need. Additionally, proper care improves comfort by keeping your bras in good condition, which means no poking wires or uncomfortable straps. Lastly, maintaining hygiene is a crucial aspect of bra care. Bras come into direct contact with your skin, so keeping them clean helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria, sweat, and odors.

Types of Bras and Their Care Requirements

Different types of bras have varying care requirements. Understanding how to care for each type ensures that you can properly maintain them and extend their longevity.

Sports Bras

Sports bras typically have more durable materials and designs to provide maximum support during physical activities. As such, they require special attention when it comes to washing. Most sports bras are machine washable, but it is best to secure the hooks and clasps before tossing them in the washer. To prevent damage, it is recommended to wash sports bras in a lingerie bag or pillowcase. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as these can degrade the fabric and weaken the elasticity of the bra.

Strapless Bras

Strapless bras are a wardrobe staple for many occasions, and their care requirements differ slightly from other bras. Hand-washing is often recommended for strapless bras to protect the delicate materials and prevent damage to the underwire or silicone grip. If you choose to machine wash a strapless bra, be sure to place it in a mesh lingerie bag to avoid tangling or snagging. Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, as some strapless bras may require special care due to additional features or embellishments.

Underwire Bras

Underwire bras provide additional support and shaping, but the underwire can become damaged if not properly cared for. Hand-washing is the safest option for underwire bras, as it minimizes the risk of the wire bending or poking through the fabric. When machine washing underwire bras, use a delicate or lingerie cycle and secure the hooks to prevent snagging. It is important to avoid twisting or bending the underwire while washing or drying, as this can lead to permanent damage.


Bralettes are known for their comfortable and lightweight design, often made from delicate fabrics such as lace or mesh. Due to their fragile nature, hand-washing is highly recommended for bralettes. Use gentle detergents specifically formulated for delicate fabrics, and avoid scrubbing or wringing the bralette to prevent any damage. If you choose to machine wash a bralette, place it in a mesh lingerie bag and opt for a delicate cycle with cold water. Air drying is the best method for drying bralettes, as heat can cause them to lose their shape.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Bras

Knowing the proper steps to wash your bras will ensure that they remain in great condition and provide optimal comfort and support. Here is a step-by-step guide to washing bras.

Sorting and Preparing Bras

Begin by sorting your bras according to color and fabric type. This helps to prevent color bleeding and damage to delicate fabrics. Fasten any hooks or clasps to prevent snags and tangling during the washing process.

Hand-Washing Bras

For bras that require hand-washing, fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a gentle lingerie detergent. Gently agitate the bras in the water, ensuring that each bra is fully submerged. Allow them to soak for a few minutes, then gently scrub any stained areas with a soft brush or your fingertips. Rinse the bras thoroughly with cool water until no soap residue remains.

Using a Washing Machine

If machine-washing your bras, place them in a mesh lingerie bag to protect them from tangling or snagging. Use a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicates and select a delicate or lingerie cycle on your washing machine. It is best to use cold water to prevent shrinkage or damage to the fabric. Avoid overcrowding the machine, as this can lead to inadequate cleaning and potential damage to the bras.

Drying Bras

To dry your bras, gently press out any excess water without twisting or wringing them. Lay them flat on a clean, dry towel and roll the towel to absorb more moisture. Afterward, reshape the bras and place them on a drying rack away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid hanging bras by the straps, as this can cause them to stretch.

Choosing the Right Detergent

Selecting the appropriate detergent is crucial to ensure the longevity of your bras and to prevent any skin irritations. Here are some considerations when choosing the right detergent for your bras.

Mild and Fragrance-Free Detergents

Opt for mild, fragrance-free detergents when washing your bras. Harsh detergents can damage delicate fabrics, while fragrances may leave residue and irritate sensitive skin. Look for detergents specifically formulated for delicates or lingerie, as they are designed to be gentle yet effective.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Avoid detergents that contain bleach, chlorine, or harsh chemicals, as they can weaken the fabric and reduce the lifespan of your bras. Opt for detergents with natural ingredients and pH-neutral formulas that are safe for both your bras and your skin.

Specialty Bra Washes

If you prefer a specialized detergent, consider using a bra wash specifically designed for delicate lingerie. These products are often formulated to be gentle and effective in cleaning bras without causing any damage. They may also offer additional benefits, such as fabric softening or color preservation.

Storing Bras Properly

Proper storage of bras is essential to maintain their shape, extend their lifespan, and make it easier to find the right bra when needed. Follow these tips to store your bras correctly.

Keeping Bras Separated

To prevent damage, it is important to keep your bras separated from other garments and accessories. The best way to do this is by folding each bra in half, with the cups nestled into each other. This method prevents the bras from getting tangled or misshapen.

Avoiding Folding and Crushing

Avoid folding your bras in half or stuffing them in drawers, as this can lead to permanent creasing and distortion of the cups. Alternatively, consider using bra storage solutions such as dedicated bra drawers, dividers, or organizers to keep each bra neatly stored and easily accessible.

Using Bra Storage Solutions

Investing in bra storage solutions can make a significant difference in maintaining your bras’ shape and organization. Bra-shaped storage boxes or storage bags with individual compartments allow each bra to be stored separately, preventing crushing or deformation. These storage solutions also help to keep the bras protected from dust and other elements.

Frequency of Washing

Determining how often to wash your bras depends on various factors, including the type of bra, your level of activity, and personal preference. Here are some guidelines to help you determine the frequency of washing.

Every 2-3 Wears

As a general rule of thumb, aim to wash your bras every 2-3 wears. This helps to maintain hygiene and freshness, especially if you tend to sweat or engage in physical activities frequently. By washing your bras regularly, you prevent the buildup of sweat, oils, and bacteria that can lead to odors and skin irritation.

Perspiration and Body Odor Factors

If you sweat more than usual or notice any body odor after wearing a bra, it is best to wash it more frequently. Perspiration and body odor can penetrate the fabric and linger, even after airing the bra out. It is important to keep in mind that bras worn during intense workouts or in hot weather may require more frequent washing.

Less Frequent Washing for Delicate Bras

Delicate bras, such as those made from lace or with intricate details, should be washed less frequently to avoid damage. The more often you wash them, the more wear and tear they may experience. However, always pay attention to any sweat or odor accumulation, as this may require more frequent washing to maintain hygiene.

Avoiding Common Washing Mistakes

To ensure the proper care and maintenance of your bras, it is essential to avoid common washing mistakes that can lead to premature wear and tear. Here are a few mistakes to steer clear of.

Using Hot Water

Avoid washing your bras in hot water, as this can damage the elastic and delicate fabrics. Hot water can cause shrinking, loss of shape, and may even break down the fibers over time. Stick to lukewarm or cool water to extend the lifespan of your bras.

Skipping the Sorting Step

Sorting your bras by color and fabric type is a crucial step to prevent color bleeding and avoid damage to delicate fabrics. Neglecting to separate your bras can result in discoloration or deformation of the bras.

Using Excessive Detergent

Using excessive amounts of detergent can leave residue on your bras, leading to skin irritation and a dull appearance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended amount of detergent based on the load size and the level of soiling.

Not Protecting Delicate Details

When washing bras with delicate details such as lace, be sure to protect them. Placing bras in a mesh lingerie bag or pillowcase not only prevents them from becoming entangled with other clothing items but also safeguards any delicate lace or embellishments from snagging or stretching.

Handling and Drying Delicate Bras

Delicate bras require extra care during the washing and drying process to avoid any damage. Follow these tips to ensure the longevity of your delicate bras.

Hand-Washing with Extra Care

For delicate bras, hand-washing is highly recommended. Gently swirl the bras in lukewarm water with a mild detergent formulated for delicates. Be extra cautious when scrubbing or agitating delicate fabrics, as they are more prone to damage. Rinse thoroughly with cool water to remove any soap residue.

Patting Dry with a Towel

After rinsing, gently press out any excess water from the delicate bras without twisting or wringing them. Lay the bras flat on a clean, dry towel, and gently pat them to remove additional moisture. Avoid scrunching or harshly squeezing the bras, as this can damage the delicate fabrics and stretch out the shape.

Air-Drying Away from Direct Heat

To dry delicate bras, place them on a drying rack or hang them in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat or sunlight. The heat can cause the bras to lose their shape or fade in color. Avoid using the dryer, as the high heat and tumbling can be damaging to delicate fabrics and underwires.

Removing Stains and Odors

Sometimes, bras may acquire stains or develop persistent odors. Here are some tips to help remove stains and eliminate odors effectively.

Treating Specific Stains

For common stains like sweat, blood, or makeup, pre-treat the affected area before washing. Gently dab the stain with a mild stain remover or a mixture of water and mild detergent. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub or massage the fabric before washing as usual. Always check the care label of the bra for specific stain removal instructions recommended by the manufacturer.

Using Baking Soda for Odor Removal

If your bra has an unwanted odor, sprinkle some baking soda on the inside and outside of the cups. Allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight, then gently brush off the baking soda. The baking soda helps to absorb and neutralize any lingering odors, leaving your bra fresh and ready to wear.

Final Tips for Bra Care

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when caring for your bras:

Rotating Bras

Rotating your bras instead of wearing the same one every day allows each bra to rest between wears, reducing strain on the elastic and prolonging their lifespan. Aim to have at least three to five bras in regular rotation, depending on your lifestyle and preferences.

Avoiding Dryers and Ironing

Avoid using a tumble dryer to dry your bras, as the high heat and forceful tumbling can cause damage to the fabric, underwires, and other delicate components. Similarly, avoid ironing your bras to prevent heat damage. Lingerie is typically designed to fit when gently stretched against your body, so ironing is not necessary.

Checking Care Labels

Always refer to the care labels on your bras for specific washing and drying instructions recommended by the manufacturer. Different bras may have unique care requirements due to their specific materials, designs, and embellishments. Following these instructions ensures that you give your bras the proper care they need and deserve.

By properly caring for and washing your bras, you can extend their lifespan, maintain their fit and comfort, and ensure their hygiene. Paying attention to the specific care requirements of different bra types, using the right detergents, and following proper washing and drying techniques will help to keep your bras in excellent condition. With the right care, your bras will continue to provide the support and confidence you deserve.

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