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How to Clean Bras Safely

March 10, 2024

Wondering how to clean bras without compromising their comfort and shape? You’re not alone.

If anything, proper bra care is essential for hygiene and extending the life of your lingerie. In this post, we will cut through the confusion with clear, step-by-step instructions for both hand and machine washing. So, let’s dive in.

How Often Should You Wash Bras?

The question of how often to wash bras is almost as controversial as how to wash them. Some sources suggest washing after every wear, while others say every other or even after a few wears.

how often should you wash brasThe truth is that the frequency of washing bras depends on a few factors, including physical activity levels and the number of bras in rotation. For instance, sports bras should be washed after every workout to prevent fabric deterioration due to sweat and body oils.

As a general rule, you want to wash your bras in the laundry room after every other wear or after three to four wears – that will help maintain their integrity and the bra’s shape.

Keep in mind, however, that the number isn’t set in stone and can vary based on individual circumstances.

Preparing Your Bras for a Safe Wash

Before start washing your bras, there are a few steps that you want to take to ensure a safe wash. Start by fastening any hooks and clasps. That will prevent them from catching on other items or damaging the bra fabric during the wash.

Next, take a moment to check your bra’s laundry care labels. These labels contain crucial information about proper washing techniques and temperatures.

To avoid color transfer and damage to delicate materials, sort your bras by color and fabric type before washing. And don’t forget to inspect your bras for any damage or loose threads, repairing them before washing to avoid further damage.

Finally, place your bras in a mesh lingerie bag for an extra layer of protection.

Mastering the Art of Hand-Washing Bras

Hand-washing is the gold standard for bra care – it will allow you to maintain the elasticity and shape of your bras while ensuring they get a thorough clean.

The process of hand washing involves soaking, gentle agitation, and rinsing without stretching or wringing.

We will now discuss these steps in greater detail.

Soaking Your Bra: The First Step

how to clean brasThe first step in hand washing your bra is to give it a proper hand wash. For an effective soak, lukewarm or cold water is recommended. Add a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent such as ACTIVE to a gallon of lukewarm water and swirl to mix the soapy water properly.

Gently submerge your bra in this cleaning solution. Remember not to twist or wring the bra and make sure it gets evenly soaked.

For the best results, allow the bra to soak in the detergent solution for about ten minutes. That will help loosen any dirt or oils, ensuring optimal cleansing.

Gentle Agitation: Cleaning Without Damage

Once you’ve soaked your bra, you want to agitate it gently with your hand.

To agitate your bra, follow these steps:

  1. Use your hands to softly move the bra through the water and detergent mixture
  2. Ensure the fabric is not stretched or the shape altered during this process – that will help distribute the detergent evenly over the bra, aiding in the removal of dirt and oils

Rinsing and Draining Excess Water

Thorough rinsing is necessary after washing your bra. Rinse with a gentle stream of cool water until the water runs clear.

Once your bra has been rinsed, gently squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Avoid twisting or wringing the fabric at all costs, as this can damage the bra’s structure.

Fold the bra within a towel and press down to absorb the remaining moisture without misshaping the garment.

Finally, reshape any folded or creased bra cups by hand while the fabric is still damp. That will ensure they maintain their proper form as they dry.

Putting Your Bras In the Washing Machine

putting your bras in washing machineWhile hand washing is often recommended for bras, we understand that it’s not always feasible.

Machine washing is an alternative, but it requires some precautions. These include using a mesh laundry bag, selecting the delicate cycle, and using cold water.

Also, avoid using a fabric softener when machine washing bras, as they can impair the elasticity and cause residue buildup on the fabric.

Selecting the Right Laundry Bag for Bras

A mesh laundry bag will provide a protective barrier for your bras, preventing them from snagging on other items during the wash cycle.

There are specific features to consider when choosing a laundry bag for your bras. Ideally, you want to choose a bag that’s:

  • Durable
  • Rust-resistant
  • Has a secure zipper that can be tucked away to avoid snags
  • Has a hard plastic frame to maintain the shape of the bras
  • Can accommodate multiple bras up to size 38DD, making them a versatile choice for various bra sizes
  • Sinks into the water for thorough cleaning instead of floating on top

Choosing the Correct Washing Machine Settings

Selecting the right washing machine settings is paramount.

When setting your washing machine, use the delicate cycle with cold or warm water for bras. That will prevent them from becoming damaged prematurely.

Drying Bras the Right Way

drying bras the right wayProper drying of your bras is as crucial as proper washing. The recommended method is to air-dry bras by laying them flat on a towel or hanging them up.

Using the clothes dryer should be avoided at all costs, as it can cause damage.

The Importance of Flat Drying

To preserve their shape, it’s important to dry your bras flat on a rack or a towel. That will allow them to maintain their shape and will prevent the bands, straps, or cups from being twisted or distorted.

Placing a dry towel between the bra and the rack can help remove any residual wetness without needing to press the bra again.

Avoiding the Dryer at All Costs

Tumble drying can stretch or distort the shape of a bra, especially the bands and straps.

The heat and agitation in a tumble dryer can also damage delicate lace and synthetic fabrics and cause underwires to get distorted or damaged.

Given the risk of damaging the bra’s elasticity and structure, it’s safe to say that tumble drying is a big no-no when it comes to bras.

Storing Bras to Maintain Their Shape

After your bras are cleaned and dried, the next step is to store them properly, in a manner that will maintain their shape and extend their lifespan.

For the best results, store bras upright and nested inside each other, avoiding inverting the cups of molded bras to maintain their shape.

Before placing them in the drawer, ensure the bras are clasped to prevent hooks from catching. Use drawer organizers to minimize damage and keep bras sorted by type. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them away to prevent unwanted contaminants from growing.

For organized and shape-preserving storage, consider using silk bags, specially designed lingerie bins, or repurposed shoe organizers.

Special Considerations for Sports Bras and Lingerie

special considerations for sports brasSpecial considerations need to be made for sports bras, padded bras, and lingerie. Before washing, remove any removable pads or inserts from bras to ensure they maintain their shape.

The lifespan of a sports bra is influenced by how often it is used and how well it is cared for.

Generally speaking, a regularly worn sports bra will need to be replaced after about a year or when signs of wear such as reduced comfort, support, or physical degradation become apparent.

Maintaining Freshness Between Laundry Days

Spot-cleaning your bras with a washcloth and a gentle detergent mixture can help remove stains without the need for a full wash.

After spot cleaning, let the bras air dry completely before their next use.

Regularly rotating bras can also extend their freshness so try not to wear the same bra for several days in a row.

How to Clean Bras – Summary

Proper bra care is a combination of correct washing, drying, and storage techniques. Whether you choose to hand wash or machine wash, remember to use a gentle detergent like ACTIVE, avoid harsh treatments like using the dryer, and store your bras properly to maintain their shape.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to extend the life of your bras while preserving their comfort and shape.

Key Takeaways

  • Wash bras based on personal wear patterns, ideally every other wear to every three to four wears, and rotate between multiple bras to allow the elastic to recover
  • When washing bras, always fasten hooks, hand wash or use a mesh bag in the machine on a delicate cycle, and use mild detergent
  • For drying, lay bras flat on a towel or hang them, never use the clothes dryer as it can distort shape and damage the materials

Knowing How to Wash Bras Properly – Frequently Asked Questions

How do you deep clean a bra?

To deep clean a bra, soak it in a soapy solution (we recommend using ACTIVE Detergent) for 15 to 20 minutes before massaging the fabric to remove any oils and dirt.

Is it better to hand-wash or machine-wash bras?

It’s better to hand wash bras to extend their lifespan. With that said, you can put them in the washing machine as long as you use a mesh lingerie bag.

How often should I wash my bras?

Ideally, you want to wash your bras every two to four wears, or more frequently if you sweat a lot or experience skin irritation or infection.

How should I dry my bras?

We recommend air-drying your bras by laying them flat on a towel or hanging them up to avoid damage.

How should I store my bras?

Keep them upright and nested inside each other, and avoid inverting the cups of molded bras to maintain their shape. Consider using drawer organizers to minimize damage and keep bras sorted by type.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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