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How Often Should You Wash Your Bras?

BY: | 8.27.2015 |

If you’ve never wondered how often you need to wash your bra, you probably don’t wear one. It’s a white-hot (OK, warm) controversy. Google “bra washing,” and you’ll find yourself transported down a rabbit hole, one where experts recommend a wash every two wears, every six wears, and everywhere in between.

We decided to get to the bottom of this issue once and for all, so we spoke with an expert: Lauren Malacsina, the owner of L.A. Boudoir Miami. We also polled our writers and editors to find out how real people handle the chore.

Behold! Everything you ever wanted to know about how to wash bras.

How often should you wash your bras?

According to Lauren, you should wash sports bras every wear and day-to-day bras every two wears. Otherwise, “they’ll deteriorate. … The elasticity loses its strength, and it’s all misshapen and doesn’t support and just doesn’t look right.”

How often do people actually wash their bras?

The median Groupon Guide staffer washes her bra after 5–6 wears; the average was thrown off by a few outliers who didn’t know. As one person put it: “I rarely wash my bras because I’m too lazy to hand-wash them and I feel like machine washing ruins them.. How much should I be doing it? No one’s ever told me. … I should note that I’m single, which makes me pretty indifferent about my underwear’s condition.”

Another respondent said they simply wash their bras “when they start looking [or] smelling funky. This could be 30+ wears; I have no idea.”

Wait. Can bras still be dirty if they don’t smell?

Yes. “You also have to consider chafing,” Lauren said. “You lose dead skin every day, so you do also have buildup of [that]. You might not see it, it’s [microscopic].”

How should you wash them?

Lauren recommended washing sports bras, and bras that are “heavy duty, more for support,” in thewashing machine. She suggested using the delicate cycle and putting them in a mesh lingerie bag for protection.

A Groupon respondent seconds the lingerie-bag tip: “I’ve never had problems washing my bras in a washing machine in a lingerie bag, even though the instructions always say to hand wash. But never put them in the dryer [after]; the heat will destroy the elastic.”

For more delicate bras, such as silk ones and bras that are “heavily adorned” with rhinestones and crystals, Lauren recommended hand-washing. Use a detergent that’s designed for delicates or silks.

What if you’re using a washing machine and you’re worried about the cups losing their shape? Anything extra you can do?

To enhance the lingerie bag’s protection, “you could put socks in [the cups],” Lauren said. “Just kind of stuff it with socks.” That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone—you’re cleaning your socks and your bras simultaneously!

Just don’t use ski socks, she added. They’re a bit too chunky.

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