Here's How Often You Should Wash Your Bras—and the Right Way to Do It

Washing and drying your bras properly will help keep the elasticity intact.

Close-Up Of Bra On Table
Photo: Alicia Sandlin / EyeEm / GETTY IMAGES

Bras are one of the hardest-working garments in your closet. Not only is a bra the foundation of any outfit, but it also helps keep your posture aligned throughout the day. Since bras sit right next to your skin, they easily pick up sweat and dead skin throughout the day. Washing your bra doesn't just remove these substances, it also keeps your bra's elasticity intact, which is necessary for its longevity.

How Often to Wash Your Bras

How frequently you wash your bras depends on how many you have in your arsenal. As a general rule, you should never wear the same bra two days in a row. "When you let your bra sit for one day, it allows the elasticity to shoot back into the band, prolonging the life," says Luz Cuevas, chief lingerie stylist at Rigby & Peller. The more bras you have in rotation, the longer you can prolong the wash. "So if a woman has three bras that she rotates, she can go three to four wears before washing," she says. That said, you should wash your bras more frequently when dirty, or after sweating in them, like during a particularly hot summer day.

How to Wash Bras by Hand

Some bras must be washed by hand, so be sure to check the care label to see if this is necessary for your intimates. "Bras with care labels that only allow hand washing are likely made of silk, which requires extra care and specialized detergents, or are constructed in a way that won't withstand machine washing, even in a mesh bag," says Mary Gagliardi, Clorox's in-house scientist and cleaning expert.

  1. Close any hooks and eyes on the bra.
  2. Add a tablespoon of detergent designed for delicates to a gallon of lukewarm water and swirl to mix.
  3. Gently submerge the bra in the cleaning solution and swirl gently—do not twist or wing the bra.
  4. Let the bra soak for five to 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully rinse to get rid of the detergent without twisting or wringing the bra.
  6. Roll the bra in a clean, dry towel, squeezing the towel to remove excess moisture.
  7. Reshape the cups if necessary.

How to Wash Bras in the Washing Machine

If you're too busy to hand wash, cleaning the bra in your washing machine is perfectly fine. "Close any hooks and eyes on the bra, then place in a mesh laundry bag," says Gagliardi. "Even sports bras without any closures should be washed in a mesh laundry bag to prevent twisting and stretching during the machine wash cycle."

  1. Close any hooks and eyes on the bra.
  2. Place it in a mesh bag.
  3. Select the delicate cycle on your washing machine.
  4. Use cold water and a detergent designed for delicates.
  5. When the cycle finishes, remove the bra from the mesh bag and reshape the cups if needed.

How to Dry Bras

Bras should never go in the dryer. Even on low heat, dryers can warp the underwire in bras and damage the elastic in bands. Instead, gently press (never wring) out any excess water from the garment. "Bras should lay flat to dry on a clean, dry towel," says Gagliardi. If you need to hang your bras, make sure to never hang them by their straps as the weight of the wet fabric will cause the straps to stretch out.

What Detergent to Use When Washing Bras

Ordinary detergents break fibers in your lacy undergarments and destroy the elasticity in the band, so use a soap that's specially formulated for delicates. Cuevas' favorite detergent is from Forever New, an all-natural laundry care brand. "It actually maintains elasticity in the band," says Cuevas. "It makes your bra feel like it's new." You can also use the detergent on your nylons, leggings, swimwear, and any other garment that stretches.

How to Store Bras

Contrary to popular belief, you should not fold your bras in half and tuck one cup into the other. Instead, close the clasps and lay them nice and flat so they retain their shape. You should also avoid hanging your bras by their straps or elastic bands to prevent them from stretching out over time.

Updated by
Tina Chadha

Tina is a former digital editor for

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