How often do you wash your bras? A recent survey by cleaning firm Dr Beckmann found that British women only wash their bras six times a year! Of course, this may not be a problem at all if you own a large number of bras – the more bras you own, the fewer times you’d be wearing them between your bimonthly launderings. But the same survey found that women own about 16 bras and wear them, on average, 7 times before bothering to wash them. Even Vivienne Westwood (right) has admitted that she never washes her bras!
Most lingerie professionals agree that while you don’t have to wash your bras after every wearing, you should wash after 2-4 wearings (allowing each bra at least one day of rest in between each wearing). Of course, you should use your own good judgement with this – you’ll have to wash more frequently if you’ve been sweating excessively or wearing perfumes or lotions. When laundry day does come around, a good rule of thumb is to hand wash using a detergent specifically made for lingerie (I like Forever New) – but be sure to check your bra’s care instructions first. A good lingerie detergent will actually help your bras stay in good condition for a longer time because it will help revitalize the elastic.
If you must wash your bras in a washing machine (which is not as good as hand washing!), be sure to fasten the hooks and put them in a lingerie bag. Set your washer to the most delicate cycle and use cool water. Most lingerie detergents will have machine washing instructions on them, so be sure to consult the bottle. After the washing cycle is complete, hang your bras or lay them flat to dry. Never ever put your bras in the dryer! The heat will destroy the elastic and your bras will die an early death!
Looking for lingerie bags or lingerie detergent? You can find them at Figleaves (UK/US), HerRoom, BareNecessities (they’re having a sale on their brand of lingerie wash right now!), Freshpair, or most other intimate apparel retailers.