How to Wash a Bra
Knowing how to wash your bras properly prevents your bras from getting damaged, and extends the comfort and life of your bra. Hand washing your bras is the safest way, but if you must use a washing machine, there are some approaches to do so safely.
Washing a Bra by Hand
Fill a sink with warm water and add some mild detergent. Unless you are washing a great number of hand-wash items, you will only need between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of detergent. If you do not have a sink, you can use a bucket instead. Be sure that you are using an alcohol-free detergent intended for hand washing garments. If you do not have any mild detergents at home, you can easily make one of your own:
- Combine 1 cup (240 milliliters) of hot water, 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo, and 1 to 2 drops essential oil (such as lavender or chamomile). Fill a sink or bucket with lukewarm water, then add your homemade detergent.
- Dilute some liquid castile soap with water, and add it to a sink or bucket filled with warm water.
Mix the detergent into the water. Do this by swishing your hand around in the water. Keep doing this until you get some bubbles and foam. Do not get concerned if there is not a lot of foam; too many suds will not only not clean better, but wastes detergent, and makes rinsing a longer process.
Add the bras in. Try to wash similar colors together, especially cotton bras, as dark colors can discolor light colors. Bras made of synthetic materials can typically be washed together without fear of "bleeding".
Let the bras sit in the soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the detergent to dissolve any oils or dirt. For particularly dirty bras, leave them in the water for one hour.
Swish and squish the bras. This helps loosen and dirt and oils. The water will be pretty murky by now.
Drain the dirty water and rinse the bras with clean water. Do this until the water runs clear. Consider rinsing them in the bathtub, which will give you more space.
Repeat the soapy water bath and rinsing for very dirty bras. If your bras have not been washed in a while, you may need to give them another soak in fresh, soapy water; do not use the old, dirty water again. Be sure to rinse the bras well, until there is no soap left.
Press the bras between two towels to remove any moisture. Lay the bra down on a towel, and cover it with another towel. Press down on the bra and towel. Do not squeeze or wring the bra.
Reshape the cups and let the bra air dry. You can either hang the bra up or you can lay it down on a clean, dry towel. If you choose to hang the bra to dry, do not hang it by the straps, as this will cause them to stretch. Instead, drape the bra by the middle over a clothesline or a drying rack. You can also clip the band of the bra to a hanger.
Washing a Bra in the Washing Machine
Close the claps and hooks. If you do not close your bra, the hooks will often catch on other items in the wash and may rip them, or the hooks may deform. Straps can sometimes tangle on other laundry items, which may put stress on them. If your bra does not have any closures (such as a sports bra), then do not worry about this.
Put the bra in a mesh lingerie bag. This will prevent the bra from getting tangled in other items. It will also protect it from rougher items, such as jeans. It can also be handy for sorting later.
Put the bra into the washing machine with similar colors. If you are washing your bra at the same time as the rest of the laundry, make sure that you are not mixing colors. Wash white bras with other white clothes. Be sure to wash light-colored bras (such as beige and pastels) with other light-colored clothes, and to wash dark-colored bras (such as navy and black) with other dark-colored clothes. Mixing colors can cause dyes to bleed, which results in faded and murky colors.
Consider putting the bra in with fabrics with other lightweight items. Try to wash your bras with lighter-weight items, such as t-shirts, underwear, socks, and pajamas. Jeans and towels are much heavier than bras and could damage them.
Wash the bra using a mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Be sure to use cold water, as hot water can weaken the fibers and cause the straps to become less stretchy. Do not use any strong detergents; strong detergents can eat away at the fibers and make the fabric weaker over time and can deteriorate the fabric.
Reshape the bra cups once the cycle is done, if needed. Take the bra out of the mesh bag, and press on the inside of the cup until it pops back out to its original shape. This is typically more needed for padded or shaping bras.
- If the bra is soaking and dripping wet, do not wring or twist them; instead, put the bra between two towels, and press down on the towels to remove any excess moisture
Air dry the bra. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat will cause the bra straps to stretch and lose their elasticity. You can air dry the bra by draping it across a drying rack or clothesline. You can also clip the band of the bra to a hanger, and hang it up to dry. Do not hang the bra by the straps; this will cause the bra straps to stretch too much. If you do not have any spare hangers, clotheslines, or drying racks, you can lay the bra out flat on a clean, dry towel.
- If you must use a dryer, ideally use the "no heat" setting. Be sure to keep the bra in its mesh bag to prevent any tangling.
- Putting a bra in a hot or warm dryer will not likely do immediate harm. If this does happen, there is usually no reason to panic. This is not ideal treatment, but rarely causes a bra to become unusable.