We recently spotted a discussion thread on Mumsnet.com entitled ‘AIBU to not wash my bra very often?’. This seemingly innocuous question has so far prompted going on for 400 responses. The originator of the discussion admitted that she only washed hers after approximately 10 wears and it’s fair to say that the majority of commenters were fairly horrified by that with many saying they should be washed after 2-3 wears and some even claiming that they should be treated like knickers and washed after every wear.
This overwhelming outpouring of horror at sub-standard bra laundering might suggest that this lady is a stinky-bra’d anomaly and that the vast majority of women are constantly wearing minty-fresh bras, but is this true? If we’re being really honest here, do we all wash our bras as often as we really should? And if not, why not?
We think that many women don’t wash their bras quite as often as they really should (and that they’re probably not commenting on the thread because they’re a bit embarrassed to admit it) and there are a couple of common reasons why they don’t.
The first is because it’s a bit of a pain. We all know that bras require a bit more effort than most laundry and, for busy people, hand washing is a faff. We therefore put it off and don’t bother doing it until we have a few items to do to ‘make it worthwhile’! That can mean bras get left for quite a while between washes.
The other is that we all have our favourites; the bras that are nice and comfortable, or look best under a range of clothes, or that don’t give us ‘double boobs’ or accentuate the back fat! When you have these old favourites, it can be hard to part with them while they’re in the wash – especially if you know you’re not going to get round to hand washing them for a few days.
How to look after your bra (and make it last longer!)
Common though these reasons are, there are solutions and the fact remains that bras really should be washed more regularly than you probably are (if you’re being completely honest!). Here are our best tips on striking the balance between hygiene, good bra maintenance and minimising workload!
- You should really be washing your bra after a couple of wears. Under arm and under boob areas can get quite sweaty and this will degrade the fabric over time. Washing also helps the fabric and elastic spring back to shape after being stretched by wearing so it will help them last longer
- Ideally you should be washing bras out by hand (especially underwired or bras with delicate lace or other details), however if life really is too short you can wash them in the machine as long as you follow some basic rules – wash them on a delicate cycle with other light items (not jeans or other heavy garments), wash them with items of similar colours, put them in a wash bag within the wash to stop them bouncing around the machine so much, fasten the clasp so it doesn’t snag and use a gentle detergent
- Always air dry your bras and ideally hang them somewhere. Tumble dryers will do them no favours. Re-shape the cups while wet
- Rinsing them in clean water between washes will help freshen them up. You can take them in the shower with you and hang in the bathroom to dry
- If you have space in your underwear drawer, lay them out without folding over. This will help them retain their shape
- In order to avoid the reluctance to part with your favourite bras while washing, ensure that you have a good selection of bras to wear. If you really do have a firm favourite that ticks all your boxes, buy a few of them
Wearing your bras for weeks and then tossing them in the wash with everything else may seem like the easiest option but actually, your bras will last much longer if you take a little bit of time to look after them (and you’re less likely to smell bad!).
If you’re now thinking you need to expand your range of bras, then our new arrivals or spring sale bargains are both good places to start!