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How Often Should You Change Your Bra?

Once a day? Once a week? Once a month? Let's get to the bottom of this question!

Belle-Lingerie03 December 2022

Image alt text: A red bra hanging from a washing line outside on a sunny day.

How Often Should You Change Your Bra?

For many, bras are a staple of our wardrobes that we wear day in, and day out. Knowing how to take care of the things we use every day is important, but it’s just as vital to know when an item needs to be replaced. Using an old or worn-out bra can reduce the amount of support and comfort you get from it, so why not swap it out for a new one?

How often are you supposed to change your bra? 

Generally speaking, you should throw out an old bra and replace it with a new one after 6 to 12 months of use. However, this number naturally varies depending on how often you wear the bra, how long you wear it at a time and how well you look after them in between. To apply it to a non-linear timescale, 6 months of wear might be translated as around 180 uses. This, however, isn’t really helpful unless you track every use of each bra to keep count.

A better way to tell if you need a replacement bra might be to pay attention to how it feels and whether or not it’s still giving you the support you need. This way, you can avoid throwing out perfectly functional bras that are lasting longer than expected. It can also help you to justify getting rid of a newer bra that just isn’t working for you anymore. So, what are the symptoms of a worn-out bra?

When The Back Is Too Loose

Over time, the back strap of a bra will stretch out and become loose. This isn’t always a problem, as the nature of the hook and eye clasp allows you to tighten the fit to your preferences. However, at some point, even the tightest fit will no longer feel snug - which means it’s time to replace your bra.

When The Cups Are Stretched Out

If the cups of your bra no longer fit properly, it’s usually a good sign that you need to get a new one. The cups will naturally stretch out over time, but you might also notice the cups feeling too big if you’ve recently lost weight. Don’t hang onto the bra just because it isn’t worn out - if it doesn’t fit, it’s not right for you.

When The Straps Are Falling Down

Loose straps aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re annoying too. Constantly having to pull your bra straps back over your shoulders can be embarrassing if you’re in public, and outright irritating even when you’re at home. If your straps aren’t staying in place, it’s a sure sign that your bra is no longer giving you the support that you need. It can also be a sign that your bra is too big - a common side effect of significant weight loss. 

So how loose is too loose? Well, the usual recommendation to help you know if you have the right fit is to make sure you can fit two fingers between your shoulder and the strap. If you feel like you need the straps tighter than this, it could mean you need a smaller bra to give your breasts the proper support. Your straps shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or dig into your shoulders - if they do, you ought to get a more suitable bra as soon as you can.

When It Digs In Or Leaves Marks On Your Skin

Although people joke about the relief of taking off a bra at the end of the day, wearing a bra shouldn’t be painful or uncomfortable. If your bra is tight enough that it’s leaving marks on your skin even on the loosest hook, it’s a good idea to try a larger bra. You should also get a larger bra if you notice the cups are too small, giving your breasts a tendency to ‘spill over’. 

Another sign it’s time to get a new bra is when the underwire begins to dig in or even pokes out of the fabric. If you’re handy with a needle, you might be able to return it to its place and sew the hole shut, but this is just a temporary fix. If you don’t replace the bra with a new one, you’ll soon find yourself suffering that sharp, stabbing pain all over again. 

When It Becomes Discoloured

Like with any item of clothing, when the colour starts to fade out of your bra, it’s a good sign you should be shopping for a new one. This happens naturally over time but might happen quicker if you machine wash your bras or dry them in the sunshine. It can also happen when the fabric starts to break down. If your bra has lost its stretch or you notice strands of elastic peeping out, it’s time to say goodbye to it.

How Often Should You Wash A Bra?

As a rule of thumb, it’s advised that you should wash your bra every two to three uses. However, this isn’t an exact science, and it’s important to think about what really classes as one use. The reason we wash our bras is to get rid of all the sweat, bacteria, and oils that have built up while we’ve been wearing them. What’s vital to remember is that not all days are the same - and days, where you sweat more, may count as more uses from a washing perspective. 

For example, if you’ve spent the day sitting down in an air-conditioned office and generally not doing much sweating, you can probably wear the same bra another one or two times before washing it. On the other hand, if you’ve been hiking or rushing around all day, that might count as double or triple wear. Also, hot or humid weather makes you sweat more, so in the summer months, you might need to wash your bras more often to keep them clean.

Looking after your current bras and getting rid of worn-out ones is the best way to ensure you’re getting the support you need from your underwear. But just because they aren’t serving their original purpose anymore, doesn’t mean your old bras can’t continue to be useful. Before you throw them in the bin, consider recycling your old bras for a more environmentally friendly alternative.




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