How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Bras?

Regular washing of bras is more important than many imagine. We'll tell you how often you should do it here.
How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Bras?
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 27 June, 2023

Many women have doubts about the ideal amount to wash their bras. Some do it after each use, while others decide to wear them several times before carrying out this task. The truth is that the frequency of washing is determined by several factors.

However, it’s not advisable to wait until the dirt is evident. Although it’s not always visible to the naked eye, clothes accumulate dead cells, microorganisms, and sweat residues that facilitate the development of infections and skin discomfort.

Are you interested in knowing more about it? Read on!

Why should bras be washed regularly?

Bras are one of the intimate garments most used by women; they provide support to the bust, besides contributing to well-being. An article published by Hunimed University suggests that their use can improve posture and help prevent spinal problems.

Even so, wearing them can cause problems when they’re not properly cared for. In this regard, special attention should be paid to the frequency of washing, as this is a garment that has direct contact with an area of the skin where there is a tendency for sweat and bacteria to accumulate.

Dermatologist Alok Vij explains in a publication by the Cleveland Clinic that keeping the bra “healthy” involves balancing the care of its fabric with the removal of sweat and oil residues from the skin. Regarding this, he warns:

All the dead skin cells, oils, and sweat trapped under the bra create a cesspool of bacteria and yeast.

~ Alok Vij ~

Thus, if the garment is not washed on a regular basis, it causes discomfort that goes beyond stains or bad odor. To be more precise, it can lead to skin irritations, rashes, and even bacterial and fungal infections.

In addition to this, body heat impacts the fabric and tends to alter its shape. Therefore, it’s recommended to let them rest between uses and wash them regularly so that they remain in good condition and fulfill their function.

So, how often should you wash your bras?

The short answer to this question is: it depends.

As we have mentioned, there are several factors that determine the need to wash the garment after each use or after several wears. In general, if they’re light-colored or have been exposed to sweat, it will be necessary to wash them immediately.

On the other hand, if they’re used only a few hours a day and there was no profuse sweating, it’s possible to repeat their use without any inconvenience. According to Dr. Vij of the Cleveland Clinic, washing can be done after two or three uses. A little more, if the garment was used only in a specific moment.

A good idea is to rotate the bras to prevent their cups and straps from dilating or losing elasticity due to body heat. In other words, instead of wearing the same bra for two or three days in a row before washing it, alternate with another one.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: Learn How to Wash a Newborn’s Clothes to Prevent Skin Irritation

Do the same rules apply to sports bras?

Of course the answer is no.

During sports activities, more sweat is usually expelled; in addition, the warm environment creates an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi. That said, it’s best to limit their use to a single use.

Is it good to wash bras after each use?

Some people prefer to wash their bras after each use, without exception. The drawback is that this accelerates the deterioration of fabrics and elastics, thus decreasing their lifespan. So, as long as it can be used two or three times, it’s better.

Tips for washing your bras correctly

One detail to keep in mind when washing bras is that they’re delicate garments. Regardless of whether they are lingerie or sports bras, it’s best to wash them by hand. Even so, with some care, it’s possible to put them in the washing machine.

Hand washing

  1. Add a small amount of detergent to a bucket and cover it with cold water.
  2. Then submerge the bra and gently shake it with your hands.
  3. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse well to remove all detergent.
  5. Carefully squeeze out excess water, but don’t wring or squeeze, as this may deform the garment.
  6. When hanging to dry, hang the bra by the center edge, rather than by the straps. Remember that the weight of a wet bra can ruin its elastic.

The trick for white or beige bras

If after regular washing your white or beige bras still have a dingy look, try improving their appearance with white vinegar, baking soda, and detergent.

  1. Place two tablespoons (30 grams) of each product in a bucket of water (enough to cover the bra).
  2. Insert the garment and let it soak for approximately 40 minutes.
  3. After the suggested time, rinse with plenty of water.
  4. Remove excess water and let them air dry.

Machine wash

  1. Be sure to fasten the bra straps so they don’t get caught on other garments.
  2. Place them in a mesh laundry bag to protect them from warping.
  3. Then put them in the gentlest cycle of your washing machine, always in cold water.
  4. Avoid using the dryer, as heat and vibration alter their elasticity. Instead, you can remove excess water with the help of a clean microfiber towel.
  5. In addition, you can stretch it out in the open air.

Other tips for washing bras

In addition to following the steps given in the above points, there are other general tips that can be applied. Consider the following:

  • Employ products for delicate garments. That is, opt for a mild or neutral soap. Very strong formulas may accelerate the deterioration of the garment.
  • Separate by color. As with the rest of the clothes, avoid washing colored and white clothes at the same time.
  • Read the washing instructions on the label. The recommendations may vary according to the materials of the garment. Therefore, it’s good to consider what the label says.
  • Store with care. When storing your bras in the closet, put them all in the same space, without weight on top.

Like this article? You may also like to read: The Advantages of Cotton Clothing and How to Wash It

How often should you change your bras?

There’s no exact time to change bras. This depends a lot on the quality of their manufacturing materials and the care given to them. Some bras need to be changed every 6 to 8 months, while others can last for more than a year.

To be more precise, it’s a good idea to take into account the condition of the padding of the cups, as well as the straps and the fabric. When these show some deterioration, it’s time to replace them. The same happens if the underwire comes out.

Don’t forget to wash your bras, and do it right

Sometimes, bras do not look dirty to the naked eye and do not emanate a bad odor. Hence, many choose to wear them over and over again before washing them. But although there are not always signs of soiling, it’s best to limit their use to two or three wearings.

Keep in mind that their fabrics can accumulate residues of sweat, dead cells, bacteria, fungi, and other forms of dirt that can lead to infections and skin problems. In addition, both under- and over-washing accelerate the deterioration of the garment.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.