Experts have lifted the lid on how often women should wash their bras – and the results may surprise many clean freaks. According to a textile expert, bras that are washed too frequently can become damaged, which causes them to lose elasticity and become less supportive, which can be harmful to the wearer.
‘Over-washing can damage the elasticity, which is essential for providing the proper support,’ Lexie Sachs, product analyst in the Textiles Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, told Cosmopolitan.
Unless you’re really sweaty, she suggests waiting three or four wears, approximately ten days depending on the wearer, before washing – but adds that this is also dependent on the activity level of the wearer.
So the sports bra that gets worn every day will need more frequent washes than the special occasion lacy balconette bustier that lives in the back of the drawer. ‘You should have several bras to rotate through to avoid stressing elastic over time, but wearing the same bra two days in a row isn’t an issue,’ says Sachs.
‘Taking it off at night should allow plenty of time for it to recover its shape and elasticity. If it can’t do that in eight to 12 hours, waiting an extra day won’t make a big difference.’ When it comes to washing, she recommends always checking the label – and if you must use the washing machine, it’s a good idea to always select the most delicate cycle available and use a gentle detergent such as Woolite.
She also suggests using a special mesh bag to stop the bra from twisting together. After the rinse cycle, women should avoid the dryer, and lay bras out flat to dry. Both dryer heat and hanging can cause the fabric to stretch out in weird ways.
Sachs say that this method is even a good idea for sports bras. Even though they seem sturdier, they require careful tending to keep them as supportive as possible. Finally, experts caution that storage is crucial.
Wearers should fold them in a similar manner to display shelves at lingerie stores, not crush them into tangled balls.