How {And How Often} To Wash Your Bras

caring for bras Sorry guys….this is definitely a “girly post” today. Consider yourselves officially excused for the day. ;-)

Of course if you are in a relationship with a female and want to SHARE this valuable information, I guarantee  you will score some MAJOR relationship points! haha….like how I tried to guilt you into reading this?  I’m sneaky that way.

Anyway…back to bras.  Let’s face it….good bras aren’t cheap! However, I personally think they are worth their weight in GOLD!

Let me tell you why I think so……..

A few months ago I finally forced myself to go to Victoria’s Secret for a professional “bra-fitting session” (something I had been procrastinating for like….FOREVER!) and shelled out close to $100.00 for TWO bras!! Outrageous, right??? Well, yes….and no.  That night, the hubster (who, bless his heart, isn’t the most OBSERVANT man on the planet) couldn’t get over the “transformation”!  lol.  After that experience I decided a “good bra” (whether it’s V.S. or something else) is definitely a worthwhile investment.

But after forking over that kind of moolah…you definitely want to take good care of your investment! On average, a good bra should last six months to two years, but improperly washing your bras can cause all kinds of tragic results and a much shorter life-span. PROPERLY washing them will help our bras last as long as possible.

 caring for bras

How To Wash Your Bras:

caring for bras You’ll want to use cool water, a gentle detergent or soap, and a delicate wash cycle or hand washing. There are commercial soaps made for delicates, like Woolite, but you can easily make your own.

Option #1:

Homemade Wash for Delicates
One cup hot water
1 teaspoon baby shampoo
One to two drops essential oil

Heat water in a microwaveable cup. Add remaining ingredients and stir briskly until well mixed. Pour the solution into a sink of lukewarm water by swishing your hand through the water. Hand wash your wool items and then rinse well.

Option #2:

Use Fels Naptha or Castile Soap. Simply dilute the soaps with water and use it in the gentle cycle or for hand-washing.


If you are washing a sports bra or a very basic bra, washing on the gentle cycle in your washing machine should be fine. Using a fine mesh washing bag (so hooks can’t get through) is recommended  — it removes the risk of tangling and snagging.

When the washing machine cycle’s complete, remove your bra(s) from the bag, reshape, and lay flat to dry. Never, ever, under any circumstances put your bras in the dryer! The heat will deform the garment, damage the fabric and decrease the elasticity.

 caring for bras

If you are washing one of your EXPENSIVE bras, you definitely want to invest in some quality hand-washing time.
  • Fill the sink or other basin with lukewarm water (or the temperature indicated on the fabric care label).
  • Add a small amount of mild soap/detergent into the water. (see “recipes” above)
  • Fasten all closures; turn the item inside out. Immerse it in the sudsy water. Let soak for five minutes.
  • Carefully knead the garment while immersed. Soak another few minutes.
  • Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean water, kneading the fabric again. Repeat this step until no soap remains in the fabric.
  • Drain the basin again and gently press any excess water from the fabric. Do not wring the material.
  • Lay the item flat on a dry towel, then roll the two together, squeezing the towel gently.
  • Spread the fabric out flat on a second towel and allow it to air dry.
I know it seems like a lot of work…but trust me on this one…your bras will love you and “support” you for a good, long time if you will just give them a little T.L.C.


caring for bras



And finally….the burning question that I’m sure everyone is wondering about…how OFTEN should you wash your bras?

Well, most lingerie professionals say that while you don’t have to wash your bras after every wearing, you should wash after 2-4 wearings (allowing each bra at least one day of rest in between each wearing). Of course you’ll probably want to wash more frequently if you’ve been sweating excessively or wearing perfumes or lotions, but the best advice I can give is…use your own good judgement. :-)  How’s that for getting myself off the hook?


Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter10Pin on Pinterest8.4kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Jillian says

    I use an old salad spinner to ‘spin dry’ all my hand washables (it’s reserved for this use only)…

  2. CarolG says

    Oh Jillee…at $100 for 2 you got off easy! I have a prosthetic and a really good bra can cost over $100 for one, especially if I want a pretty one. Yes, my bras are treated with kid gloves!

  3. Lindsay says

    I recently had to go get refitted since pregnancy changed my chest dramatically. I went to Dillard’s instead of VS because unfortunately, they don’t carry extended sizes. While the woman in the bra section tried to be helpful, she kept giving me bras that clearly did not fit, despite the “size” listed on the tag. After about 25 mins I went and grabbed 5 different bras from 5 different brands in the “same” size. Only 1 of them fit without squishing me or making me overfill the cup. Point is, different brands DO have different sizes. Try a few out and see what is comfortable. I spent $65 on two department store bras (thanks to a sale) instead of wasting my money on stuff that didn’t fit.

    • JoAnna from Idaho says

      I too am very full sized try Lane Bryant, they are spendy but cheaper or in line with the prices quoted here and they have good sales frequently. I have never been happier with my bras as I am now.

      • Katy says

        I’m disproportionately petite – a 30D. Yes, you read that right. I bought my first correctly-sized bra (I was wearing a 34B for AGES!) just a few years ago at Dillards because they were the only ones who carried that size in my budget. Then I found – they carry tons of odd sizes and often have super good sales! I do actually order the “sister size” 32C from them – they’re a UK company and seem to run a bit on the small size, so their 32C fits me like 30D should. Hope that helps!

      • Cherie says

        I second the recommendation for I’m a 32G, and there are very few American companies that make anything close to that size. British sizing is a little different, so I definitely recommend getting fitted at one of the boutique style stores that are here in the US (most stock brands like Fantasie and Freya, which are pretty good guides for British sizing). You can find something that’s not a push up (obviously completely unnecessary for me). And best of all no one will try to convince you to go up in band size to make up the difference in cup sizes.

      • Beth says

        I also love Since I found them about 7 years ago, it’s the only place I buy my bras. Not only am I an odd size (32H), but I live in an area where there aren’t any specialty stores to get a fitting (no offense, but Victoria Secret doesn’t count). I usually have to order and try on 3 bras for every 1 I keep. Figleaves has prepaid return/exchange labels included in every shipment, and I’ve never had any trouble getting refunded.

      • Amanda says

        Layne Bryant bras are actually made by Victoria’s Secret, that’s part of why Victoria’s Secret doesn’t carry extended sizes!

      • StoneMaven says

        For those of us who haven’t been able to buy off the rack in more than a decade (Back when I used to be a DD, thanks kids!) I recommend Figleaves dot com. They carry up to a J cup (what I expanded to when I was feeding my last son) to the 42-H I wear now. They have a decent return policy so I can order a few different styles to try. I REALLY miss being able to walk into a Layne Bryant or even Penny’s to try on bras.

    • Cydne says

      I second the different lines, different sizes bit.
      I am bigger sized at Victoria Secret & in Maidenform bras than my measurements would indicate. Other brands seem a little closer, but even within the same brand different styles can fit differently.

  4. says

    I live in San Antonio–I have to wash them after one wearing! And they go in the washing machine with other cold-water clothes, then I hang them up (all on one hanger with on arm hole through the top of hanger). But I don’t wear underwire (and I’m a 40DDD) because then I feel like I’m wearing a vest instead of a bra. The only bra I spend a lot of money on is my “Shock Absorber” sports bra that I wouldn’t be able to run without. And that one goes in the washer, too.

  5. Denise says

    There are several private salons that you can also go to which carries lingerie priced in line with VS. When visiting a friend in Virginia, she treated me to a fitting at an awesome store called the Full Cup. It was truly a pampered session. I have never spent that much on a bra before but I absolutely did not feel guilty. The “girls” definitely appreciated it.

  6. Katherine says

    I used to work at VS in the intimates department (yes, there are other departments of VS- PINK, cosmetics, cash wrap, etc) and used to do bra fittings all the time. My training for doing bra fittings? About 20 minutes in the back room and some practice fittings with other associates. Not all VS employees are created equal. Find the most senior associate (or usually the bra specialist near the dressing room) to do a bra fitting- they have the most experience. They should ask you about what size bra you are currently wearing, how tight the band feels, whether your bra digs into your shoulders, if you have trouble filling the cup (or overfill) and what type of effect you are going for. I will tell you that most people don’t like what size bra we fit you as- vanity numbers exist in bras as well as jeans. But it is important to know that there are “sister” sizes to bras. A 34C can be swapped with a 32D or a 36B, so just because you may not see a bra you like in your size, you may be able to find one in your sister size and it may fit just as fine.

    I have a large collection of bras and I usually wear each one 3 times before I wash it (unless its a sports bra- which you STILL don’t put in the dryer just because its squishy and doesn’t have a wire in it). Everyone’s bra tastes are different- my favorite bra isn’t cute but it gives me lift and support, doesn’t hurt my shoulders (try the Incredible bra at VS if you have that issue- self adjusting straps!), and it is comfortable all day long. A good bra can really make an outfit look great. They are worth the money and will go a long way if you treat them right.

  7. Debbie Shannon says

    I’ve rolled my underwire bras in towels. It’s more like folding it because obviously the underwire doesn’t give. It’s pretty easy to figure out. In the past couple years I’ve changed my bra washing and wearing habits and the fall exactly in line with your recommendations. Guess I can pat myself on the back?

  8. Heather says

    Thanks for this GREAT idea! It’s always been a puzzler to me! I’m especially going to share this with my 3 sisters! They’ll love it. Another home run Jillee!

  9. Ashley says

    This might be an odd question, but how would you go about the “rolling it in the towel of it all” If you have underwire?

    • says

      Like Debbie said below, it’s more of a “loosely folding” of the bra inside of the dry towel. You obviously don’t want to roll it tightly if there’s an underwire in it. I think the word GENTLE is the key in caring for your bras. :-) Hope this helps!

  10. Josie says

    I usually wait until I’m down to my ratty old bottom-of-the-drawer bra and then do a big sinkload at once. Because there are a bunch of them, I put them in the washer for a final spin ONLY then re-shape cups and dry appropriately. The spin step definitely cuts down on drying time, and non-drippy bras mean I can hang them in the bedroom in private instead of in the shower for anyone to ogle. I’m not sure if the spin does any horrible damage, but I only recently started hand-washing them, so any reduction of washer-time is a plus.