You're Not Washing Your Bras Enough

by Tori Telfer

Um… do you wash your bras by hand with mild soap and lay them flat to dry? ME NEITHER, SISTER. Me neither. Pick one and it's probably the truth: A) I never wash them. B) If I do, I throw 'em in with the rest of my plebeian laundry. C) What's a bra?

But this is one of those Things You're Supposed to Know When You Become a Total Adult. First of all, bras are constantly absorbing your body's sweat, oils, and dirt, not to mention their creepy proximity to your armpits. So there's that. Secondly, if you don't wash your bras properly, they'll wear out faster, and you'll find yourself at Victoria's Secret once again, cursing an industry that managed to make such tiny, lacy things so incredibly expensive. Unfortunately, this is a textbook case of an ounce of soapy prevention being worth a pound of cure.

Cheap bras:

We're talking about your sports bras, your t-shirt bras, your 2-for-$10 Target bras (just kidding, I've never seen a bra that cheap).

1. Throw them into the washing machine on the delicate cycle. If you're like me and have literally never used the delicate cycle before, think of this as an exciting new experience you get to cross off your bucket list.

2. Use a laundry bag if you're worried about tearing and tangling. Those pesky little bra hooks sure can wreck the rest of your laundry. If you don't have any laundry bags, hook each bra closed before washing, so the hooks don't accidentally snag anything and the straps don't get tangled.

3. Use a gentle detergent. An organic baby one, perhaps?

4. Lay or hang to dry. But first, reshape the cups.

Delicates Laundry Bags, $16, Amazon

Babyganics Detergent, $17, Amazon

Expensive bras:

These are the $50 Victoria's Secret finds, the $250 La Perla indulgences, and the crispy vintage ones that you couldn't resist snapping up, you weirdo.

1. Wash nice bras by hand. For bourgeoisie bras, you gotta give them a gentle, spa-like treatment. Fill the sink with cool water. Add a mild detergent. Let the bras sink slowly into the sudsy depths.

2. Let them soak. Like a true Marie Antoinette figurehead, abandon your bras to their own devices as you attend solely to your own needs. Eat a cupcake. Bath in goat's milk. Take a lover. (I'm a little rusty on my French Revolution-era factoids.)

3. Massage them gently. After about 5-10 minutes of soaking, gently slosh around the bras, paying special attention to any sweaty/stained areas.

4. Lay or hang to dry. Trust me, there's a scene in Sex and the City where Carrie does the exact same thing, and it looks kind of glamorous.

How often should you wash them?

I wish I had better news for you, but the gurus of the Internet seem to agree that you should wash your bras every 2-5 wears. I know: what? I know: ugh. It sounds not only ridiculous but implausible. Here's a more realistic starting point: let's all agree to start washing our bras more than we do now.