Our relationships with our bras are complicated ones: They support us, give us killer cleavage, and can often be the make-or-break factor for an outfit. However, they are also a real b*tch to take care of, especially when they get — gasp — sweaty. But it really isn't that scary to clean bra sweat off of your favorite bralettes and bras.
I know, I know — the lacier and more beautiful a bra, the more intimidating it is to put it in the washing machine — especially if it's covered in sweat stains. The fear of ruining a bra is a very, very real one (especially if it's one of your favorites, or if you've invested a lot of $$$ into it) and if you're anything like me, it may make you try to avoid washing it at all costs (please tell me it's not just me...). But, there are certain, shall we say, sweaty situations that require immediate care.
Luckily, there are ways you can get the sweat out of your bra without risk of deforming it. To help ease all of your bra-washing fears, I spoke to experts from some of the top bra companies about their tips for how to properly take care of a bra, and how not to destroy it in the wash.
According to Pilar Quintana, Vice President of Merchandising and lingerie expert at Yandy.com, "Sweat happens! We live active lives. We get stressed. Getting sweat on our bras is often unavoidable. Just be sure to wash your bra immediately after wear to avoid any staining."
Now, do your nude everyday bra a favor and give the poor girl a break. She deserves a good, massaging hand wash.
Here are nine more essential tips for getting your bra in tip top shape again.
1. Always Hand Wash
Even if you're bra isn't super sweaty, it's important to take care of it the right way. "Hand washing and air drying bras is always the best option when laundering," says Quintana. "Often times, women will just throw their bras in the washing machine with their other delicates and think that it won't break them down and that's not the case." The only surefire way to protect the hooks and straps is to hand wash. And always, always (even if you don't hand wash!) be sure to drip dry.
2. Wash Immediately After Wearing
If you sweat in your bra, make sure you wash it as soon as you can after wearing it (so immediately after you take it off when you walk in the door after work). Wash it as you normally would (as in, by hand) and take extra care around the sweat marks.
3. Try Pre-Treating
Pretreat stains on those heavily worn (aka where you sweat the most) or super delicate areas like your straps, underwire, or lace with a stain remover, says Michelle Cordeiro Grant, the Founder and CEO of Lively. Even if stains aren’t visible yet, it’s better to be safe than sorry — that bra is too amazing to throw in the trash.
4. Keep Your Bras In Rotation
Even if you might have an all-time favorite, try not to wear the same bra every day. "By rotating them you get more wear out of them as the elasticity in them isn’t being stretched every day so by wearing them every other day you can actually prolong the life of your favorite bra," says Orit Hashay, CEO of Brayola.com.
5. Don't Dry Them In The Dryer
The washer isn’t the only danger to your delicates — the dryer can also do a number on your favorite lingerie. According to Cordeiro Grant, after you hand-wash your bra, you should lay it flat on a drying rack or hang over a waterproof surface. Do this at night, and in the morning you’ll have clean, dry bras and underwear like it was NBD.
6. Use Special Lingerie Wash
Any detergent that you would use with delicates will work for washing bras, but you should use the detergent sparingly, Quintana suggests. You can also buy a special lingerie wash that's specially formulated for cleaning delicate fabrics. These special washes will help prevent rips, pad deformation and bent wires, which are all sure-fire ways to ruin your day.
7. Try Hydroperoxide
Hashay suggests treating any really pesky sweat stains with Hypdroperoxide. Soak the bra in a detergent and water bath, and add hydroperoxide to the solution. Swirl the bra around in the soapy mixture, rinse, and hang to dry.
8. Scrub Sweat Stains, But Not Too Hard
"When removing any stains, sweat included, you may need to scrub a little harder," says Quintana. "But try not to rinse too aggressively to avoid breaking down the integrity of the cups and elastic." Scrub the stains carefully, while making sure to keep the form of the cups in tact.
9. Remember: All Bras Are Not Created Equally
Bralettes or bras without padding/underwire will not require the same type of detailed upkeep a standard bra would, says Quintana. They can be washed on a delicate cycle and don't need to be done by hand. Self adhesive and sports bras need a bit more upkeep, and should be washed after each wear.
Ready to treat your bras with the respect that they deserve? Follow these nine tips and your favorite bras will look and smell as fabulous as they did when you first bought them.
Images: Courtesy of Brands; Isla Murray/Bustle