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hand washing bras

How do you wash your bras? Do you throw them in the washer or do you wash each one by hand? Do you hang them to dry or do you pop them in the dryer?

You’ve probably heard that proper lingerie care is crucial if you want your bras to last a long time. How you care for your bras (including how you store them!) has a direct impact on the lifespan and fit of your bras. A bra that is properly cared for will likely last you much longer than a bra that is washed and dried without care.

Well-made, high-quality bras should typically last you 6 months to one year. It might seem easier to just throw your bras in the washer and dryer, but it can actually end up costing you more in the long run. Damaged bras have to be replaced much more frequently than bras that are cared for. So by taking a few extra minutes to adjust the temp or the way you dry your bras, you can save yourself a trip to the lingerie store and a few hundred dollars every few months.

Wondering how to best care for your bras? Read on for the basic do’s and don’t’s of lingerie and bra care:


Do follow the bra’s care tag instructions

Before washing your bras, be sure to read the care instructions on the inner tags. Most bras can be washed in cool water with gentle detergent, but some require special care. The care tags will usually note the suggested water temperature, if you should hand wash, if you can iron them, or if they need to be dry cleaned.

If you’re still unsure how to care for the bra, you can always contact the brand directly and ask for some help. For Parfait bras, we recommend handwashing them in cool water with a detergent formulated for lingerie and laying them flat to dry with the cups facing up.

Do hand wash when you can

We always recommend handwashing when you can. Handwashing is a much gentler option than machine washing. Before washing your bras, separate your delicates from your jeans and shirts, hook each bra, and them in separate mesh lingerie bags. Wash with clothing in the same color family to prevent color bleeding and damage to lighter colors. For more on handwashing, check out our guide here.

Do wash your every day bras after every 2-3 wears

As long as you’re not wearing the same bra every day, most of your bras can be washed every 2-3 wears. Of course, you may find yourself washing them more often in the summer and if you sweat a lot. We recommend rotating between 2-4 bras each week, so you don’t wear the same bra two days in a row. Breaks between wear allow the elastic to retain its shape and keep your bras looking new for longer. Switching out your bras every day is a good thing!

Do wash your sports bras after every wear

Sports bras need to be washed more often than every day bras. Most sports bras can be machine washed, but check the care instructions first. If you machine wash, hook the bras, zip them up separately in mesh lingerie bags, add a gentle detergent, and wash in cold water on a short cycle for delicates.

Related: How To Wash Bras


Don’t use hot water to wash your bras

Hot water can shrink fabrics like cotton and ruin rayon, silk, and satin. Many fabrics are not designed to be washed in hot water. It’s best to stick with cool water instead. Also, don’t let your bras soak for too long – 10-15 minutes is more than enough time for them to sit in soapy water. And don’t forget to rinse them and pat them dry. Never wring them out. Twisting the fabric could bend the cups and do more harm than good.

Don’t throw your bras in the dryer

The heat from the dryer can do irreversible damage to delicate lingerie. It can warp and wrinkle cups, stretch out elastic bands and straps, and bend and rip hook and eye closures. Instead of throwing your bras in the dryer, we recommend laying them flat or hanging them to dry with the center front of the bra draped over the hanger.

Don’t hang your bras to dry by their straps

If laying your bras flat to dry isn’t an option, hanging them is the next best thing. Instead of hanging them by their straps, hang them by their center gore instead. The center front of the bra (the small part between the cups that looks like it joins them together) is typically made of a low-stretch or no stretch fabric and is often stabilized, so you don’t have to worry about it stretching out.

Bra straps, on the other hand, may stretch out from the weight of the hanging bra and can only be shortened so much. Once they’re stretched out, your only options are to take the bra to tailor to shorten the straps (or do the alteration yourself) or replace the bra with a new one.

Related: 5 Laundry Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Lingerie

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion this holiday season, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Parfait Matilda Contour Plunge Bra P5311 in Bisque | Parfait Charlotte Bikini 6905 in Bronze
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Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a full-time freelance writer, content manager, and founder of Katie Rose Creative. An experienced bra fitter, Katie has helped hundreds of people shop for lingerie. Her favorite bra is the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra.

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