As a woman, bras have become an essential (and expensive) part of my wardrobe. What is interesting about proper bra maintenance is that while a lot of it makes sense, it is not commonly known. For the longest time, I stuck my bras in the washer with my t-shirts and jeans. I dried them on high heat in the dryer. They’re just articles of clothing, right? They’ll last. The straps are always the first to go.
Yeah, no. Bras actually require specific maintenance. And what a difference it makes in use-life.
Making sure bras last as long as possible is an essential part of the clothing maintenance process. It’s pretty important to take heed that storing and cleaning your bra as you do your t-shirt could result in a shorter life span than you’d like.
I have read on various websites about different ways of storing your bras. There is a general consensus, and from what I’ve observed in lingerie stores as well, is that inverting cups/folding molded cups is really bad for bras. This actually causes the bra to eventually lose its shape a lot quicker than if you were to spread it out flat (cups as they’re supposed to be) in a drawer or on a shelf. If you haven’t got the drawer space for that, then hanging up the bras on the J-hooks of your hanger also works. Hanging your bra is better than squishing it in the underwear drawer. It needs its space.
Washing Your Bra
You’ve got two options for washing your bra: Hand-Washing or Machine-Wash on delicate/hand-wash. I’ve seen recommendations for special lingerie detergent or using a little less than the recommended amount of regular detergent for delicates because it won’t negatively affect the elasticity or the mold. When hand-washing, it’s recommended to let the bras soak in the soapy water for 5 minutes before rinsing. This allows the soap to soak into all the fibers of the bra.
If you choose to machine-wash instead, it’s recommended that you hook the hooks and eyes of your bras and put them in lingerie bags. If you don’t have one and/or can’t afford one, then you can simply hook the bra and throw it in with your delicates and wash them. Be sure to put it on handwash/delicate cycle using cold water only. Warm water will shrink the cotton in the mold and cause the underwire to pop out.
DO NOT put your bras in the dryer. The heat destroys the elastic qualities and eventually the molded cup will no longer maintain its shape. The best way to dry them is either laying it flat on a surface, or hanging it on your shower rod by the centerpiece. When drying, never hang your bra by the straps because that will stretch out the straps as well as the fabric of the cups.
Taking these extra steps can result in long run improvements not only in the length of use of your bra but also in your wallet because you won’t have to replace as often.
Here are some extra links that you can look at (and that I’ve looked at) for more details: