When was the last time you washed your bras? If you’re like most people, you’re probably furrowing your brow and racking your brain trying to remember when you last laundered your boulder holders. It’s very common for women to infrequently — or never! — wash their bras.

There’s no absolute rule when it comes to the frequency with which you wash your bras. Which probably sounds like great news, until I add this: You’re probably still not washing them often enough.

The reason why rules along the lines of “wash your bra once a week” can’t be assigned to these kinds of things, is that every woman’s bra wardrobe — which is a term I absolutely LOVE and encourage you all to adopt! — is different, as is the way in she makes use of that wardrobe.

Ideally, a bra shouldn’t be worn two days in a row. Giving your bra a day off in between wearings will help to extend its life, because the elastic that holds your girls in place will break down over time due to exposure to both body oils and heat.

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Rotating your bras will also allow you to adopt one very good habit that will help to both lengthen the lifespan of your bra and reduce the frequency with which you’ll need to launder the thing: Rinse it. That’s all! Take it right into the shower with you, even!

Regularly rinsing a bra — just rinsing it with water, no detergent necessary — will wick away some of the build-up of body oils and dead skin, which will mean less actual washing is required. This is a good thing not only for your own personal time management, but for the bras themselves. This is especially true of bras that have padding, which shouldn’t be overwashed to help to prevent the padding from breaking down.

Even if you adopt a regular bra rinsing habit, you’ll still need to launder them. A good rule of thumb is to wash your bra every 3 to 6 wearings. If you rinse regularly, your washing cycle will fall more toward the 6 wearings end of things. However, during certain times of the year, like summer when sweat tends to trickle and pool in the front gore of your bra, you’ll probably find that you want to wash your bras more frequently. There’s wiggle room, is what I’m trying to say to you. But it’s a good idea to develop a general bra washing cycle that works for you.

When it comes to laundering a bra, hand washing is absolutely ideal. But machine washing is also a fine option — and one that’s much more realistic for most people. If you do choose to machine wash, there are some specific choices you should make:

  1. Put the bras into a mesh bag to help protect the straps from becoming tangled with other garments, which will lead to stretching.
  2. Wash the bras using cold water.
  3. Choose the delicate cycle.
  4. Use a mild detergent, and be careful not to use too much of it. Detergent overdosing will result in a bra that doesn’t get fully rinsed of soap, which can lead to skin irritation and will cause the bra’s elastic to break down over time.

When it comes to drying a bra, air drying is always the best choice. Be sure to lay it flat or hang it by the center gore, rather than by the straps, to prevent stretching.

Now get out there and wash your bras! They’ll thank you for it.

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