How to Wash Bras

Chris Ondatje June 11, 2021
Full laundry basket



You know that having a clean bra is important for looking good, feeling good, and yes—smelling good, too. But it can be easy to make mistakes during washing that end up doing more harm than good

No one wants to find their bras are warped or worn after a trip in the washer and dryer. Not only is tossing a newish bra bad for your wallet, but it’s also bad for the environment. [You know what isn’t bad for the environment though? Bamboo bras!]

Correctly washing your bras is a necessary step in making sure that they live full and long lives. Rather than throwing them in the machine, take the right steps to make sure you’re taking care of your bras as much as they take care of you.

The Best Way to Wash Bras? By Hand

When it comes to underwire vs wireless bra styles, both types of bras have one thing in common - they’re delicate. Because bras are so delicate, they are important parts of our wardrobe that require special care. Hand washing plays a big role in maintaining the longevity of your best bras. Not sure how to go about hand washing bras? 

Set aside some time every couple of weeks to take the following steps for bra care.

Round Up Your Supplies

First, gather the following:

  • Mild detergent 
  • Sink, Bowl, or Basin of Water
  • Towels
  • Hangers or Drying Rack
bamboo bra

Get Squeaky Clean

Once the stage is ready, wash your bras as follows.

  1. Fill your container with cool or room temperature water. Avoid hot or lukewarm water, as higher temperatures can warp and damage the elastics in bras, changing their shape and fit.

  2. Add a small amount of detergent. A tablespoon should do the trick. More soap isn’t always better. Instead of making your bras cleaner, extra detergent may leave a filmy residue.

  3. Soak. Swish the bra around in the mixture and rub the suds into the fabric. You want to make sure it is saturated and soapy. When choosing how long to soak, consider your bras' material. Light, delicate lace bras only need ten minutes or so (the same goes for other delicate garments). If your bras have gone weeks (or months!) without a wash, you might want to leave them submerged for a full hour.

  4. Rinse. Dump out the soapy water and refill your container with clean water. Rub the clean water into the bra, gently rinsing out the soap. Be careful not to twist or pull too hard on the bra. If the bra still looks (or smells!) less than spotless, repeat the previous steps.

  5. Towel dry. Remove the clean bra from the water and lay it flat on a towel. Use another towel to pat it dry. Remember not to wring out the bra. The whole point of handwashing is to be more gentle than a washing machine!

  6. Air dry. Allow the bra to dry on a hanger or a drying rack. Heat is another potential source of damage and can change the shape. An important thing to remember is to hang your bras by the center gore, the part that connects the two cups, not by the straps. The weight of the wet bra can stretch out the straps, causing damage over time.

  7. Store your bras properly. Find a clean, dry, and organized place to store your everyday bras. This will keep them damage-free and ready for the next wear. Check out our blog post about how to store bras for more details. 
Young girl in sports wear

When Time’s in Short Supply, Machine Wash Your Bras

Sometimes you might not have the time, energy, or available supplies to wash your bras by hand. Luckily, there’s still a way to wash them in a machine while keeping them in good shape.

Here's how to wash a sports bra, an underwire bra, padded bras, bralette, and everything in between with a laundry machine.

What You’ll Need

Like handwashing, machine washing requires some special equipment. Make sure you have the following: 

  • Mesh or Lingerie Bag
  • Washing Machine
  • Gentle Laundry Detergent
  • Hangers or Drying Rack

What To Do

Take a little more care with your bras than you would with your sturdier garments.

  1. Put your bras in a mesh bag. Bags will help to prevent snagging, tangles, and twisting inside of the washing machine. Any extra layer of protection is better than none.

  2. Start your cycle. Use cold water and the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. Use a mild detergent and wash according to machine instructions. The less the bra is jumbled together with heavier fabrics that could bend wires or abrade fabrics, the better.

  3. Air dry. Even when using a machine washer, it’s important to allow the bras to air dry. Follow the same methods as outlined above to avoid risking heat damage.

Aside from bras, you can also follow these instructions when washing your other delicates. And when machine washing, proper storage is just as important (if not more)!

How Often Should You Wash Your Bra?

In general, bras should be washed after every three to six wears. 

The amount of time between wearing and washing can depend on the season and your activities while wearing the bra. If you've been hitting the trail or the gym, sweat and dirt can build up on the bra. In that case, it would be better to wash sooner rather than later.

Another thing to consider is rotation. Wearing the same bras over and over can cause excessive wear and tear. Make sure you have more than one bra in your underwear drawer.

Young woman in black sports underware

Find Your New Favorite Bra with Boody

After years of improper washing, are you finding that some of your bras are looking a bit worn out or misshapen? It's time to invest in a new staple piece for your bra wardrobe.

Boody’s bras are made from comfortable, flexible, and breathable bamboo viscose fabric that are as kind to the earth as they are to you and your laundry. Plus, they’re crafted for comfort without wires or hooks, so you don’t have to worry about snags and other damage in the wash.

Shop our line of ultra-soft undies today.

About the Author:

Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.


  1. Racked. Your Bra Needs a Washing. Here's How.

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