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how to wash bras

Real talk: All bras stretch out. It’s an unfortunate reality, but one we must accept. Though we’d love to wear our favorites for a lifetime, the fact is that most bras only last about six months to a year. That said, there are many things that you can do to protect your bras. Think of it this way: When you apply weatherproof spray to your boots or dry clean your coat, you help to preserve those pieces. Similarly, there are certain strategies to employ in order to maintain their shape. In other words, while bras are bound to eventually stretch out with wear, you can indeed slow the process down.

Without further ado, here are four foolproof ways to prevent your bras from prematurely stretching out:

Rotate your bras

One of the best things you can do to preserve your bras is rotate them. When you wear the same bras two (or more) days in a row, you don’t allow the elastic to recover. As such, it will start stretching out more quickly, and you’ll need to replace the bra sooner.

This, of course, requires that you have enough bras in your collection. The number you need will depend on how often you do your laundry. For example, if you only do laundry once a week, then you’ll definitely need a few more in your collection than if you do your laundry every other day. The bottom line is that rotating your bras is crucial — so make sure you have at least four bras to switch out if you do laundry frequently and at least seven bras if you don’t.

Hand wash them

The way you wash your bras can make a massive difference in their lifespan. The best way to go, of course, is to hand wash your bras. This method is the easiest on your delicates, and thus, the least likely to stretch them out. Due to the agitation, a washing machine will wear down the elastic fibers much more quickly.

That said, there may be times when you wish to wash them in a machine. If you opt to go this route, make sure to place your bras in a lingerie bag to protect them. This prevents the straps and hooks from getting caught on anything in the machine, which can cause them to get tangled, snagged, and yes — stretched out. And of course, if you do use a machine, make sure to set it to a delicate cycle and use cool water only.

Keep in mind that it’s especially ideal to hand wash underwire and padded bras in order to preserve their shape, as wire and padding are most likely to get impacted in a washing machine.


Related: How To Wash Bras


how to hand wash bras

Parfait Matilda Contour Plunge Bra P5311 in Bisque | Parfait Charlotte Bikini 6905 in Bronze

Air dry your bras

It may be tempting to toss your bras in the dryer, but doing so can wreak some serious havoc on them. Dryer machines use intense heat — and that level of heat causes damage to not only the underwire but the fibers in your bras. Putting your bras in a dryer can break down the elastic, thus causing them to stretch out faster.

You’re much better off air drying your bras on a flat surface, like a drying rack or counter, or over a hanger. Also, never wring them out or twist them, as this can stretch them out and/or leave them otherwise misshapen. If you want to get excess water out of them, you can gently press them between two towels.

Don’t hang them by their straps

Now that you know to air dry your bras, you might think you should hang them on a hanger by their straps — but not so fast. This method is best avoided, as hanging bras this way puts some strain on the straps, causing them to stretch out. As a result, you may eventually notice that no matter how much you tighten your adjustable straps, they’re still not staying up on your shoulders.

Instead, if you prefer to dry them on a hanger, you can lay them horizontally so that they’re hanging by the center gore. Otherwise, laying them flat works well.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can protect your precious bras from stretching out prematurely. While wearing them does guarantee that they will inevitably stretch out gradually, you’ll get maximum use out of them if you care for them properly. Here’s to making your go-to bras last for as long as possible!


Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras


washing bras

Charlotte Padded Bra 6901 in Dusty Rose/Black

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, 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:
Elissa Strapless Bra P5011 in Nude, Pearl White, Black
Tags: , | In Categories: Blog,Bra Talk

Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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