Here’s Why You Should Never Tumble Dry Your Bras
Bras are rarely cheap, and finding one that you like and that fits well can take some effort. Once you’ve finally got hold of one that ticks your boxes, the last thing you want is for it to fall apart a month or two later. Put it in the tumble dryer however, and that’s exactly what could happen.
Bras may look like ultra-sturdy garments, with all their wiring, molding and thick elastic, but they are deceptively delicate. It’s essential that you take good care of them to keep them looking good and fitting well. And allowing your bras to air dry is the most important step of your care routine.
What’s the problem with tumble-drying bras?
Tumble dryers work by tossing your clothes about while blasting them with hot air. Both of those things can be damaging to bras, but it’s the heat that’s the primary issue.
Certain fabrics can shrink when exposed to excessive heat, such as silk and rayon. And nylon, the fiber that a lot of lace is made from, can be damaged or discoloured if subjected to heat for too long.
But the biggest problem of all is what heat does to elastic because that’s in all of our modern bras. Many fabrics contain elastane (also known as spandex or Lycra), from stretch lace to powermesh. And even if the bra is made from a non-stretch fabric such as pure silk, it will have elastic trims. Most bra bands are edged with it, and the shoulder straps will always be at least partly made from elastic.
The high heat of the tumble dryer breaks down elastic fibers, irreversibly damaging them in a way that makes elastic lose its stretch.
Related: Bra Care 101: How To Wash Bras
How does tumble-drying reduce the bra’s lifespan?
Once your bra band loses its stretch, it’s no longer fit for purpose. This is the part of the bra that’s responsible for around 80% of the support work, and it can only do that if it’s fitting nice and snugly.
If your bra band has stretched out just a little, you can move the hook-and-eye fastening in a step. But if you keep tumble drying it, eventually the elastic will degrade to the point that the bra feels loose even on the tightest setting. You’ll know that your bra band is too loose when it starts to ride up between your shoulder blades.
Similarly, the strap elastic will become less and less stretchy, eventually starting to fall off your shoulders even when adjusted to the shortest length.
Tumble-drying also shortens the bra’s lifespan simply through the repeated action of being flung against the inside of the drum (and against any heavy clothes, such as jeans, that you may be drying with it). Molded cups can become misshapen, and fabric can begin to wear thin from all the rubbing.
To summarise, the tumble dryer puts your bra through a lot of needless wear and tear. It makes the bra ‘age’ much quicker than it otherwise would. After less time than you probably think, the bra will start looking older, stop fitting so well, and may even break, such as the underwire popping out of its casing.
How should I air dry my bras?
You can either hang your bras up or lay them flat to dry. If you hang them up, don’t do it by the straps or band as this will cause the elastic to stretch out. Instead, drape them over the washing line or drying rack from the centre-front. If you’re using pegs, I recommend finding ones with rubber grips to avoid snagging delicate fabrics.
You can remove some of the excess water from unmolded bras so that they dry quicker by pressing them between a towel. It’s not a good idea to crush the cups of molded bras however, which can deform them. Speaking of which, remember to reshape these cups while they’re still damp to help them dry nice and smooth.
If you have particularly wet bras to dry, which can often be the case after hand-washing, you can even give them a whirl in a clean salad spinner. It mimics the spin cycle of a washing machine, only on a much gentler scale.
Lastly, be sure to air dry your bras somewhere with good ventilation, if you’re drying them inside. It will avoid them staying damp for ages, something that can lead to clothes having a less-than-pleasant smell.
How do you dry your bras? Leave a comment and let us know!
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!