If there’s one thing we know for sure about bras it’s that they get dirty, sweaty, and grimy very fast. One warm day and sweat alone can cling to a bra and render it impossible to wear until you’ve given it a good and thorough cleaning. But now comes the second thing we know for sure about bras: they’re delicate — and it’s super easy to destroy one with the wrong cleaning method. Cleaning a sticky bra requires a few good steps, the most gentle of laundry detergents, and patience. In other words: keep your dryer far, far away.
It’s tempting to want to throw your bras into the wash with every other article of clothing in your laundry basket. Don’t. It isn’t that you can’t use your machine to wash delicates made from silk and lace — it’s that there’s a procedure to follow and one wrong move can spell disaster in the form of a torn bra, ruined underwire, and stretched-out straps.
Follow these simple steps to washing your bras and you’ll benefit from a lingerie drawer filled with pretty bras and bralettes that stand the test of time (and soap).
1) Buy A Laundry Bag Just For Delicates
You shouldn’t mix your bras with abrasive clothing like jeans — heavier materials and features like zippers can tear and rip bras apart. Instead, purchase a mesh laundry bag, hook the backs of your bras together, and place just a few bras at a time in the bag before popping it into your washing machine. Don’t overfill the bag or the cleanliness of your bras could suffer — and remember: no mixing with other clothing unless it’s an item like a simple T-shirt. Using a laundry bag keeps your straps from getting stretched out and protects the finer, more delicate material used to design lingerie.
2) Choose The Right Wash Cycle And Detergent
If you can, try to avoid strong laundry detergents — chances are your bras are not heavily soiled and a gentle detergent like a free and clear option is going to help retain colors better and leave delicate fabrics feeling soft. Choose the delicate or gentle cycle, which most closely resembles hand washing. This cycle uses a slower spin to wash clothing like bras, which means these pieces are less likely to get snagged or torn.
3) When In Doubt, Hand Wash Your Bras
Sometimes there’s no better lingerie cleaning method than a good, old-fashioned soak in the sink or tub. If you don’t own a mesh laundry bag or aren’t feeling confident that your washing machine won’t ruin your bras, fill a sink or tub with room temperature or slightly cool water and add a capful of gentle detergent like Woolite Delicates to the water. Hook your bras in the back and add them to the water. Let them soak for a few minutes before gently running the bra with soapy water to provide a brief cleanse. Be sure to rinse each bra thoroughly under cool or room temperature water.
4) Reshape Bras And Hang Them To Dry
The final step in cleansing sticky bras is to reshape molded cups and simply hang them on a laundry line or around your tub to dry. Never wring out bras, which can affect their shape — and, of course, keep your precious undergarments far, far away from dryers.