Let’s be honest here: finding the perfect bra can be a challenge, especially for those of us that are well-endowed. When we find one that fits, we treasure it and are often too afraid to wear it/wash it. That’s why it’s important to inform yourself of good bra washing techniques!

Many tricks for making your bras last longer rely simply on how you wash and dry them. While bras are clothing just like anything else, their special shape and unique need to support your girls means they require extra-special care.

Here’s the best way to wash your full figure bras.

How often to wash your bras?

Most girls don’t wash their bras as often as they wash other clothes. To some, that may seem a bit gross, but let me give you some good news: you don’t even have to wash them nearly as often!

Brassieres are generally very delicate; chances are that they will react poorly to being washed too frequently. The fit may change, elasticity and shape may flop, giving you less support.

There are no rules to dictate the exact moment of when to wash. Most girls suggest that you can wear a bra up to three or four times before washing it. Some even dare to wear it up to seven times without washing. What I’m getting at here is: it’s not an exact science.

Basically, it all depends on how active you are. If you only wear a bra while doing general daily tasks, no need to worry. If you’re not an overly active type or you don’t generally sweat much, congrats! You are one of the few lucky ladies.

On the flip side, if you wear your bra at the gym or engage in an activity that will see you sweating a lot, wash the damned thing right away! Take seasons into consideration. You’ll have to wash your bras more frequently in summer than in winter, obviously.

How to wash a bra

Being a delicate article of clothing, a bra requires special treatment and care, especially with the price tag that many bras flaunt. But I’m not alone in my opinions; experts agree that you should pay close attention to how you wash your bra.

In order to take the less aggressive approach, consider hand washing as often as you can. Also, make sure you use mild soap and detergents without alcohol. Don’t even think of using bleach, it will quickly degrade synthetic materials in your bra!

Hand washing is not as complicated as it may seem. No need to panic! Here are some simple steps to follow in order to be more efficient:

1. Soak your bras for 15-30 minutes. You can put them in cold or lukewarm water and add a little bit of detergent. The dirtier the bra, the longer it should soak. The dirt should separate from them in no time and with minimal agitation.

2. Gently wash them. Use a mild soap and agitate the bra through the water. No harsh scrubbing. If a particular area needs some extra TLC, give it the attention it needs – carefully.

3. Rinse under a tap or shower. But again, make sure you’re gentle. Dirt should be mostly gone after the soaking phase. This step is to remove any remaining soap or detergent from the fabric.

4. Use a toothbrush for straps and clasps. Sometimes there will just be stains that you need to work at more. Use a gentle toothbrush and focus on areas with persistent stains. Avoid scrubbing lace or thin sections of fabric. This may cause excessive wear, fading, or unwanted pilling.

5. Don’t squeeze. As much as you want them dry, you should never squeeze or stretch your bras. Stressing the fabric in any direction contributes to the cups losing shape. Nobody wants that.

6. Air dry. This will take longer than tossing bras in the dryer on high. I guarantee that by laying out your dedicates and allowing them to dry slowly will give them a much longer lifespan!

But What About Machine Washing?

I know, I know. Machine washing is so convenient. If your schedule demands the ease of machine washing,  make sure you do it right! Here are a few quick tips and easy guidelines to follow. We want our bras to last!

1. Work it, clasp it. Make sure you clasp your large-sized bras before putting them in the washing machine. This way you’ll keep the straps from tangling and the cups from twisting. When clasped, they tend to keep their shape longer. Particularly make sure you do this with anything lacy, as they are especially delicate.

2. Use a lingerie bag. It’s a lifesaver! Honestly, I even use it for socks. Lingerie bags keeps socks from mysteriously vanishing, bras from tangling with each other, etc.

3. Check the label. Always make sure you follow the advice on the label. If the label specifies a cycle or strictly forbids machine washing, you may want to do as it says. You’ll avoid having a deformed bra and won’t have to go hunting for a new one so soon.

4. Use the appropriate cycle. When in doubt, it may be a good idea to use the gentle cycle when washing your lingerie in the machine. This cycle is the closest the machine can come to hand washing. Generally, the slower the speed of the cycle, the safer your brassieres are!

5. Separate wisely. This applies for both separating different colors and different types of clothes. Keep the whites with whites and bras away from jeans, and you’ll avoid having a crazy-colored underwear.

6. Avoid the dryer. As tempting as it is, let me repeat this: you should always air dry your bra! The heat is your enemy; keep your bras far away from it.

More washing tips for large-sized bras

  • Reshape after washing. If the cup is molded, reshape it while it’s wet. This way you’ll make the cup stay firm longer. If you let it dry and try to reshape it after, you may damage the shape.
  • Don’t hang them by the straps. This is just another elasticity issue. The straps may loosen and have less support. If it doesn’t support, then it is of no use to you.
  • Never iron a bra. Personally, I was baffled when I first heard that people iron their underwear. But even if you do it to your panties, try to keep the iron away from your bras. As previously mentioned, they are not the biggest advocates of heat.
  • Store them properly. Sports bras are one thing, but the large-cupped ones are just another level. Make sure they are properly placed and not pressed or otherwise reshaped. If a cup is stored in an awkward position, it may keep that awkward shape for the rest of its (now prematurely shortened) life.
  • Rotate them. While you can’t make a bra last forever, you can prolong its life by rotating several of them. Don’t wear one seven days in a week. Rather than that, rotate at least three of them and use them in turn. This way they will stretch less and last you longer.
  • Know when to say goodbye. Throwing away clothes is a bummer. Throwing away bras is an even bigger one. However, once it no longer provides support, it may do you more harm. An average bra can last from about six to nine month, if used regularly. As for those that you wear less often, they can even pull off two years. But after that period, it’s time to move on.
  • Befriend vinegar. A real home-made remedy could include a simple ingredient in your kitchen! Use vinegar to freshen up your brassieres by diluting it with water and soaking. Be sure to rinse well, vinegar has a potent smell and can also irritate sensitive skin.
  • Another home remedy: baking soda. It is quite effective in removing persistent stains, smells, and overall discoloration. Make a paste using baking soda and water and then gently scrub the damaged area. Again, make sure you rinse your bras thoroughly.
  • Dry clean your silk bras. While there’s definitely a way to clean these at home, professional dry cleaning may be a safer option.

If you follow these tips, you can effectively hand wash (or even machine wash) your best bras to last their longest.

If you enjoyed this article, then we're probably very similar. I'm Victoria Melo, and I know what it’s like to be busty and struggle finding the perfect bra. Not long ago, I was just another girl wearing the wrong bra size. When I finally discovered my real size and found great bras for my busty figure, it felt like a miracle. Now, I'm a bra fitter helping hundreds of women like you find their own miracle. Click here to read my lists of my favorite bras for you.

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