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Bra Care - How to Extend The Longevity of Your Bras

Updated on December 13, 2012

The other day I couldn't help but noticed a woman with her bra straps peeking out from under her sleeveless top. They were not stylish straps meant to be shown, and their color didn't even match her clothing. What seemed worse than her awkward peek-a-boo bra, however, was the condition of the straps themselves. Although not tattered or filthy-looking, they appeared discolored and slightly stretched out. These are well-worn signs that indicate the bra is not fit for wearing anymore, let alone allowing others to witness parts of its decay. Well, I did feel sorry for the woman. Not all of us can afford to buy new bras all the time. Being pretty budget-challenged myself, I don't go bra shopping very often, either. One smart thing we can do, though, is to take excellent care of our bras in order to extend their longevity. Don't just handle your bras carelessly as if they are kitchen towels, then blame them for making your breasts look weird!

A Clean White Bra
A Clean White Bra | Source

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Bra Wash Bags

Woolite Bra Wash Bag
Woolite Bra Wash Bag

This nifty bag allows maximum circulation of detergent and water while protecting your bras from damage.


Bra Washing Tips

  • Check the care tag on every one of your bras. Some bras are not meant to be washed in a machine.
  • If possible, hand wash all your bras (even the ones that are machine-washable) with gentle detergent. According to Jene Luciani, the author of The Bra Book, this can lengthen the life of your bras up to 30%.
  • Don't just throw your bras into a washing machine separately. The hooks, bands and underwires can sometimes get damaged even during a gentle cycle. To make sure your bras are well-protected, put them together in a netted garment bag or a casing especially designed for bras, then you can toss the whole thing into your washing machine with no worries.
  • Remember to fasten the hooks of your bras before washing them, so that they won't catch on other bras or garments.
  • Always set your machine on the gentlest cycle possible and use cold water.
  • NEVER dry your bras in a dryer. Simply hang them up on hangers or lay them flat to dry.
  • Wash your bras after every use. If you don't want to do that, at least don't wear the same bra many days in a row without washing. Give it a "break" for at least 2 - 3 days before wearing it again. Repeated contact with your sweat and body heat will cause the band and straps to stretch, and ultimately shorten the life of your bra.

Storing and Packing Your Bras

  • The nicest way to store bras is to lay them flat in a drawer, on top of one another, with the cups of one bra nestled inside the cups of the one on top of it. Hanging them up is also a good strategy, but that may not look very neat.
  • Don't fold or flatten the cups.
  • Don't try to twist or squeeze your bras into a tight space. Doing so can permanently distort the cups and underwires.
  • To pack your bras into a really stuffed suitcase, it might be wise to place rolled-up socks or any soft items inside the bra cups to help them retain their perfect shapes.
  • The side of the suitcase might be the best place to put your bras. Try not to place anything on top of them, so that the cups won't get crushed.
  • If you have expensive bras, consider buying a bra travel bag. It will assure you that your $100 Brulee Boudoir will stay safe and sound while you're traveling.

Old Bra
Old Bra | Source

Signs that Tell You It's Time to Buy New Bras

No matter how gently you handle your bras, they still won't last an eternity. So instead of holding on to your old bras until they fall apart, consider throwing them out when these things happen.

  • You have not shed a pound, but your bra feels loose even when you move to the tighter hooks.
  • Your bright-colored bra has turned pastel.
  • You can't really find a white spot on your supposedly white bra.
  • The pokey underwires just won't leave you alone.
  • The underwires have gotten so crooked they make it look like your breasts hate each other.
  • No matter how many times you adjust your bra straps, they still keep slipping.
  • The misshapen cups make you look like a victim of breast implants gone wrong.


Submit a Comment

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    5 years ago

    @Kathryn Stratford - I like sports bras, too. And since I do yoga and jog on a regular basis, I have a lot of them. And yep, just like you, I hate it when my favorite bras get all stretched out.

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image


    5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    I cheat- I prefer sports bras. These are very good tips, though. I hate it when the bras deteriorate, especially when it is one that is particularly comfortable!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    5 years ago

    @leaflefler - Ha! Another bra abuser! LOL ....Well, now you know how to treat your bras nicely. Thanks for dropping by and commenting, leah!

  • leahlefler profile image

    Leah Lefler 

    5 years ago from Western New York

    I never even thought about spraying them with body mist.... I have to try that! I am terrible with maintaining my bras - I usually just toss them in the washing machine and I don't store them properly. I guess that's why they don't last very long!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @CassyLu - Oh you too? hehehe.....Thanks for voting and sharing!

  • CassyLu1981 profile image


    6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

    Excellent advice! I too spray my bras :) Good to see I'm not the only one! Voted up and shared :)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @Londonlady - Haha spraying your bras with scented body mist is a good trick. I'm sure that makes them smell very nice, but it probably won't help extend the longevity of the bras, though.

  • Londonlady profile image

    Laura Writes 

    6 years ago

    I think I follow most of these rules, however I don't wash them every time after I wear them, nor do I give some of them a "break" which I know is bad, but I always spritz them with my favorite scented body mist since it contains a bit of alcohol, to "freshen" them up. I'm not sure if it does much, but it does make them smell nice :) Great hub, voted up!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @lovedoctor - You're very welcome! :)

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    @Om Paramapoonya- Thanks for your reply. I am guilty of throwing them all in the washing machine along with my towels. After reading this helpful guide, I will wash them separately separating the white and beige from the black and just use the gentle cycle. Thanks again...

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @ImKarn - LOL Well, I don't mind you giving me a hard time. Shirts are called "nipple warmers." :P

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @lovedoctor - Thanks a lot for the read and feedback. I really don't know why your beige bra straps would turn pink even though you don't wash them with pink clothing. That is weird!

    @Jillkostow - Oh, you're such a bra abuser, Jill! LOL.... Glad you enjoyed the hub and found these tips helpful :)

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 

    6 years ago

    Ok...then - what are shirts called? Lol

    (You don't know me - so you don't know im just givin' ya a hard time..)

    come by one day if'n ya get a chance - i'll buy ya a comment box..


  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @themadimadimadi - Haha no, that's not pathetic. I think many women still dry their bras in a dryer. Since you have been wearing bras for only 10 years, it's still not too late to start taking care of them the right way!

    @stephhicks - Well, at least you have a nice drawer for them. That's a good thing. Thanks for stopping by, Steph!

    @ImKarn - LOL You're so funny. But hey, I think there already are "bras" for balls; they're called briefs!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

    Om Paramapoonya 

    6 years ago

    @writer20 - Thanks for stopping by, writer20. Ordering bras from a catalog is very convenient. One downside of it, though, is that you don't get to try them on first. Even if you know your size, sometimes the sizing could run a little bigger or smaller, depending on the brands.

    @carol7777 - Well, don't be so lazy! hehehe Thanks for dropping by.

    @akirchner - LMAO Too funny. Oh, Bob! He's such a character. =D

    @mpropp - Glad you find these bra tips helpful. And yep, many women (certainly not me!) spend $100 or even more on a bra!

  • JillKostow profile image

    Jill Kostowskie 

    6 years ago from Pennsylvania

    At first I thought you were talking about :) I didn't realize how badly I treat my bras. I throw them in the washer on the normal cycle with a variety of other clothing items, I put them in the dryer to dry, and I stuff them into my "bra drawer" which is overflowing and hard to close! I will definitely follow your tips, this way I can enjoy the comfort of a good fitting bra for more than a week or two! Voted up!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Useful hub! These are helpful tips. Hopefully, next time I wash my bras I will remember to fasten the hook so it doesn't get stuck to other garments. This has happened to me many times. I usually buy expensive bras at Victoria Secret, but they don't last too long. Instead of throwing them into the washing machine, I think I am going to start hand washing them from now on or just use the gentle cycle. The straps of my beige bras usually turn pink, not sure why because I wash the light colors apart from the dark. Thanks for sharing!

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 

    6 years ago

    Bras are prisons for boobies! lol..

    Wonder why they make em for boobs and not balls - they're just hangin' around down there knacking everything too, no?


    i'm filters broke this evening, and they haven't returned yet from the repair shop...

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 

    6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    Great tips! Shamefully, I don't follow many of them, although I am aware of the need to handwash, hang-dry, etc. My bras do have a nice drawer, however, where they do not lose shape. Rated up and sharing!

  • themadimadimadi profile image

    Madison Gardiner. 

    6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

    Wanna know something pathetic? I JUST found out recently not to dry your bra. How, in the 10 years of wearing a bra, did I NOT know to not dry them!? Ugh...

    Thank you for the tips! I never bra shop, and sometimes struggle keeping my favorites in good condition.

  • mpropp profile image

    Melissa Propp 

    6 years ago from Minnesota

    Bras are expensive, so thanks for the tips on keeping them in better shape for a longer period of time. There were several of these simple tips that I wasn't doing, so I find it really useful. Do people really spend $100 on a bra?!

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    I like the bra bags for the washer--at least I don't feel QUITE so guilty about washing them there..I'm a Victoria's Secret kind of girl but wow are they ever expensive so it pays to take good care of them! Especially since I never know if Bob's going to be wearing them on the back of his coat~ I have a hub on here somewhere about how Bob came to be wearing my Victoria's Secret panties. Classic Bob moment! I worry though that he may move on my bras next so grab them out of the washer RIGHT AWAY and hide them!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 

    6 years ago from Arizona

    I get lazy about just sticking them in the washer..I have to admit. Well thought out and good to follow. Voted Up.

  • writer20 profile image

    Joyce Haragsim 

    6 years ago from Southern Nevada

    I for one need good support which I would swapped with any two sizes smaller than me all my life. I buy from Hane's catalog when they are on sale only.

    Voted up useful and very interesting, Joyce.


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