how to make your bra last longer
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10 Ways To Make Your Bras Last Longer

Because they’re not exactly cheap.

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Real talk: bras are expensive. But there are ways to make your bras last a long time. With good care comes extended use which equals money saved. All you need to do is make a few changes to your washing process and you’ll find all sorts of ways to make your bras last a long time.

Of course, it’s important to first understand that not all bras are made equal. Some require a bit more delicate care than others. Just think about intricate lace bras and you’ll have a clue why those might require kid gloves as opposed to the spin cycle. That said, you might be surprised to learn that even more durable undergarments, like sports bras, can benefit from a more gentle touch. Sure, these ways to make bras last a long time often require more planning than merely throwing them into the washing machine, but Kirsten Schofield, Creative Director at Underpinnings Lingerie in Louisville, Kentucky, says it’s worth the effort. Here’s how to make your bras last as long as possible.

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Use a delicate detergent

Schofield says she would recommend against using a traditional detergent when it comes to washing bras. “Typically, anything hand washed needs a detergent that is made for that purpose,” she says. “We really love Soak, which is a weighted laundry soap. You fill the basin of your sink halfway with cold water, dump in about a teaspoon of Soak, put your bras cup-side down (otherwise they'll float). Let it sit for 15 minutes, then lay flat or hang to dry. With a weighted laundry soap, there's no rinsing or agitating required, which again, is hard on your bras. I also use this for nicer knits and some of my silks. If you like to wear corsets or bustiers (anything with boning), those should get washed the same way.”


Hand wash your bras using a delicate detergent

“You should always hand wash and line dry each and every bra,” says Schofield. “Even a gentle cycle and a lingerie bag agitates the delicate construction of the garment. The lace, the stitching, the elastic: all those things are going to suffer in the washing machine.”


Do not put your bras in the dryer

“If I could get everyone to stop putting bras in the dryer, I could die happy,” Schofield says. “The heat of the dryer erodes the longevity of the elastic and distorts plastic or metal in the construction. North of 90% of support comes from the band of your bra, and that band is elasticized! If I can't convince you to hand wash, at least promise me you'll take the bras out before you transfer your laundry to the dryer.”


Lay bras flat to dry on a drying rack

“Laying flat to dry is great,” says Schofield. Why’s that? “If you're going to hang to dry, do so by the gore (the part between the cups that rests between your breasts) to avoid stressing any elastic; water makes everything heavy!” A sweater rack is ideal in this scenario: it will keep your bras flat and allows for air to circulate all around the garment.


Wash your bras as infrequently as possible

Everyone wants to wear clean clothes, but with bras, you don’t necessarily need to give them a scrub after every wear. Cleaning frequency depends on a couple factors, Schofield says. “In cooler times, every third wear is a good rule of thumb. If you get really sweaty or wear a lot of lotion, after one wear is correct. You can get rashes and yeast infections (especially under your breast!) if it's not cleaned well and regularly,” she says.


Let your bras rest

If you have a favorite bra, you might want to wear it everyday, but all of that wear can deteriorate the fabric’s integrity. “Letting the elastic reset helps a ton,” says Schofield. “Switch between a few bras to give them a rest. Much like how you shouldn't wear the same shoes every day, your bras need a break, too.”


Stock up on bras, especially your favorite ones

Consider how having a few to rotate will actually extend the life of all of them. “Having more bras makes them last longer. If you have just two that you're alternating between, they'll probably last five or six months,” says Schofield. Multiple that time by more bras and you’ll have a collection to choose from that’ll work for you longer.


Store bras properly: with bras, flat, and unhooked

When you’re in a rush, it’s all too easy to throw a bra into your underwear drawer, but Schofield urges people to try not to fold them up. She says the best way to store bras to improve longevity is to nest them flat and leave the band unhooked.


Get fitted properly

“Getting a really good fit will likely help; a band that doesn't fit is going to wear faster,” Schofield says. If you don’t know your bra size or believe your size may have changed, go to a lingerie store and ask for a fitting. The staff can measure you to ensure you get just the right fit.


Splurge for quality

“Lastly, a better quality piece is going to last longer,” says Schofield. “Not every garment is in the budget for everyone, and that's fine, but a $35 bra and a $70 bra and a $120 bra are likely going to be of different qualities.” Think of it this way, you could have a handful of inexpensive bras that fall apart every few months, or you could invest in two or three pricier, better designed bras and keep them for much longer.

“My advice is to spend more on everyday pieces. Fashion comes and goes,” she says, but a good bra can change your life.

For more bra shopping ideas or ways to make your bras last a long time, check out Schofield’s blog.

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