How to extend the life of your bras

Unlike the sixties, when the feminist movement urged females to burn their bras, the 21st Century has most women loving lingerie. With so much choice there are sports, glamorous, teenage, maternity, cute bras and so many more styles available.

Everyday work bras may be inexpensive to buy but that does not mean that longevity will not be wanted. No-one wants to have to replace delicate and expensive bras too soon or too often. For one thing the bra may be part of a matching set of underwear. Learn how to extend the life of your bras and, by doing so, achieve value for money.


Step 1

Read the manufacturer’s care instructions

It is madness to simply throw underwear made from dedicate fabrics into a general wash. Reading the manufacturer’s care advice label is a must. This will enable you to launder your bras using the correct temperature and setting. Washing bras by hand is usually recommended and gives the best results. You could try washing them inside a closed pillowcase in the washing machine, using a hand-wash setting, if you prefer. Remember that too much heat will reduce the item’s longevity.

Step 2

Washing agent

There are so many washing agents and fabric softeners on the market these days that it is hard to know which one to choose for underwear.

Generally your everyday washing agent may be too severe for delicate fabrics. Purchase a small size of washing powder, or liquid, that is designed for delicate fabrics. This may cost a little more but, if you only use it for your lingerie, it will last quite a while.

On the whole it is best not to use fabric softener on bras and lingerie. All such underwear has some element of elastic, often these days it will be Lycra. Any items that have such stretchability should not be rinsed with fabric softener. Fabric softener will, sooner or later, ruin the elasticity of the garment.

Step 3


To hand-wash your bra use cool to lukewarm water and a minimum amount of washing agent. Avoid excessive scrubbing and wringing out. Make sure that you rinse the item thoroughly in cold water.

Step 4


After laundering bras should not be dried in a tumble-drier. It is not necessary and a waste of precious energy. Roll the bra in a hand towel to squeeze excess moisture from it. Open the towel and leave the bra to dry laying flat on the towel. This will only take a few minutes.

Step 5


Modern fabrics usually only require the minimum amount of ironing. Most people would not iron underwear, but some still do. If you have checked the manufacturer’s care label you will know whether this is recommended or not. If you want to iron your bra take care. Use a low temperature setting and the minimum amount of ironing necessary.

Step 6

Additional advice

Make sure that you:

  • Are wearing the correct sized bra. If it is too tight it will be uncomfortable and probably wear out quickly. Use the expert bra fitting service available in most good lingerie stores. Once you know your proper bra size you may find that you have worn the wrong size for years.
  • Use specific bras for certain activities. For example, use a sports bra for when you are jogging. This type of bra is designed to cope with underarm perspiration which may be more intense during such strenuous exercise.
  • Wear expensive, delicate bras for special occasions rather than everyday wear. That is unless money is no object.
  • Fasten the bra for laundering. This will prevent any snagging if you are washing more than one bra at one time.
  • Consider your deodorant. Some deodorants leave too much residue on the underarm part of your bra and reduce the bra’s life.

Things Needed
• Correctly fitting bras.
• Get professionally measured.
• Know your bra size.
• Good hand-washing techniques.

Tips & Warnings
• Hand-wash only.
• Never use fabric softener.
• Do not tumble dry.
• Preferably never iron.
• If you must iron bras only use the minimum setting, temperature and time.
• Always wear the correct size bra for you.


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