7 Jun

Bra Maintenance 101

It’s no secret— we all need and wear bras. But proper bra maintenance, perhaps, is a big secret.

How many times do you wash your bras? And when you wash them, do you toss it into the spin cycle with your sweats?

In my search for the right bra, I had a very helpful conversation with an expert bra fitter named Maggie at a lingerie shop in San Francisco called Alla Prima. Turns out, there are some surprising truths to not only choosing the right bra but also taking care of it.


It’s important to protect your ladies by giving them the support they need, so here’s a bra care crash-course for you…

Wash bras after about three wears

You’re probably thinking this is crazy talk. At least, I did when Maggie informed me of this rule. Ironically, the more you wash your bras, the longer they’ll last. This is because the oils and sweat from your body wear down the fibers in bras, so if you wash them out, your bra should last longer.

But please, please don’t use a washer and dryer to get them clean. Instead, hand-wash them in cold water using a gentle soap. I like Forever New, which is made specifically for delicates. Soak your bra for no more than five minutes, rinse, and hang dry.

A bra provides its best fit for about one year

Not very long, is it?  Of course, this also depends on your bust factor.  The bigger your chest is, the heavier the weight, and the more wear and tear on the bra.  This year mark is typically given with a fuller bust in mind and assumes you wear this bra nearly everyday.

Of course, the bra won’t disintegrate after a year, but bustier gals may notice the bra doesn’t offer as much lift or support as it once did. To combat this, rotate your bras throughout the week, so you don’t wear them out as quickly. Doing this (and washing them gently!) will extend your bra’s life past one year.

Pay attention to those clasps on the band

I never thought the metal clasps on the backside of bras really meant much other than if the bra wasn’t supportive enough, you just put it on the tightest clasp.  This is actually a common misconception that means you’re wearing the wrong size.  A bra that truly fits should allow you to start at the clasp closest to the outside when the bra is brand new.  As time goes on and your bra stretches out, then you move to the middle clasp, then the inner-most.  You should move inwards every three to four months for maximum support.

Get it right by seeking out the experts

Do your body a favor and go to a place that employs bra-fitting experts, especially if you’re busty. These places are pricier because many of the bras are imported from Europe, so be prepared to pay upwards of $70. Truthfully, a good bra will never cost 30 bucks anyway. Unlike many mass retailers, these shops take time to look at your body, the shape of your assets, and even your posture.

Keep in mind that bras are investments and, if handled with some TLC, will last you a long time.  In the end, it’s much cheaper to pay for the right fit instead of buying the wrong size year after year.  Bonus: you’ll look and feel better too!

What have you done to find the right fit? Do you have any tips on bra care? Any success or horror stories? Do tell!

{ posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 }


Comments: {3}

  • Hayley writes:

    wow, that is crazy! my bras are always falling apart and it is probably because I don’t do any of these tips :(.. i am definitely going to start following some of these!

  • Tina writes:

    I’ve always been good about rotating bras and using the outermost clasp when they’re new, but I had no idea I needed to wash them so often! Thanks for the tip.

  • Michelle Anna writes:

    I always hand wash my bras, but I never knew the tip about the bra clasp…good to know. I’m due for a new set of bras! :)

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