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Enjoy your bra for longer by washing it right
Do you know why you shouldn’t be washing your bra with detergent or tumble drying it? Here are ten tips that’ll extend the life of your bra.
Factors that influence the lifespan of your bra are the quality of the bra, how often you wear it and how you look after it. Your bra will wear out more quickly if you wear it every day and don’t let it relax for 1-2 days between uses. A bra that’s made from poor quality materials will also wear out more quickly. It pays off in the long term, both economically and environmentally, to invest in a handful of high-quality bras.
‘Every bra is different, that’s why you should always follow the washing advice from the manufacturer.’
Always follow the washing advice from the manufacturer. When choosing materials at Miss Mary, we always wash them to see how they change. We then wash the final garment to see how the different materials react once they’ve been sewn together. Certain materials shrink more than others. We always conduct thorough tests before putting a garment into production. Our testing panel of women then wear the bras for a longer period of time and wash them at home as normal.
Hand wash or machine wash?
It’s especially important to avoid machine washing your bras and bodies that are underwired. If you’re really unlucky, the underwire can poke out of the garment and get caught in the machine, causing it to break. On the other hand, if you have an underwired bra that can be machine washed (according to the laundry label), ALWAYS use a washing bag. This will protect both the machine and the garment.
When hand washing, first leave the garment in water for several hours with a mild detergent, this will loosen any dirt, oil and grease etc. If you have time, leave it to soak overnight, it doesn’t matter if the water gets cold. Then, rub the bra, focusing on the cups and the parts that are worn closest to the skin or are dirty. Leave the garment to soak again and then rinse it. Avoid using a fabric softener.
‘White garments should be washed together with other white garments.’
Separate different colours
Separate different colours, and don’t wash white garments together with dark ones. Even if it’s not explicitly stated that a garment needs to be washed separately, all white clothes do better when washed with like colours, in other words they’re more likely to remain white if they’re not mixed with red or black clothes for example.
Use a mild detergent
Regardless whether you hand wash or machine wash your garments, pay attention to the type of detergent you use. Use a mild detergent that doesn’t contain bleach. This also applies when washing white underwear. White garments are dyed that colour.
Avoid using fabric softeners
Fabric softeners contain polymers, microscopic particles of plastic that settle on the surface of the material and make it feel softer. The reason for this soft feeling is that the polymers absorb moisture and prevent the garment from drying completely (even if it feels like the garment is dry). Elastic garments that contain elastane (Lycra and Spandex are alternative names/brand names for elastane), which all bras do, don’t do well when not allowed to dry completely because it weakens the fibres. You’ll shorten the life of your bra considerably if you use fabric softener. If you want your bra to feel softer, wear it. After a while, the fibres will soften with the movement of the body.
A bra band that contains elastane, Spandex or Lycra will be damaged by tumble drying and fabric softeners.
Always use a washing bag
Regardless whether you’re washing bras, panties, bodies or thin tights, they’ll do best when washed in a washing bag. Many people overlook this, but a washing bag helps more than you might believe. It protects your garments from getting tangled in heavier clothing items and stretching. The bag also protects delicate materials like lace and embroidery from getting caught in the Velcro or zips of other garments in the washing machine. There’ll be less chance of the garment getting twisted inside out in the wash and the shoulder straps getting tangled.
Tumble-drying will result in an early death for your bra. Above all, it ruins the elastane, which means that the bra will lose its elasticity and shape. Colours will also fade in the tumble dryer.
Dry it in a towel
Before you hang your bra, roll it up in a towel and squeeze it to absorb most of the moisture.
Stretch the band containing the underwire after washing. This prevents the underwire from creeping out.
Stretch the underwire band
When you’ve washed your bra, stretch the underwire band (the channel into which the underwire is sewn). This prevents the underwire from creeping out of the band.
Flatten out the padding etc.
If your bra has padded cups or shoulder straps, stretch and flatten out the padding. This’ll mean it remains smooth once it dries and ensure it stays nice.
Hang it up right
Hang your bra on a washing line between the cups. That way your bra will retain its nice shape and the shoulder straps won’t become stretched. Bodies can be hung up over the line at the waist. If the care label says to dry flat, follow this advice.