Unilever logo
Cleanipedia ZA logo

How to wash bras

It's best to hand wash certain delicates like bras – read this guide for tips and advice on how to do it correctly.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

how to wash bras
ZA ECom Leaderboard

Do you know how to wash a bra? Don’t be embarrassed, not many of us do, even though we’ve worn them since our early teens. If you’re someone that wears bras over and over again without washing, it’s time to learn the best ways to wash these delicate items without damaging them.

It’s best to wash a bra by hand with a laundry detergent specifically designed for delicates – this way, the delicate fabric and the underwire will be treated gently.

Hand Wash Bras if Possible

Hand washing bras is certainly a little more effort that simply popping it into the washing machine along with the rest of your laundry, but, if you’ve got the extra time, it really is worth it. Bras are very delicate, especially those with underwires and lace accents, and they can become damaged if the correct settings aren’t used on the washing machine.

Learning how to hand wash bras is simple – it’s a case of getting back to basics. All you need is a basin, some warm water, and a mild laundry detergent (we like OMO Handwashing powder). Let the bra soak before rinsing, and then hang up to dry.

Use Warm Water

If you’ve got sports bras that have nasty yellow discolouration from the sweat you produce while exercising, you may think that immersing them in hot water is the best option for stain removal, but think again. Hot water can increase the risk of the colours bleeding, leaving your sexy red bra a more dull shade of pink. If you’re using a washing machine, colours from other garments could also run into the bra. Ever tried wearing a discoloured white bra under a white t-shirt? It’s not pretty.

Use a good detergent

Regardless of whether you hand wash or machine wash your bras, you should use a good detergent, like OMO. This can help maintain the fabric and colour.

The Poll

How do you choose your cleaning products?

0 Votes

Fasten Bras Before Washing

If you’re short on time and have decided to use a washing machine, always fasten the clasp together before putting the bra in the wash. If the straps are left loose, not only could they become tangled in other garments, which could mean they don’t get washed thoroughly, but the claps could also tear through any delicate lace detailing. For extra protection in the machine, consider fastening the bra and then popping it into a laundry bag or an empty pillowcase.

Don’t Overfill the Machine

When you’re trying to get your laundry done, it’s always so tempting to squash everything in together so that you don’t need to do two loads, but this could mean waving goodbye to your favourite bras. When garments are stuffed together in the machine, they could affect the shape of the bra. Just put a few small garments in with your bras to allow them to spread out and keep their shape – no heavy towels, bedding, or jeans.

Reshape While Wet

Even if you don’t overstuff your washing machine, bras can still come out looking a bit misshapen simply due to the water affecting the integrity of the garment. Your bra will dry in this shape if you let it, when it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to bend back into the correct shape.

As soon as your bra comes out of the washing machine, or out of the basin, use your hands to gently reshape it, paying particular attention to the cups, and to the band, ensuring it doesn’t become twisted. Don’t worry if you can’t get it looking completely right – any minor changes in shape will naturally work themselves out as you wear the bra.

Dry Naturally

Never, ever put bras into a dryer. The vigorous motion of the machine will cause the bra to become misshapen, and the heat will set the bra into that new shape. After reshaping after washing, hang the bra by one of its straps onto a clotheshorse or the washing line, and allow to dry naturally. Don’t worry if you’re in a rush, the lightweight nature of bras means they dry really quickly in the sun.

Originally published