How to care for your bras to maximize their life span

Your bras work hard for you, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. They support you every day, help you feed your baby and care for your pregnancy and postpartum boobs as they grow and shrink.

You may have invested some cash in your nursing and pumping bras, so it’s important to look after them and increase their lifespan so you can wear them for future pregnancies.

Here are some tips on how to care for your bras.

Washing frequency of your bras

This depends on several factors. If you leak breast milk, sleep in them, or endure night sweats, you will likely wash your bras pretty often.

One cardinal rule, however, from chief lingerie stylist at the luxury lingerie brand Rigby & Peller is, never wear the same bra two days in a row. She says, that the best thing to do is to let your bra sit for at least a day after wear to prolong its life. In theory, the more bras you have in rotation, the more you can prolong the wash, and keep them in good condition.

How to wash your bras

There is a LOT of information out there that tells us to NEVER machine wash our bras! The more gentle you are with them, the longer they will last, but let’s be real, hand washing for a new mom is inconvenient. If you have beautifully laced expensive bras that cost you a fortune, by all means, hand wash away. But good quality nursing and pumping bras should not need this.

Remember to always read the care label to know what the manufacturer recommends. If like me, you machine-wash everything, it’s a good idea to place your bras in a lingerie bag. This is honestly a lifesaver for them.

Lingerie laundry bags prevent straps from getting wrapped around other garments and from stretching out. Before you place your bras into your laundry bags, always do up the fasteners to prevent them from twisting and tangling in the machine.

Also, wash similar colors together. Never wash your beautiful white bras with your jeans or dark clothing, or you’re asking for them to turn a very sad grey.

drying fresh laundry on the line outside in nature

Drying time

Yes, we have also all put our bras in the dryer. Maybe they needed to be dried quickly, or we tossed them in with all our other clothes without checking (again, who has time?)

Sometimes, very hot tumble dryers can damage your bra bands' elastic and other stretchy materials. Laying your bras flat on a towel or hanging them in half on your drying rack is best. Try not to hang your bras by one strap as the weight of the wet bra can stretch it out.

Choosing a detergent

Normal washing detergents tend to break down certain fibers and destroy elastic in your bras. Finding detergents that are formulated for delicates is a good idea. According to Bustle, ECOS® 2X Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent is top of their list. Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent closely follows.

These delicate detergents can maintain elasticity in your bra bands and make them feel new. You can also use these on leggings, nylons, swimwear, and any stretchy pieces of clothing.

Bra storage

Many women stuff their bras in their drawer and hope they survive until they need to wear them next. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t fold your bras in half and tuck one cup into the other for storage. You should lay them flat and put each bra into the other so they retain their shape. Investing in some of those handy drawer separators can be a good idea!

How to tell if your bras are done for

The back band of your bra is the main indicator for whether it’s still good or if you need to retire it for a new bra. If you’re wearing your right bra size but your band starts riding up even with the hook and eye on its tightest setting, it may mean your band has stretched. It’s time for a new bra. Also if the color has faded, the cups are misshaped or if it causes you pain, say goodbye.

You likely wear a bra pretty often if not every day, and we know that finding a bra you love can be hard. When you do, take good care of it, and it will take good care of you in return.