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Are you washing your bra correctly? Experts share what you might be doing wrong

"The heat from the dryer is literally kryptonite for the bra."
HappyNati / Getty Images

Bras are one of the most critical undergarments for a woman's outfit. For starters, they support, enhance and make your attire look put together. However, when it comes to cleaning and caring for a bra, it's a piece that tends to be neglected.

If you're like me, you own at least one favorite pair that you wear on a regular rotation. When it comes time to wash it, though, you either push back laundry day to later in the week or have to succumb to wearing an uncomfortable underwire strapless bra from yesteryear.

Instead of going nipple-free or aching in discomfort throughout the day, Shop TODAY brought a few experts to weigh in on bra care and laundry hacks, plus must-have products to keep your lingerie out of the drawer of forgotten garments.

How often to wash your bras | Best way to wash your bras | Machine washing tips | How to dry your bras | Laundry products | FAQ | How we chose | Meet the experts

Shop TODAY Snapshot

Bra-washing essentials

How often you should wash your bras?

According to Jené Luciani, author of "The Bra Book," you should wash your bra after every wear. "The sweat, the dirt and the oil in our skin break down the elasticity of the bra fabric, especially if it is microfiber," she said.

However, other bra experts suggest that your bra's washing rotation depends on different factors. "Generally, we recommend washing your bra after three wears, but it depends on the length of wear, amount of activity and perspiration," mentions CUUP's director of fit, Tania Garcia.

The condition of your skin also can impact your bra washing rotation. "For individuals with oily-prone skin or those who sweat more than the average person, you will need to wash the bras more frequently than those who don't have either of those factors," added style expert Naina Singla.

What is the best way to wash your bras?

Like any delicate garment, bras also require extra love and care. There are several methods when it comes to washing a bra but, according to Garcia, the best and easiest process is adding a gentle detergent to a sink full of water and washing it by hand. "Water temperature depends on [a] bra’s material — make sure to check the care instructions," she added.

After, you'll want to lather the bra for five minutes and let it soak in the soapy water for 20 minutes. Then, drain and rinse it off with clean water and lay it flat to dry.

How to wash your bras in the washing machine

Sometimes, our busy schedules get in the way of laundry day and washing bras by hand takes dedication. If you do want to machine-wash them, Singla recommends making sure "to fasten the hooks on each bra and put them on a delicate or hand-wash cycle using cold water and avoid using the spin cycle."

"It's useful to place most types of bras in a mesh bag, so it creates a barrier between them and other items in the washing machine. If bras are mixed in with other clothing, they can get damaged by friction and they can snag, get tangled and tear," she mentioned.

If you want to be extra careful, Luciani also suggests removing the pads and putting the bras in a garment bag that zips up.

How to dry your bras

According to Luciani, you should never dry your bras in a dryer. "The heat from the dryer is literally kryptonite for the bra. It will break down the material of the bra much faster."

"Always hang dry bras, as the heat from the dryer will shrink the bra and could also damage the elasticity of the straps as well," added Gatherall founder, Louise Lai.

Laundry products to shop

Durable Honeycomb Mesh Laundry Bags

What we like
  • Over 26,000 positive ratings
  • Very durable
  • Generously sized 
Something to note
  • Some customers had zipper issues

Start protecting your lingerie with these mesh bags from Muchfun. The laundry bags are designed to wash delicate clothes and feature breathable mesh construction and anti-rust zippers with auto-lock to prevent the bag from opening while on the washing machine. With 16,000+ verified five-star ratings, Amazon shoppers rated it five stars for its sturdy design.

Durable Honeycomb Mesh Laundry Bag

What we like
  • Very spacious
  • Fast-drying
  • Long-lasting
Something to note
  • Zippers aren't super durable, per some shoppers

If you're worried about crushing your cups, use this mesh bag featuring frame protection and mesh fabric. The laundry bag is designed to maintain the shape of your bra while spinning inside the washing machine, to avoid damage and crush.

"These are big and made very well. I like them because your padded bras fit nicely and are not tight at all," said one verified reviewer.

Tenrai Delicates Laundry Bags

What we like
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Large enough for multiple pieces
  • Secure zippers
Something to note
  • Mesh holes are very small

The fine mesh of these bags will protect your most delicate lingerie. These laundry bags are rust-resistant, smooth and super sturdy, according to the brand. Aside from keeping your delicates safe, you can use these bags for travel use. You can keep socks, bras and underwear in one place.

“The zipper stays closed and the mesh fabric looks like it will hold up through many loads,” said one Amazon shopper.

Resovo Bra Hanger 

What we like
  • Saves space in closet
  • "Very well made"
Something to note
  • Needs even weight on each side

After hand-washing your bra, you can hang and air dry it with this rack organizer. The hanger is available in two textures and comes with 20 polished stainless steel swivel hooks. This is a great way to avoid squishing your bras and is a space-saver when you don't have the area to lay them flat.

Method Laundry Detergent

What we like
  • Pleasant scent
  • Plant-based formula
  • Free of dyes
Something to note
  • Some reviewers noted leaks

This biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula combines plant-based stain lifters to remove dirt and keep colors bright. Customers love this product for its non-allergy scent and some agree that this has worked great for people with sensitive skin.

"Works very well, gentle on the clothes and I feel confident washing my baby’s linens using the product," said one buyer.

Zum Clean Laundry Soap

What we like
  • Formulated with essential oils
  • Large, long-lasting container
Something to note
  • The scent is subtle

The plant-based, grime-fighting formula makes this laundry soap an efficient dirt remover. The soap is made with saponified 100 percent coconut oil, natural fragrance from essential oils, baking soda and vegetable glycerin to work its magic on the dirtiest clothes. Also, the laundry soap comes in different scents such as patchouli, sea salt, lavender, sweet orange and more.

All Ultra Free Clear HE Liquid Laundry Detergents

What we like
  • Recommended by dermatologists
  • Keeps clothes "soft and clean"
  • Great price for 123 loads
Something to note
  • Hard-to-see measuring cup lines, per some customers

According to the brand, this is the No. 1 laundry detergent recommended by dermatologists. The unscented and hypoallergenic formula is made for sensitive skin and is safe to use in any washing machine including high efficiency. Customers rave about this product for its sensitivity factor to protect clothes and in preventing skin irritation.

Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent

What we like
  • Free of scents (if that's preferred)
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Lasts a long time
Something to note
  • Some customers experienced leaks

If you’re worried about skin sensitivity, this laundry detergent will deep clean your underwear without any additional scent. The detergent clears the toughest of stains and is formulated with Pro-Pure technology that is gentle on the skin. Also, this formula is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested to avoid any skin irritations.

Amazon Basics Foldable Laundry Rack

What we like
  • Over 46,000 five-star ratings
  • Strong structure
  • Folds up and saves space
Something to note
  • Some customers noted rust buildup

To extend the lifetime of your garments, this bestselling laundry rack is foldable and efficient. The rack is sturdy enough and can support up to 32 pounds. Whether you're drying clothes or intimates, this is a great home organizer to save energy and space while air drying your clothes.

How we chose

The Shop TODAY team chose products based off style experts' advice on how to wash and dry bras without wearing them down or tearing them. We included useful products for gentle washing and drying, such as mesh bags drying hangers.

Meet the experts

  • Jené Luciani is a renowned bra expert and the author of "The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More!" She previously talked to TODAY Style on how social distancing affected her skin care routine.
  • Tania Garcia is CUUP's director of fit, a brand focused on timeless and supportive intimates.
  • Naina Singla is a style expert and national fashion stylist. She previously talked to Shop TODAY on the best footwear for holiday parties.
  • Louise Lai is the founder of Gatherall, a brand focused on meeting comfort and modern design.