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How often do you wash your bras? After one wear? Once a week? Once every few weeks?
It turns out you don’t need to wash your bras more than about once a month — at least, that’s according to a recent Slate blog post that’s stirring up controversy online.
“A normal amount of time to wear a single bra without washing it, I have determined by consulting myself and other women about their habits, is a week or two,” wrote Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson. “Since most women own more than one bra, that means a normal woman might wash her bras once a month, or even less often.”
Anderson came to this conclusion after conducting a “wholly unscientific” survey of more than 200 female friends, co-workers, and social media users about their bra-wearing habits.
About a third of women surveyed said they wash their bras every two weeks — but nearly half of the women surveyed wash them less often than that. (Sports bras are another story. Nearly all the women surveyed wash those after every workout, which seems like a good idea).
A reader poll within the blog post backed this up. The majority of participants (37 percent) said they wash their bras about once a month, while just 7 percent of voters said they wash them after every wear.
This came as a shock to some readers.
“Seriously? Wash after every wearing. Jeez, people,” one woman commented on the article’s Facebook post.
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Others defended the once-a-month washers.
“Every month or so I do a load of delicates and they all go in. Then they spend the night on a drying rack,” one reader said. “They are entirely too expensive and delicate to (wash) as often as undershirts, for pity's sake.”
“If the bras stay dry during wear, it seems smart to wash them less frequently so the elastic will last longer,” another user chimed in on Facebook.
“Washing bras stretches them out and takes them ever closer to being limp, graying underthings that provide no lift or support whatsoever,” she wrote. "By washing them as infrequently as possible, we are actually extending the life of our bras.”
Earlier this year, TODAY's own Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb weighed in on the debate, with KLG siding heavily with the "wash every day" camp, and Hoda opting for laundering every three to four days.
There’s no real expert consensus on how often you should wash your bras, though one of the biggest bra manufacturers recommends giving your hard-working bras some R&R between wears.
“Let each of your bras rest; one day on, a day or two off will let the elastic in your band and straps last longer,” reads the Victoria’s Secret lingerie care page.
So, to wash, or to wait? The controversy will continue. But one commenter on the Slate post has some advice for those on all sides of the laundering debate.
“Bottom line,” she wrote, “it's nobody's business but your own how often you wash your bra.”