If you invest in a quality bra you’ll want to enjoy it as long as possible. With a little extra love and care you can extend the life of your bra significantly. Here are our top tips on how to care for your bra!
How long does a bra really last? The answer is not straightforward because it partly depends on the quality and partly on the material it’s made from, how it’s washed and how often it’s used. A real quality bra from a bra specialist is normally made to last longer than a cheaper bra bought from one of the big clothes chains. But even a bra of the highest quality doesn’t last forever. In general, you should expect a bra to last about two years, but many women wear them much longer than that. You can easily extend the life of your bra by looking after it with a little extra love and care.
“If a bra gets a chance to rest between uses, its life is extended.”
WHY YOU NEED TO ALTERNATE BETWEEN SEVERAL BRAS
One of the best tips for increasing the life of your bra is to have several bras to alternate between. The ideal number is a handful. If you use one and the same bra for more than one day at a time, it will wear out prematurely. Your bra must have a chance to ‘rest’ between uses. This is because the textile fibres need to recover, especially bras that contain elastane, which almost all bras on the market contain today.
“The textile fibres need to recover to retain their elasticity”
Elastane prevents elastic fabric from losing its shape. If, for example, the back was made of 100% cotton, it would stretch and lose its shape after a short time of wear. But just because a bra contains elastane, it will not retain it’s stretchy shape forever. That’s why the textile fibres need to rest and have a chance to contract between uses. A night’s rest is not enough; a bra needs to rest for a couple of days. When your bra has stretched and feels too big on the innermost hook and eye fastening, it’s time to throw it away.
STORE YOUR BRA CORRECTLY
“Do up the bra, fold down the shoulder straps and store it flat”
Your bras should preferably be stored on a flat surface, for example in a lingerie drawer. Do up the bra at the back, then place them so they lie on top of each other in the same direction, especially if the cups are padded. The bras then provide support for each other. An extra bonus is that you can easily see which bras you have, and they won’t tangle. There is a reason why exclusive bra shops often store bras flat like this instead of putting them on hangers.
HOW TO WASH YOUR BRA
You don’t need to wash your bra after every use. It’s enough to wash it after about two to three uses. A bra with a silicon band (common on the inside of cups with lace or on bras without shoulder straps) however need to be washed more often. Sweat can eat away and degrade the silicon.
Always follow the washing advice on the bra label. In general, never wash a underwired bra in a washing machine, not even if you use a wash bag. For a Miss Mary bra, we recommend handwashing underwired bras and a delicate wash for non-wired bras.
Don’t wash white bras together with colourful or black bras. Bear in mind that some colours give off colour so avoid mixing colours. Read the washing label carefully if it needs to be washed separately.
“Use washing detergent for coloured clothes even when washing white bras”
Always do up the bra at the back when you wash it. This prevents the hook and eye fastening from becoming stuck in lace or other delicate material. As the bra is done up, the shoulder straps won’t twist or become tangled.
Use mild washing detergent for coloured clothes. This also applies to white garments as white material is often not naturally white but in fact dyed white. Preferably use special washing detergent for undergarments. Avoid washing detergents that contain bleach or alcohol.
Handwash in a clean bowl or washbasin. If the bra is delicate use cold water. Cold water will make the bra last longer. No bra should be washed really hot as this can destroy its elasticity. Let the bra soak in water, preferably for a few hours to get rid of dead skin etc. It can be left to soak overnight. Then rub it gently focusing on the inside of the cups and the side under the armpit where the bra is usually dirtiest. Empty the water and rinse the bra carefully under cold running water.
If your underwired bra can be machine washed, use the programme for delicates. Avoid spinning. Don’t wash in a really full machine. Always use a wash bag suitable for undergarments to protect the bra from other garments, such as sportswear with Velcro. The wash bag also prevents bras from becoming tangled. Avoid washing your bra together with heavy clothes such as jeans, jackets and thick jumpers.
Never tumble dry your bra. The heat in the tumble dryer destroys the elasticity of the garment and is the death of elastane.
HOW TO DRY YOUR BRA
If your bra has padding in the cups or shoulder straps, you need to stretch the padding so it doesn’t shrink.
Stretch also the wire band that the underwire is sewn into. This prevents the wire band from shrinking. If it should shrink, there is a risk that the underwire may creep out of the band.
Carefully squeeze the water out of the bra. Never wring it. Fold a dry terry towel around the bra and press carefully so the towel absorbs the excess water from the wet garment.
“After washing, stretch the wire band.
This prevents the underwire from creeping out”
When you hang up your bra to dry, don’t hang it by the shoulder straps as these can stretch from the weight of the wet garment. Instead, hang the bra so that the center gore (the middle part between the cups) hangs across the washing line.
Delicate garments sometimes need to be dried flat.
Never store a damp bra in the wardrobe. Let it dry properly after a wash.
A LITTLE CARE GOES A LONG WAY
These are a few suggestions for what you can do to get maximum use out of your bra. If you have invested in a quality bra and found a real favourite, you will of course want to enjoy it for a long time.