When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or consultation.

How to Wash Bras in a Washing Machine: Without Ruining Them

Learn how to wash your bras in a washing machine without ruining your bras!

Are you wondering about washing bras in a washing machine without ruining them? Bras are expensive and it’s hard to find one that fits correctly. On the other hand, hand washing your bras is time-consuming and a tiresome chore.

We have come to your rescue with some easy hacks for washing your bras properly so that you can enjoy wearing them for months to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Use a mesh bag or pillowcase to protect bras in the washing machine.
  • Set washer to a gentle cycle with cold water and use a gentle detergent.
  • Wash bras after 2 or 3 wears, and sports bras after every workout.
  • Hang bras to dry; avoid using a dryer as it can damage the fabric and elastics.

How Often to Wash a Bra

You should wash your bras after 2 or 3 wears, as it doesn’t take much sweat for your bra to become dirty. Over a day, your body will transfer its natural oils to the bra’s fabric. Bacteria thrive in these conditions which can lead to rashes, infections, and breakouts.

Wash your bras more often if you find yourself sweating more than normal. Also, a wear is considered a full day, not just a couple of hours.

A sports bra will need to be washed or rinsed in warm water after every workout. Sweat will penetrate the fibers and increase the likelihood of bacteria growing in your bra.

Can You Put Bras In the Washer?

Yes, a bra can be washed in a washing machine but this will shorten the lifespan of your bra. Read the care instructions for your bra because different styles and brands will need different care.

Can You Wash Your Bras Without Ruining Them?

Type of Bra Is It Washing Machine Safe
Underwire bras Underwire bras usually need hand washing because the wire can bend in the washing machine.
Padded bras Padded bras usually need to be hand washed so the pads don’t become misshapen in the washer.
Wireless or soft cup bras You may be able to machine wash the bra safely.
Silk, lace, and delicate fabrics It’s best to hand wash any delicate fabric to extend the lifespan of your bra.
Sports bras Most sports bras can be machine washed safely.

How to Wash Bras In a Washing Machine


Handwashing is best for a bra, but it’s not always possible. If you do need to use a washing machine to wash your bras, make sure you use a mesh or lingerie bag. The bag can withstand heat and is permeable so the wash water can wash your clothing.

However, the bag protects your bras so they will retain their shape and last longer than if you just throw them into the washing machine unprotected.

What You’ll Need

1. Set Wash Cycle

You will need to set your washing machine on the delicate cycle with cold water to safely wash your bras in a washing machine. Add the proper amount of laundry detergent to your washing machine.

Do not use a fabric softener when washing your bras as it may leave a residue on your clothing.

2. Prepare Bras & Start Washer

Hook the back of your bras together so the hooks don’t get tangled or snagged while the bras are being washed. Place the bras in the mesh or lingerie bag. Place the bag with the bras in the washing machine.

Start the wash cycle.

3. Dry the Bras

When the wash cycle is finished, don’t place your bras in the dryer. The intense heat will damage the fabric. Also avoid wringing your bras as this will warp the fabric.

Instead, lay your bras on top of one towel. Place the other towel on top of the bras. Press down on the stack to remove as much excess water as you can from the bras.

If the molded cups became misshapen in the wash, gently reshape the cups with your hands.

Hang the bras on hangers to air dry.

How Do You Wash Bras Without a Mesh Bag?

If you don’t have a mesh bag or would prefer an option that doesn’t include polyester or nylon, you can wash your bra in a pillowcase instead of a mesh bag. You will need to use safety pins to keep your bag closed.

Can You Put Bras In the Dryer?

Bras should not be put in the dryer. Dryers produce intense heat that will damage the delicate fabric and elastics of your bra. This will affect the way the bras fit you.

Instead, you should put your bras on hangers to air dry. This will take a day or so, so never wash all of your bras at the same time.

How to Hand Wash Bras

soaking bras with soapy water

Hand washing is the best way to wash your bras, as it will extend their lifespan. Let’s walk you through how to hand wash your bras in a gentle, but effective way.

  • Time: 30 minutes + 1 day to dry
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • 2 Towels
  • Hangers

1. Fill Sink with Cool Water

Fill your bathroom sink with cool to lukewarm water. Avoid hot water. It will break down the elastics in the fabric.

2. Add Detergent

Add about a tablespoon of laundry detergent to a gallon of water. You only need enough to create a light lather as too much soap will leave a residue on your bras.

3. Soak Bras

Allow your bras to soak in the soapy water for about 15 – 20 minutes.

4. Rub Bras Gently

Rub your bras gently between your hands to work in the lather.

5. Rinse Bras

Rinse your bras in cool water until all the soapy lather is removed and the water runs clean. Gently squeeze out your bras to remove excess water. Be careful not to wring your bras as it will stretch out the fabric.

6. Towel Dry & Air Dry on Hangers

Gently lay the bras on a flat towel and press another towel on top of the bras to remove the excess water remaining in the bras. Hang your bras on a hanger to air dry. It will take a day or two to completely dry, so don’t wash all your bras at the same time.

Tips For Caring For Bras

Caring for your bras correctly is the best way to extend their lifespan.

  1. Don’t stuff your bras into a drawer.
  2. Do not fold bras in half and tuck one cup into the other unless it’s an all-lace bra.
  3. Lay your bras flat so they retain their shape.
  4. Use a salad spinner to wash your bras. Add your bras, a tiny amount of soap, and just enough water to cover the bras. Spin the salad spinner slowly. Pour out the soapy water and replace it with fresh water to rinse your bras. Spin again. Repeat if you’d like to be sure that all the soap has been removed or if you still see soap. Spin your bras in the salad spinner without any water to remove the excess water. You may need to repeat this several times before all of the excess water has been removed. Hang your bras up to dry.
  5. Try rinsing your bra in the shower. This will remove the oils from the bra. Hang your bra up to dry after it’s rinsed.

How Often Should You Replace a Bra?

You should replace your bras every 8 months. Bras that need to be replaced will have loose bands, damaged hooks, and won’t fit as well as it did when it was new.


What Kind of Detergent Should You Use For Bras?

Regular detergent will destroy the fibers and elasticity of your bras. So you will need to use a soap that’s formulated for delicate fabrics.

Do You Have to Wash Bras In Cold Water?

You need to wash your bras in cold or lukewarm water. Hot water will damage the fabric and elastic bands in your bras.

Can I Wash My Bras With Vinegar?

Yes, if you’d like to wash your bras without detergent, then you can wash your bras with vinegar instead.

How Many Bras Should a Woman Have?

The amount of bras a woman should have depends on the individual. There are no rules about bra ownership, but at the very least you should have seven for each day of the week.

Should You Wash New Bras Before Wearing?

You should wash new bras before wearing them because many people will have handled the bra before you bought it. Some may even have tried it on!

How Do I Get the Sour Smell Out of My Bra?

The best way to get that sour smell out of your bra is to fill your sink with warm water and add a small amount of dish soap. Swirl it around to agitate the bra, and rinse it clean. Finally, hang it to dry on the line outside.

How to Wash Bras in Laundry Machine

To wash your bras safely in a washing machine, you will need to first place your bras in a mesh or lingerie bag. You can also use a pillowcase if needed, just use safety pins to keep it closed.

Add a gentle, alcohol-free laundry detergent and set your washing machine to the delicate wash cycle using cold water. Your bras will be washed without ruining them. After they’re washed, hang your bras up to dry as the intense heat of a dryer will damage them.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Sara Dennis

About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.