By: Katie Lemon
Whether you prefer a triangle bralette or racerback bralette, you and I have our bras to thank for keeping us secure and comfortable, day in and day out. Because bras are so essential, they do get dirty pretty quickly. You already know how to hand wash underwear, now it’s time you learn how to hand wash bras!
Hand washing bras is not only more sustainable than using a washing machine but it also preserves your bras for a much longer time. That’s good news for both the earth and your bank account! Follow these steps on how to hand wash bras and you’ll have fresh and clean undergarments in no time.
WHAT YOU NEED WHEN LEARNING HOW TO HAND WASH BRAS:
- Dirty bras and bralette
- A clean sink you can plug shut
- (Eco-Friendly) Laundry Detergent
- A towel
- Hangers, clothesline, shower rod, or dry rack
How To Hand Wash Bras [Step by Step]:
(table of contents)
STEP 1: PREPARE YOUR WORKSPACE
Now that you’ve gathered all your materials, it’s time to get your sink set up for hand washing bras. Plug the sink and fill it with warm water, not hot! Hot water wears out your clothes faster, but warm water will get the job done without causing any damage. If your sink doesn’t have a stopper, you can always place a jar or bowl filled with water over the hole.
STEP 2: CHECK ALL CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Most bras will be fine to wash gently with lukewarm water, but it’s always a good idea to check the label just in case. If any particularly delicate bras have specific instructions, lump them together to be washed as a set. And don’t forget to separate your darks from your lights to keep each bra looking bright and clean.
STEP 3: ADD SOME SOAP TO THE PARTY
Once your sink is filled with water and you’ve double checked all care instructions, it’s time to get sudsy. 1-2 tablespoons of your regular laundry detergent is usually a safe bet, but you can play around with this amount depending on the size of your sink and how many bras you’re washing. Pour the soap in and swish the water around to dissolve. Now you’re ready to add your bras!
STEP 4: PRETREAT STAINS THEN LET YOUR BRAS SOAK
Put your bras in the sink and swish them around to make sure they’re all coated in soapy water. Before leaving them to soak, pretreat any stains by dabbing with a little extra detergent. Common bra stains include underarm sweat spots and soiled straps, so check for those. Once all stains are pretreated, you can let those babies chill in the soapy water for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
STEP 5: RINSE THOROUGHLY BUT GENTLY
After you’ve let your bras soak up some of that soapy goodness, you’re ready to rinse and dry them. Swish them around in the water before draining the sink, then rinse through with cold water. Take each bra in your hands one at a time and gently squeeze as you run them under the faucet.
Make sure each bra is free of soap. The water will be running clear and the fabric won’t feel slippery anymore. For stubborn soap residue, fill the sink with cold water after your first rinse, let them soak for a couple more minutes, and then rinse again. No matter what, don’t wring your bras out or rub them too harshly—they’ll stretch out, lose their shape, and possibly even tear!
STEP 6: DRY THOSE FRESHLY CLEANED BRAS, AND YOU'RE DONE
Speed up the drying process by pressing each bra gently between a folded up towel before hanging to dry. You can hang them anywhere you’ve got the space and relatively good air flow: a clothesline or a dry rack is ideal, but hangers or even your shower curtain rod work too. Make sure to hang your bras from the center and NOT the straps. Wet straps will stretch out and ruin your bra’s shape.
If you want to avoid hanging altogether, you can let your bralettes dry on a towel, but you’ll most likely have to switch out the towel once or twice. Most bras will dry in one day, but some may take up to two days. And that’s it! Congrats on learning how to hand wash bralettes quickly and easily.
TRIED-AND-TRUE TIPS FOR HOW TO WASH BRAS
Hand washing your bras and bralettes is really a breeze, and it’s a great way to take care of a clothing item that supports you every day. Here are a few other tips and tricks to keep in mind for how to hand wash a bra best:
Hand Wash In Bulk
This process gets a little laborious if you’re hand washing bras every other day. I try to wait until I have a few bras in my dirty laundry pile before I plug my sink and get to work. That being said, it’s a delicate balance! Don’t wait until every single bra you own is dirty, because with a dry time of up to 2 days you may put yourself in a sticky (or damp) situation.
Use Eco-Friendly Detergent
How to hand wash bralettes with extra sustainability points? Use eco-friendly detergent, of course! Might I suggest you try a hemp soap like Dr. Bronner’s? It works great as a laundry detergent and is better for the environment than traditional options.
Try A Different Dry
If you’re washing a big load of bras and don’t want to soak several towels during the drying process, there’s another method you can try. Bust out your salad spinner for an easy pre-dry before hanging your bras. You can throw one or two in at a time and spin them just as you would fresh greens. Of course, make sure to wash thoroughly before you bring it back into the kitchen!
Hand Wash Regularly
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been guilty of wearing a bra way past its prime. The truth is, dirty bras harbor all sorts of funky bacteria, sweat, grime, and more, so it’s important to wash them regularly. Experts recommend washing your bra every 2-3 wears. For sports bras or bras that get particularly sweaty or spoiled, try to wash between every use.
You Can Machine Wash if You Must
Of course hand washing is best, but we’re all human. When life gets hectic, sometimes you’ve just got to throw those babies in the washing machine and hope for the best. Here are some tips to make that process go as smoothly as possible:
- Hook any clasps together and use a lingerie bag to protect your bras.
- Wash on a gentle cycle using cold water.
- No matter how rushed you are, avoid the dryer! It’ll wear out your bras in a blink.
Make Sure Your Bras Fit Right
Did you know that up to 80 percent of women wear the wrong size bra?! Yikes. Save yourself the discomfort of an ill-fitting bra by making sure it actually fits you. For WAMA hemp bra sizes, you can check our FAQ or the sizing chart listed for both the triangle bralette and racerback bralette.
Store Your Bras With Care
As explained in our guide on how to fold underwear, properly storing your undergarments extends their life and saves you time when getting dressed. To store bras effectively, stack cupped bras against one another and lay cupless bralettes together. Bonus points for arranging by color!
HOW TO HAND WASH BRAS: CONCLUSION
Hand washing bras is a labor of love that’s totally worth it to keep your favorite bras looking and feeling great for a long time to come. Plus, when you follow these steps for how to hand wash bras, the process couldn’t be easier! Do the right thing for the earth and your undergarments: hand wash to preserve energy and water and keep your bras in top condition.
Do you hand wash your bras? If not, would you give it a try? Let me know what you think in the comments.