How to Hand Wash a Bra





Introduction: How to Hand Wash a Bra

About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Every bra-wearing person has most likely experienced the complete and utter destruction that comes from throwing a bra in the dryer. Or hell, even just by throwing it into the washing machine. It can be frustrating. Whether the lining balls up, the fabric gets torn up, the wires pop through the fabric or the straps snap off, washing a bra using machines can be an expensive gamble.

I've been hand washing my bras for years and I will never ever go back to using machines! Hand washing a bra much easier than you'd think, too. Keep reading to find out how to wash your bras by hand with very little fuss. :D

Plus, I hope this way of washing bras will encourage you to wash yours more often, especially when the weather is warm! Bras collect dirt, sweat, dead skin cells and all sorts of nasty things. Not washing your bras can lead to some pretty terrible breakouts and even infections if you're super busty. Try to wash your favorite bras often, and make sure to rotate bras daily and go braless when you can to give your favorite bras a chance to dry out completely and let the elastic take a break.

Step 1: What You'll Need

  • dirty bras
  • washing detergent of choice
  • clean sink or a clean bucket/large bowl
  • warm water
  • salad spinner

I'm using this salad spinner. It's small but gets the job done!

When it comes to detergent, you can use the normal stuff you already have. There are also fragrance and dye free alternatives out there that are just for delicates, but I don't always keep them on hand because they're a little more expensive.

P.S. Does your bra have push up inserts? Take those out before washing, for sure.

Step 2: Washing

Clean your sink and fill it with warm water - add a teaspoon or two of detergent to the water.

You don't want to add loads of detergent here. You're washing something pretty small, and you want to be able to easily rinse it later. Too much detergent will make this process a lot trickier than it needs to be. :)

Add in your bras and push them under the water and swish them around gently. Leave them for 10-15 minutes to soak.

Step 3: Rinsing

Once your bras have soaked for a little bit, swish them in the water again and press them gently in your hands. Drain the pretty gross and probably kind of grey water. (yuck. This bra has been worn every now and then for a couple weeks and it's already filthy.)

Plug up the sink again and run cold water over the bras. Swish them around in the water that pools in the sink to rinse them out completely.

Step 4: Drying

Once your bras are rinsed, you can speed up the drying process by using a salad spinner!

Pop them in the salad spinner one at a time and spin well. You should be able to pull out quite a bit of water. This time I got almost a whole cup of water out of it!

Once that's done, hang them over a hanger or on a clothesline and let them air dry the rest of the way. (If you don't have anywhere to hang them up, you can also lay them out on a towel to dry.)

DO NOT hang them up by their straps. Since the bra is still wet and heavy, the straps can get stretched out from having to support the extra weight.

Keep in mind that it can sometimes take a while for a bra to dry, and especially if they're padded. I always count on at least a day to dry. I like to wash mine in shifts so I know I'll have at least one to wear, or I'll just wash them all Friday night so I've got a clean fleet of bras for Monday. :)



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    Hi everyone, I have a question. I always wash my bras by hand as they are quite expensive (big cupped bra's don't come cheap :( ), and always let them dry to the air on a drying rack. Unfortunately, my bras keep a nasty odor, especially in the spots that have been sweaty. Does anyone have a nice tip how to get rid of the odor (other than using vinegar, I really don't like the smell of that)? Thank you very much in advance!

    2 replies

    Hi Rinsie

    I use vinegar in my washing machine as a softener (standard softeners clog my machine) and though when you take oit the washing it has a smell of vinegar, it evaporates and the smell of the washing detergent is what remains. I also would not stand vinegar smell in my clothes.

    Hope that helps

    Too my knowledge the smell of vinegar does not stick around. I use it to wash counters and when it dries you can't smell it even if you tried. We always use vinegar to get rid of pee stained sheets... once washed you can't smell either. But if you don't want to use vinegar bc then you would be in it's scent for while before finished I get that.

    Awesome article! I never would have thought of the salad spinner. When I need a bra to dry quickly I usually put it in a net bag in the washer then I worry about it the whole time since my bras are underwire. I'm going onto Amazon to order a salad spinner right now!

    1 reply

    Yay!! I'm so happy you found it helpful. I know I'll never go back to drying them without the spinner :D

    If you add a tablespoon to 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse water, it will completely remove all the detergent from you bra. The smell DOES not stay, it actually deodorizes any remaining odors. This is especially nice for those of us that have allergies to detergents etc. that remain in our clothing.

    4 replies

    Even better would be a solution of citric acid at 15% (1 liter of water for 150 grams of citric acid and just mix until dissolved) as it will give an even better result at the touch without the smell, it's quite cheaper, and it's less damaging for the environment once flushed (for example you'll need a total of 1667 liter circa to neutralize a 1% concentration of acetic acid, while only 31 for the citric acid).

    You can even use it in your washing machine instead of the softener if you wish to have a little bit less soft (still soft tough) but quite a lot cleaner clothing.

    I'm done being nerdy, I swear.

    I use vinegar in our rinse cycle and have never had a problem. No fabric softener for this family. ; )

    I started doing that when my daughter was a baby as she was allergic to all detergents and fabric softeners. (that was in 1972) No fabric softener in my house either.

    Thank you so much for the help! Have you ever used the salad-spinner as the sink/washing area as well as the "wringing-out" area?

    I always soak mine in cold water

    If you don't have a salad spinner, wrap the bra in a clean, dry bath towel and step on it to squeeze a lot of water from the bra into the towel. This also works to clean cpap headgear.

    Feel free to rag on me for this remark. My first though was that the first step would be 'remove the bra' 1-locate clasp by feeling at approximately the height of the scapula at he mid-line of the body 2-push the two opposing ends together slightly while at the same time lifting and separating the two end 3-shrug the shoulders to allow the shoulder straps to fall to the sides of the torso *not required with a strapless bra 4-shake vigorously to dislodge and pull the bra away from the body *alternatively just let the dam thing fall to the floor and kick it into the corner after all it's been kicking your butt all day.

    1 reply

    Buy a bra that fits.

    The salad spinner is brilliant! I would never have thought of that!

    1 reply

    I always put mine in a mesh bag and throw them into the washing maschine
    on cold or warm at most. Never have a problem doing it that way. I only hand wash when I don't have one of those bags handy - they keep wires and all the other parts from being tangled anywhere and thus dramatically reduce the risk of anything breaking, either on the bra or the washing mashine itself.

    I'm definitely going to add a salad spinner to my washing routine, very clever! I usually hang mine upside-down by the underwires and other major seams, I figure drying it opposite the way it is normally stressed may help it keep its shape a bit longer -plus it gets a bit more air flow.

    Thank you for posting this .. Great instructions - easy follow, and just in time .. Today is my Laundry day :)