To Hand Wash or Not To Hand Wash?

In more than one response to my blog The Current State of Wear  a few women talked about the pros and cons of machine washing v. hand washing bras.

Admittedly, I have never used a lingerie wash bag in the washer. I have one, but I have never used it. When I was wearing bras that didn’t fit (and also cost less), I would always throw my bras in the washer – sans wash bag – and then hang them on the line to dry. I never seemed to have any problems, really. Yes, I would have wires pop out frequently….or the bras would come unhooked and would snag on each other. Sometimes wires would be bent out of shape. Okay, so yes, I had issues. Throwing bras in the washer without using a wash bag is a bad idea. I think we can all agree on that.

But are there benefits to using a washer vs. hand washing your bras?

Since I have started to spend more on bras (anywhere from $40-74), I have not been putting my bras anywhere near the washer. Oh no. They get washed by hand, with unscented lingerie wash. I fill the sink with warm water and some lingerie wash, pop some bras in – of like colors – and let them sit for a bit. Then I squish them up and down in the water, and gently rub the wires and elastics that go under the arm with my fingers. After that, I drain the water and refill the sink with non-soapy warm water. I let the bras sit again, then I squish around. Then, again, I drain the sink and I rinse each bra under the running water of the faucet. I’ve never had trouble getting all of the soap out of my bras. I tend to either (1) lay them flat on a dry towel to dry, or I hang them over the edge of the bath tub to drip dry. It takes anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight for my bras to dry.

I have always felt like the elastics go back to their normal shape and tension, AND my bras smell nice and clean.

But, the way that I wash my bras may not be the way that you wash your bras. I think we have to choose what works for us – whether we have time or we don’t to hand wash, whether we use lingerie wash or regular detergent and so on.

**Please take the poll and comment about your washing methods, especially if they are different from mine – and even if not. I am very curious to learn how other women wash their bras 🙂 ***



11 thoughts on “To Hand Wash or Not To Hand Wash?

  1. I wash bras by hand, in the bathroom sink, with baby laundry detergent (Dreft), then rinse, which I’ve heard lacks the detergent ingredients that damage elastic over time. I’m trying out the salad spinner thing soon, to see if it shortens drying time (most of my bras are molded or padded, and take 24+ hours to dry because I can’t wring them out).

    I hang dry with clips instead of laying flat to dry… I wonder if that hurts anything?

    • Thanks for weighing in, Chloe!

      I have heard of the salad spinner thing, but I think I would have to see it in action before trying it.

      As for hanging with clips, I think it depends on what part of the bra you clip to hang. If you clip, say one end of your band and let the rest of the bra hang, I have read that this will stretch out the band as the weight of the bra is focused on the band that has been clipped up. I would assume that as long as the weight of the bra is balanced that this would not happen.

      How do you clip them up?

      • I clip it by the bra / shoulder strap (and normally only one, since I have quite a few bras and wash them “in bulk” so to speak). So over time, I guess it could stretch out the strap unevenly, in theory if I always clipped it on the same side… but most of my bra straps are not stretchy at all. Hopefully it won’t become an issue.

        Salad spinner makes sense to me, but I need to try it out first and see if it’s really a viable option– it seems like such a great time saver, and I’m sure it’ll be more gentle than the delicate cycle on my washing machine. I ordered one online, so it’ll be a few days before I can try it out. I should wash my bras more, but it takes so much time, and I’m without the well-fitting ones for over a day every time, right now!

        Ugh, to clarify my original comment: I’ve read that Dreft lacks the ingredients that damage elastic over time (similar to lingerie-specific detergents), and it’s considerably less expensive than the lingerie specific detergents. My bras do smell heavenly when they are freshly washed!

  2. I have the large bra saver from Bare Necessities for my bras, using the hand wash setting with baby shampoo. Works like a charm. 🙂

  3. My bras go in the machine, on the delicate cycle, in a mesh bag with normal laundry detergent. I usually wash my bras on sunny days so that they can hang dry outside.

    Before I wore properly-fitted bras, I also threw my bras in the machine, sans bag, with my regular washing. At high temperatures and spin speeds. Those $30 34Cs from Debenhams and Target fit terribly, but they’re really hardy! All of them lasted for years without popping wires or hooks or anything like that.

  4. I machine wash, mostly because I just find it such a pain in the butt trying to wash my bras in the sink. I would be more likely to hand-wash if my bathroom sink was bigger and/or my bras smaller! (my current everyday bras are Goddess Kiera in 34N. That’s some seriously big wires.) I wind up having to rinse them in the shower because there’s just not enough room to move the bras around and get them under the water.

    Which is really just too much work given that I’m currently stringing along year-old bras that were too big in the band to start off with (because Goddess doesn’t make a 32O. hah. as if). I haven’t found anything better yet and I’m only gonna buy not-perfect bras so often/on sale. So I just. don’t. care.
    If and when I do find something that *actually* fits I will probably hand-wash in the shower to help preserve it.

Tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s