It’s Time to Get Real About How Often You Really Should Be Washing Your Bra

It might be time for you to part ways with your favorite bra.

Let’s get straight to the point: How often do you wash your bra? The simple answer is every 3 to 4 wears, but the full answer is a tad more complicated.

Because bras are a clothing item that we wear directly on our body, they should be getting washed on a regular basis. If your bra isn’t washed after every 3 to 4 wears, it can start to accumulate dirt, oil, bacteria, and sweat that comes off of your body. Don’t get grossed out though; those things are perfectly normal to have on you…but if they are left to grow and multiply on your bra, that’s a different story.

The build up of those things on your bra paired with the close contact it makes to your skin can lead to rash that can become an open wound. (Don’t believe these myths about your bra.) It starts to get a little more complicated when you throw in factors that may increase the oil, bacteria, dirt, and sweat that your body is producing, like what season it is, for instance.

If it’s summer or you live in a humid climate and find yourself sweating more, you should wash your bra more often. (Speaking of sweat, it should go without saying that your sports bra should be washed after every workout.) The type of bra you’re wearing can also have an affect on its grime level. Underwire bras that are pushed up right against your skin tend to hold more dirt and bacteria than a soft cup bra, that doesn’t hug your skin as tightly. Are you making these common bra mistakes?

At this point, you might be feeling that your bra now needs a permanent spot in the washing machine, but you also might be concerned about how long your bras are going to last if you’re washing them all the time. In that case, you can try hand-washing your bras or running them on a gentler cycle through your washing machine. Using a mesh garment bag and clasping the bra before running it through the wash can also help it to maintain its shape and not get twisted up in other clothes. Also try rotating your bras throughout the week so the elastic band can get a rest between wears.

This might also mean that it’s time to buy a few new bras, but who doesn’t love a fun shopping trip? Once you find the one right for you, check out what your bra choice says about your personality.


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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.