How to Dry Bras

ISABELLA TORCHIA / STYLE WELLNESS

While we’ve written extensively about washing your bra, it might surprise you to hear that drying can be even more destructive, if you do it wrong.

The whole point of washing and drying your bras properly is to prolong their lifespan. Because, let’s face it, bras can be expensive items. And even when cared for they generally last about a year (depending on how many you have in rotation). 

So it just makes good sense to take care of them, especially if they're your beloved Knix bras. To make it easy, just follow the following 5 rules of drying bras.

5 Rules of Drying Bras

1. *Never* Machine Dry Your Bra

When it comes to washing bras, the washing machine is sometimes okay. But the rule is much more clear cut when it comes to the dryer: DON’T.

Even at its lowest setting, your dryer is much too hot for your delicate bras. It will cause the elastic to break and the different materials in your bra will expand and contract at different rates in the dryer, causing tension and fabric damage.

So, in summary, just say “no” to the dryer.

2. Don’t Aggressively Wring Your Bra

If you hand wash your bras, you’ll probably have an excess of water to get rid of before you hang them to dry. (Remember that excess water can weigh down your bra, causing it to stretch).

However, resist the urge to scrunch up and wring out your bras. They’re just too delicate for that kind of rough handling. That applies just as much to your everyday “plain Jane” bra as it does to your fancy silk ‘n’ lace numbers.

Instead, gently pat the bra between a clean towel to absorb the excess moisture before hanging to dry. Reshape the cups after you do this to ensure they keep their form.

3. *Always* Air Dry Your Bra

This is just another way of saying never machine dry your bra. But, yes, we’re that emphatic about it. Your bras should always air dry, either inside or outside. This is absolutely the gentlest way of drying any delicate garment.

If you live in a milder or damper climate, you may be tempted to drape them over a radiator to dry. Again, avoid those kinds of extremes of heat. Most of us simply air dry our bras in the bathroom. 

5. Always Hang Your Bra to Dry Properly

While air drying is the absolute right way to dry a bra, you also have to pay attention to how you dry it. Don’t just dangle it from one strap as this puts strain on that strap and can stretch it out disproportionately. 

There are two good options. Both start with making sure excess moisture has been removed by gently patting the bra between some clean towels first.

Lay the bra flat: You can lay the Knix bra flay on a drying tray or across a drying rack. This way, there is no strain on your bra.

Hang on a hanger, just as you would wear: You can also hang the damp bra on a hanger as if the hanger is “wearing” the bra (i.e. back clasped and a strap over each “shoulder” of the hanger). 

Both options give you a better distribution of weight so the bra doesn’t end up stretching and becoming misshapen.

5. These Rules Apply to All Bras

You may think these drying rules apply to delicate lingerie only. But we do mean them for all bras. Even sports bras! Sports bras are constructed for more hardworking wear, but they still need gentle care.

The reason is that a bra is really all about support. (Of course, they can also be cute, but they’re mostly for support). And drying with extreme heat is just about the most compromising thing you can do to a bra’s support. 

Don’t try to haggle on this one, trust us.

How to Wash Bras

Now that we’ve delivered the tough love on drying your bra, we can be a little kinder to you on washing. In terms of how to wash a bra, a hand wash is, of course, the best way  of caring for your lingerie. Indeed, many bras need a hand wash (especially underwire versus wireless bras).

Hand Wash Your Bras

Here are the steps for handwashing your bra:

  • Step 1: Fill your sink with warm (not hot) water and mild detergent. Swish the water gently to make sure the detergent is mixed and dissolved properly. See our note below about choosing the right detergent. 
  • Step 2: Submerge your bras in the water. Like any time you’re doing laundry, you need to separate lights from darks and colors and wash like together. Colors can run even when you’re hand washing!
  • Step 3: Leave them to soak! Aim for about 10 to 15 minutes. But you can leave the bras to soak for up to an hour (great time to catch an episode of Netflix or run some errands). 
  • Step 4: Agitate the bras in the water. Next, you need to swish and swirl each bra in the water. Don’t get too aggressive here… remember these are delicate garments. But you do want to make sure you agitate any dirt out of the fabric. The water will probably get pretty murky at this stage, which is always simultaneously kinda gross and satisfying to see!
  • Step 5: Rinse. Under running lukewarm water, rinse each bra until the water runs clear. By the way, you can also wash other undergarments and clothing using the same steps.

Machine Wash Your Bras

That said, many brands (including Knix!) can be washed in a washing machine. Here are the steps for machine washing your bras:

  • Step 1: Fasten all the hooks / clasps. Hooks and clasps can catch on other items of clothing, which can cause a lot of stretching, pulling and even breakage of your bras. So make sure you fasten all the clasps to minimize the chances of that happening.
  • Step 2: Place the bras in a mesh bag / lingerie bag. A mesh bag or lingerie bag is great for keeping delicates (underwear, socks, tights) contained in the laundry and protected from tangling with less delicate garments.
  • Step 3: Separate your colors / weights. As always with laundry, you want to take care to separate your colors (white, black and colors). You can also separate your washing machine loads by weight, including bras with other lighter items, like tees, socks, underwear etc. rather than heavier objects like bed linens, jeans and sweatshirts.
  • Step 4: Choose a gentle cycle. Make sure to set your machine on a gentle cycle or cold water cycle when you’re washing your bras, undergarments or other delicates.

A Note About Detergent / Stain Removers

You may notice that your lingerie store sells specialty detergent for bra care or lingerie wash for washing bras and lingerie. The key to look for is an alcohol-free detergent. Some of our favourites include:

  • Soak Wash: Manufactured in Toronto, Soak is an eco-friendly, rinse-free wash that cleans beautifully, and is ideal for hand or machine washing bras.
  • The Laundress: The Laundress’ Delicate Wash is ideal for lingerie and other items labeled “dry clean”. This formula removes perspiration, body oils, and stains while cleaning and preserving fabrics.

If you’re dealing with stains, it's best to take a gentle approach. Do not be tempted to increase the temperature of your wash and instead, think about repeating the soaking steps in the hand washing section above. A gentle toothbrush and a little spot treatment with your detergent can also help loosen a stain without pulling the delicate fibres. Avoid using fabric softener when you wash your bras (or with any synthetic fabrics) as it can leave residue.

The Best Bra Care Includes Storage

After you’ve taken such great care of your bra washing and air-drying it, you’ll definitely want to make sure you store it properly. 

  • Don’t fold your bras in any unnatural way - aim to fold them the way you wear it.
  • Definitely don’t tuck the cups into each other.
  • Don’t cram them into a drawer and crush the cups, especially if they are padded. You can even get fancy drawer dividers if you feel like unleashing your inner Marie Kondo.

Following these steps will ensure you keep your lingerie in the best possible condition and give it the longest possible lifespan.