You’ve probably always wondered if your bra can be worn for more than a day. According to the experts, you should wash your bras after wearing them every time. But how much do you know about cleaning them? And how do you clean your bras to maximize their lifespan?

How do you wash your bra?

Hand-Washing

Hand washing may seem tedious but will keep your bras looking and fitting better for a long time. Before you even start, you’ll need a receptacle that you can use to fully submerge your bras in the water – be that a pail, container or your sink. Start by filling the pail with warm water and detergent, then put your bras in. Stir the bras around for a bit to make sure the water and detergent get worked into the bras and leave them to sit in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.

When you come back, dump or drain the water and fill the basin again with clean water. Work the bras with your hands to remove the detergent, remembering not to squeeze or twist too hard; the whole point of hand-washing is that it should be less physically harsh than a washing machine. Once the detergent is all gone, remove the bras from the water and gingerly remove as much excess liquid as you can without twisting or squeezing the bras. Proceed to air dry as described above.

A few bonus tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile? While mild detergent is fine, consider replacing it with a specially formulated lingerie wash for an even gentler rinse if you want to be extra careful. You can also rinse your bras in just water every once in a while to reduce how frequently you need to give them a thorough wash. Lastly, if you live in a particularly humid environment, consider pointing a fan at your bras so they dry quickly before the trapped moisture can make them go dank and funky-smelling.

Machine Wash

If you’re lacking in time, machine washing will also do. Start by hooking your bras closed and then inserting them into the mesh wash bag (which is something like this). By doing these, you can avoid your bra straps from getting stretched out when they tangle around with other laundry items. Also, you can avoid the hook closures from hooking loose-knit items like a cardigan and pulling out the thread.

Then, make sure to choose the “delicates” setting on the washer, if available. If not, any cold water cycle will work just fine. Once you’re done with washing, remove the bras and air dry them. Place them on a flat surface or hang them with hangers other than the straps itself. Do not dry them using the dryer, because the heat can cause it to lose aesthetic over time and damage the elasticity.