How Many Days Is Too Many To Wear A Bra Before Washing It?

Oh, the debate as to how often one should wash their bra. Depending on which one of your friends you ask, it could be after one wear, after an entire month's worth of wear, or, in some cases, even longer. Unless it's the summer and under-boob sweat is making those long, hot July days seem even longer than they are, can't we, technically, go more than a few wears before washing them? Well, it depends on how you define "wear."


"A few hours with a bra on with minimal sweating might not count as a full 'wear,'" dermatologist Alok Vij, M.D., tells the Cleveland Clinic. "But a few hours with heavy sweating could count as a double or triple wear." Basically, if you've been wearing and re-wearing your sports bra to the gym, according to Vij, then it's time to rethink your bra-washing strategy altogether.

But sweat isn't the only thing that can mess with an unwashed bra or the skin it comes in contact with. Here are three important reasons why washing your bra often is far more important than you might think it is.

The chemicals used to make it

There's something sexy about buying a new bra, bringing it home, and knowing that it's going to give you a boost of confidence, even if no one knows what's under your clothes. Because of this, it can be irresistible not to immediately put it on and wear it, but slow your roll before you commit to a whole day or night of wearing this new gorgeous piece of lingerie.


"Manufacturers often use finishes on new fabrics for aesthetic reasons," Tide senior scientist Sammy Wang, M.S.E., tells InStyle. "Plus, if you're buying in-store, the item may have been tried on by someone else before you."

Furthermore, during the entire manufacturing process, dozens of people are touching it, so germs can run rampant from this, not to mention the packaging, the handling, and the ultimate delivery of the bra to the store. You may not think about it, but your bra, before you buy it, comes in contact with lots of things, from germs to chemicals and anything else it picks up along the way, so washing it even before wearing it is essential.

You want it to keep the bra's shape

When you find a bra that not only fits great but also looks great, you want to keep it that way. That not only means washing it when it needs to be washed but also, even if it's your favorite, giving it a break. "You can wear the same bra two days in a row, as long as you take it off for several hours in between to allow the bra to relax," dermatologist Alok Vij, M.D., tells the Cleveland Clinic. "But wearing a 'lucky' bra day in and day out will make it lose its shape more quickly."


Think about it: your bras aren't made of steel. They're made of fabrics like cotton, lace, and elastic straps. If you happen to be on the busty side, you'll find in time that those straps will lose their elasticity if you didn't give your bra a little vacation in your drawer from time to time. So, wash it after a couple of wears — ideally by hand to keep its shape, especially if the fabric is delicate — and then put it aside and give one of your other bras a chance.

You really don't want bacteria on your skin

The consensus seems to be that, unless you're dealing with some sweaty situations, you should wash your bra after every two to three wears. The reason for this comes down to bacteria, growth of yeast, acne, oils that can stain the bra (for example, if you full-body moisture when you get out of the shower), as well as irritation that can be brought on by all these things. Oh, and fungus, too. Yes, you can grow fungus on your unwashed bras and/or under your boobs too. So, two to three wears are all you should be trying to get out of your bras. 


"Because if you don't wash it more than that, you really can have accumulation of dirt, oil, sweat, and bacteria," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., tells BuzzFeed Life. Of course, if you want to wash your bra more, then by all means. Washing your bra after every wear isn't going to hurt it, but don't forget to give it some downtime in between, so it can rest up and maintain its shape. Bras aren't cheap, and you want to get as much time out of them as you can.