By Muyiwa Olayinka
This is an interesting topic. When it comes to washing undergarments, it’s a no-brainer that underwear should be washed after each use, but how often should a woman wash her bras? Once a week? Twice a month? Never?
So we asked a few women how often they wear their bras before washing on average. We asked them to exclude special occasions and the one offs when they wear a matching set for a day and the responses we got were mixed but still very similar:
“Once a week, a five day week, like clockwork.”
“I usually go a while. If the baby spits up on me then I’ll wash it, otherwise I wear them about a week or more. But I’m in ‘new, exhausted mom land’ and have boring bras anyway so that might not count as normal.”
“My husband is always saying that I don’t need any new bras because I always wear the same ones! I rotate between my three favorite bras that don’t have nipple slips or any crazy pinching or sexy but shows under everything lace and I wear each one about four to five days each and then switch out.”
[Laughs] “Really? Okay, about every seven or eight days. That’s for wearing and washing. I want to think I do it more but unless I’m having sex then nah.”
“Daily. I hand wash every night in the shower. I always wear matching sets so I have to wash daily because I don’t ever buy extra underwear to match my bras.”
“When I was single, every two days and sometimes daily.
Let us share some deep thoughts about implications of not washing bras
1. You should be washing your bras a minimum of once a week.
“Because if you don’t wash it more than that, you really can have accumulation of dirt, oil, sweat, and bacteria,” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York–based dermatologist, tells BuzzFeed Life.
2. But probably even more often than that.
“Our general rule is that the closer that something is to your body the more frequently you have to wash it,” says Mary Begovic Johnson, senior scientific communications manager at Procter & Gamble. “Since bras are in intimate contact with your body we recommend washing bras after three wears at the most. And after each wear if you’re perspiring heavily.”
“Every three to five wears depending on your activity level and season. Being in South Florida, it’s a lot more regularly.”
3. It also depends what kind of bra you’re rocking.
“If you’re wearing a sports bra and you’re exercising and generating a lot of sweat, then that bra should be washed before you wear it the next time,” says Zeichner. “If you’re wearing an underwire bra that’s really pushed up right against you in the fold underneath the breast, then that bra may have a higher chance of being colonized by dirt and bacteria, versus if you’re wearing a soft cup bra.”
4. Frankly, your unwashed bra is a cesspool of grossness.
Here’s a fun list of things your body can produce right onto your bra, according to Zeichner: sweat, dirt, oil, bacteria, sunscreen, yeast, fungi, and lots and lots of microbiota, aka thousands of cute little microorganisms that live symbiotically on your skin. Usually these guys are perfectly healthy to have on you, but when they’re left to overgrow, things can get ugly.
Contributions from Buzzfeed and Simone Digital