Be honest - how often do you wash your clothes?
Sure, some things in your wardrobe probably only see the light of day 1 time before they get tossed back into the cycle, but what about your bras, jeans and pajamas?
In this article, we’ll focus specifically on bras, because they’re something us women inevitably wear daily (unless you’re channeling your inner Gloria Steinem, in which case - you go, girl!)
You Wait How Long?
According to this article on Simone Digital, most women wait about a week before washing their bras. Unfortunately, our weird rationalizations that allow us to go as long as possible without doing laundry may be working against us. The truth is that because our unmentionables sit closer to our bodies the longest, they should be washed most often. In fact, it’s inadvisable to wear the same bra more than 3 - 5 times in a row, according to this Buzzfeed article.
What’s the Worse That’ll Happen?
Unfortunately, a few things! Whether it’s skin irritation or unpleasant scents, we hope this list of 5 gross things that can happen if you don’t wash your bra often enough will persuade you to toss your bra (in the washing machine, we mean!)
1. Nasty microbes can accumulate on your bra.
Bacteria, dirt, sweat, yeast and fungi can collect on the delicate fabric of your bras. The longer you refrain from washing your undergarments, the longer they have to aggregate and breed. In general, these things aren’t particular dangerous when they come into contact with our skin, but put them all in one place (especially when that place can easily get damp and isn’t exposed to the air), and they can transform into something more nefarious.
2. Your bra will start to smell — and that smell may rub off onto your other clothes.
Who hasn’t thought that a spritz of your favorite body spray or perfume can erase the signs of the past days’ craziness? But ya know that lingering smell in a gym locker room you’ve become immune to over time? Yeah. That can become your bra. And that faint smell could potentially rub off onto your outer clothes.
3. Your bra might become stained.
Deodorant is bae, until it sits on your undergarments for several days in a row. Those yellowish-beigh sweat discolorations on your lacy bras also become a gathering ground for dirt and oil. Get thee to a blanchisserie!
4. You could get an acne breakout or a rash.
When you have a moist environment of skin sitting on skin, it promotes a growth of yeast under the breast. The problem gets worse for us sporty-spice girls, and those who wear sports bras and exercise often. Sweaty undergarments are the most common cause of body acne, anyway. With form fitting, high surface area sports bras, the grime, bacteria and sweat is held in close contact with our bodies for a long time. The friction also contributes to unsightly acne along the rib cage, back and underboob area. The takeaway here is that even if you feel like you have some more leeway with your T-shirt bras, sports bras should definitely get tossed into the wash after every visit to the gym.
5. Chafing ahead!
According to Dr. Robin Travers, dry skin plus sweaty undergarments are the perfect storm for chafed nipples. And ain’t nobody got time for that!
So What Can We Do?
Here are some simple solutions to help you avoid the 5 pitfalls of the list above.
1. Set a Calendar Reminder
Keep a bra that’s designated for laundry day, and wear it while you sash your others for the week. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
2. Use Delicates Laundry Bags
A lot of us are afraid to risk the wear and tear to our undergarments, especially since they tend to be so much more expensive and delicate than our other clothing. While we’d all love to hand wash our bras and panties and lie them out to dry in a meadow, we’ve got to get real. Having a mesh wash bag lets you effectively clean your underwear while protecting them from the potentially harmful wash cycle, especially if you use a machine with an agitator. More more rips, tears or stretching. Plus, you don’t have to untangle your bra straps from your other clothes.