Long Live Your Lingerie

By Suzanne Jackson

You found it! The perfect bra. It fit's. It flatters. It's fabulous. Now, how do you keep it that way? Your new bra won't last forever but, by following the care instructions, you can prolong its life. With proper care, an everyday bra will last six months to a year.

Bra Washing

Bras should be washed after each wearing. Perfumes, lotions, and perspiration can mark fine fabrics. Body chemistry can cause straps and bands to lose elasticity. Regular washing will help prevent this damage. Manufacturers understand their product. Care instructions, while brief, are always right. It's a good idea to attach hooks and eyes, separate colors, and wash matching sets together.

Hand wash

Fill sink with cool water and mild detergent.
Agitate or rub gently - do not soak for more than 5 minutes.
Rinse well with cold water.
Gently squeeze out excess water - do not wring.
Blot dry with towel.

Machine wash

Always use a lingerie bag to keep your delicates from twisting, stretching, and tangling during the wash cycle. Wash on the delicate cycle.

Dry Cleaning

Some bras are simply not designed to be hand or machine washed. If the manufacturer recommends dry-cleaning, please follow their advice.

Bra Drying

"Bras should always be line dried," says Jennifer from Client Services at VictoriasSecret.com. "Heat of a dryer may destroy elasticity." Machine drying cotton, underwire, and bras with trim can cause shrinking, wire distortion, and fraying.

After washing, reshape your bra and either hang to drip dry or dry flat on a towel. Dry bras away from radiators and sunshine to avoid fading of colors and discoloration of whites. Some plain nylon bras can be safely tumble-dried. Check labels to be sure. If care instructions allow machine drying, use a low heat setting and a mesh lingerie bag.

Bra Detergents

Washing your bras in the detergent you use for your other laundry can defeat the purpose of your gentle laundering. Powdered detergents may contain bleaching agents and enzymes. Liquid detergents dissolve better and prevent clogging up and hardening fine fibers. For best results, use a detergent made for washing delicate fabrics.

  • WOOLITE's formula has no harsh ingredients that can damage your clothes. Available in Original, Dark Laundry, and High Efficiency formulas. www.woolite.com for stores.

  • Ivory Snow Liquid leaves yours and baby's delicates a soft, gentle clean with a refreshing Ivory Snow scent. Can be found at most grocery stores. www.ivory.com

  • Forever New Fabric Care Wash is a pure, organic, biodegradable fabric wash formulated to gently clean, brighten and promote longer life in fine washables. www.forevernew.com for stores.

  • Lingerie Mate is a gentle one-step wash that cleans, conditions, and deodorizes in just 3 minutes. Lingerie Mate also eliminates static cling and preserves elasticity and color. www.hosierymate.com to order.

Follow these tips and that perfect new bra will stay that way much longer.

Suzanne Jackson is a freelance writer from Upland, California. She and her husband of 32 years are the parents of two grown sons.

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