How often you should wash your sports bra – as expert warns they aren’t cleaned enough

By Staff 6 Min Read

How often do you change your sports bra? A recent study suggests not enough, as half of women apparently re-wear the garment after a vigorous sweating session – but a lingerie expert claims this isn’t good

Sports bras are a breeding ground for sweat and bacteria, especially if you don’t wash it often enough.

We’re all told we’re not supposed to wash our bras too often, or risk damaging them. But is that true when it comes to sports bras? These items of clothing aim to provide support and discomfort when exercising – and therefore end up absorbing a lot of sweat.

And according to a recent study from NEXT, over half of women (52%) actually don’t wash their sports bras after every workout – and even more shockingly – 8% don’t wash them at all. According to Georgina Bibby, lingerie expert at NEXT, you should be washing your sports bra after every use.

She explained: “A dirty sports bra is a breeding ground for bacteria caused by perspiration so it’s important to wash your bra after every workout even if you don’t feel that you’ve got particularly sweaty. Sports bras are usually made from absorbent materials so they will soak up any moisture from your body.”

But it is true that washing it incorrectly can damage the fabric, so care has to be taken. According to the study, 78% of people wash their sports bras in the washing machine – but this isn’t advised. Instead, the experts advise you hand wash your sports bra.

Georgina explained: “While it might be more convenient to throw your sports bras in the washing machine with the rest of your activewear, hand washing is actually the best method for ensuring they keep their elasticity and shape.

“Sports bras are often made from nylon which requires more care than other materials. Soak them in warm water for around 20 minutes and use a gentle washing detergent to clean them thoroughly. Be sure to rinse them afterwards.”

If you do end up having to put them in the washing machine, Georgina recommends avoiding fabric softeners, as while they might make the fabric feel softer, it can break down the fabric and elastic over time – which in turn reduces the supportiveness and stretch. The expert also urges people to put them in a laundry bag “to ensure they maintain their shape and don’t get damaged”.

You should also make sure not to put it in the tumble dryer, as heat can damage the elasticity. Instead, you should lay them flat on a towel or drying rack away from direct sunlight. Georgina added: “If you’re hanging your bra out to dry, avoid hanging it by the straps as this can cause it to stretch.

“I’d suggest always referring to the care instructions on the labels of your sports bras for specific cleaning and maintenance guidelines. You may find that different fabrics and styles may require slightly different care routines.”

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