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Getting intimate: Maintenance tips for your bras and shapewear

woman wearing 2-tone, floral lace-overlay bra

Bras and shapewear are the foundation of a woman’s closet – the right pieces give any woman exactly the amount of support she needs to look amazing in whatever outfit she puts on. That’s why it’s so important to care for and maintain bras and shapewear. If they aren’t properly cleaned, they can become less effective or even damaged. The correct maintenance, though, will ensure your shapewear has a long life. Here are some general rules you can keep in mind when taking care of these undergarments:

Follow the care instructions
Almost any garment of clothing you buy will have tags with care instructions. While these may not make a huge difference when it comes to a simple T-shirt or pair of socks, following them is a vital part of maintaining your undergarments. Not every bra or piece of shapewear is created equal – some are made of delicate lace while others come in more sturdy fabrics – the care instructions will give you guidance for each individual item you own.

For shapewear​, avoid the washing machine
The general rule for most types of undergarments, but especially shapewear, is to avoid using your washing machine. Why? Spin cycles and hot water can break down spandex fibers, making your shapewear a lot less effective at supporting, cinching and anything else it’s made to do. Instead of tossing these items into the machine, swirl them in lukewarm to warm (not hot) soapy water, then rinse them off.

shapewear

Wash bras on a gentle cycle
Although many people believe no bra should go in the washer, it’s often OK for those without spandex or lace to be washed in the machine, as long as its on the gentle cycle. For these bras, it’s a good idea to invest in a laundry bag, which will keep them from getting tangled in the machine during the laundry cycle or becoming damaged in some way. You should also clasp your bras before putting them into the laundry bag, and always make sure you wash them with cold water.

woman wearing a bra

Use the right bleach and detergent
Chlorine bleach and harsh detergents can severely damage delicate items, so even if you want to give your shapewear or bras a deep clean, make sure you’re using the right soap. Opt for gentler detergents and non-chlorine bleach.

Always hang to dry
Neither your shapewear nor your bras should ever go in the dryer. Like washing with hot water, drying in heat will break down the spandex fibers of your undergarments, which will make them lose their shape fast. Hang your garments to dry – simply toss them over your shower curtain rod or a laundry rack, or loop them around a hook or bar in your bathroom.

Wash everything regularly
Because shapewear and bras are worn directly against the skin, they need to be washed often. Most people recommend washing these types of undergarments at least every two wears, and more if you’ve been sweating (like in a sports bra). If your shapewear is worn on top of other items, it can be washed less frequently.

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