Health

Here's How Long You Can Actually Go Before Washing Your Bra

December 13th 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

You probably need to wash your bra.

The amount your bras need to be washed depends in part on how many bras you're rotating through in your wardrobe. However, each bra needs to be washed after a certain number of wears.

Elle's Jolie Kerr wrote Tuesday that bras should be washed every three to six wears and bra owners should avoid wearing the same bra consecutively in order to "give the elastic a chance to rest."

Beyond the general wear and tear of on the bra, there are also health reasons for washing bras.

A bra on a bed.

Bras should be washed after three wears because of the "intimate contact" they have with the skin that makes them pick up sweat and bacteria, according to Buzzfeed News.

“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,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist, told Buzzfeed last year. “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.”

A bra on a bed.

However, Michael Schmidt, a microbiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, told Lifehacker that the "growth of microbes from the skin that have transferred to the fabric" is probably not threatening to a well-groomed healthy person without any open cuts.

"If the skin of the wearer is unbroken, and they are healthy, the ‘new microbes/opportunists’ should not cause any problems…as long as the wearer has hygienic practices," he told Lifehacker in 2015.

However, if there is too much sweat and bacteria on top of the skin for too long it can cause sores, acne, and bad smells.

While you're at it, you should also probably wash your jeans.

Denim jeans.

The CEO of Levi's Chip Bergh told Fortune in a video interview that "a good pair of denim doesn’t really need to be washed in the washing machine except for very infrequently or rarely."

However, jeans can also collect bacteria and although they're probably harmless to human health, the bacteria can start to smell, according to Business Insider. Washing them after 4 to 6 wears is probably a good idea.

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