Can You Tumble Dry A Bra? (what you need to know)

All the leading bra manufacturers agree, you should never tumble dry a bra. The heat and harsh tumbling motion will damage your bra, shortening its life considerably.

It takes a lot of time and a considerable amount of money to find the perfect bra that feels comfortable and fits you correctly.  So once you do have it you’re going to want to keep it at its best for as long as possible.

This is why bras should be hand washed or if you’re really desperate, machine washed in a lingerie bag on a delicate wash using a mild, non-biological detergent. 

Why Bras Are So Delicate

It’s all because of the material used to make the bra in the first place. Fabrics like rayon and silk will shrink when exposed to excessive heat.  Nylon can become discoloured or damaged if exposed to too much heat for a prolonged period.

Plus, almost all modern bras contain elastic in one form or another. Often as elastane which is also called spandex or lycra and even silk bras rely on elastic for the straps.

High heat and the rough and tumble of the tumble dryer will damage elastic irreversibly.

The reason a bra fits so comfortably is due to its ability to stretch. Once it loses that stretch, not only is the bra not doing what it’s supposed to, it will also become uncomfortable to wear as well.

The bra fits so well and provides the correct amount of support because of its elasticity. If it has only stretched a small amount, it is sometimes possible to restore its snug fit by adjusting the hook and eye fastener one notch tighter.

But over time that will no longer be possible, causing the bra to become too loose. This will become evident when the bra band starts riding up between your shoulder blades.

Also the straps will become so loose that they will fall off your shoulders. All of which is very annoying and for the most part, avoidable.

How Should Bras Be Cared For?

As we just established, bras are delicate items and need to be cared for if you want them to last. To this end we have compiled this short piece on how to care for your bras.

How Often Should A Bra Be Washed?

The frequency with which you should wash your bra is dependent on certain factors. Which are; How much you perspire, and how hot or cold the weather is.

If the weather is cool and you’re not perspiring much, you might get 3-5 wears from your bra before it needs to be washed. If the weather is hot and humid and you’re sweating a lot, or if you’re participating in a strenuous sporting activity, you might need to wash your bra every day.

The Best Way To Wash A Bra

Bras are delicate items and should be treated as such. This means hand washing them using a mild, non-biological detergent. If you really don’t have the time to hand wash your bra, it can be machine washed on a delicate wash cycle in a mesh lingerie bag on a cool wash.

However, padded bras should never be machine washed, and should only be hand washed.

The ideal situation is you should own at least three bras – One to wear, one to wash and one to swap. This should mean that you never wear the same bra on two consecutive days.

It is often thought that sports bras are far more robust, and can be treated differently to other types of bra. This is not true, because they are still made from some form of elastane which can be damaged in a washing machine or tumble dryer.

Before washing your bra, always ensure the clasp is done up and there are no loose metal clips, fasteners etc that could cause damage during washing.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Bra

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

All items of clothing nowadays carry a care label which tells you exactly how to wash and dry the garment. Below are all of the symbols relating to tumble drying clothes. Not all are relevant to bras but are all included for information purposes.

Square With A White Circle And A Black X On Top

This is the symbol that means Do Not Tumble Dry. This is most likely the symbol you’ll find on your bras.

Square With A White Circle

This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried.

Square With A Black Circle

This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried using no heat. It is possible to find this symbol on some bras.

Square With A White Circle With One Black Dot In Circle

This is the symbol that indicates that the item can be tumble dried on the low heat setting.

Square With A White Circle With Two Black Dots In The Circle

This symbol indicates that the item can be dried in a tumble dryer on a medium heat setting.

Square With A White Circle With Three Black Dots In The Circle

This is the symbol that means the item can be dried in a tumble dryer on the high heat setting.

How To Dry A Bra Without A Tumble Dryer

It is recommended that bras should not be tumble dried due to both the heat and the rough treatment the bra will receive due to the tumbling action.

Below you will find the best ways to dry your bras without causing them to become damaged.

After rinsing your bras they should be wrapped in a towel and gently pressed to remove as much excess water as possible. 

Take care to not damage the bra’s cups or stretch the fabric. The bra should then be gently reshaped whilst the fabric is still wet it can then be dried in the following ways:

Air Dry Your Bras On A Clothesline

Bras can be air dried on a clothesline, rotary line or retractable clothesline. Take care to not stretch the bra when hanging on the line and always ensure the bra is positioned in a shady spot, out of direct sunlight.

Retractable lines can be used indoors or out and are a great way to dry washing in a small garden. This is because the line is retracted into the wall mounted box when it’s not in use.

SEE ALSO: Our Recommended Retractable Clotheslines

Using An Airer To Air Dry Your Bra

To air dry your bra on an airer, you should hang the bra on a coat hanger and hook the hanger onto the airer. This will ensure that the bra dries evenly and remains in shape as it dries.

Never Use A Heated Airer To Dry Your Bra

Heated airers are similar to airers except they can be plugged into a socket and the bars that are used to support your drying clothes heat up. 

These are great for speeding up the dry time but should never be used when drying delicate items like bras.

Electric Fans Speed Up The Indoor Drying Time

Placing an electric fan close to the bra as it dries can simulate a gentle breeze. This will help to decrease the drying time.

You should also open a window to allow excess moisture a route of escape.

SEE ALSO: The Best Bladeless Fans On The Market Today

Reduce Drying Times Indoors Using A Dehumidifier

If you place a dehumidifier in the same room as the bra when it’s drying, you can shorten the drying time by a considerable amount. 

As the dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, it allows the bra to exude more moisture.

SEE ALSO: The Best Dehumidifiers For Drying Bras 

What Happens If You Tumble Dry A Bra

Always check the wash care labels

Tumble drying a bra can cause damage to the bra and to the dryer as well. You should never tumble dry your bras because;

The Bra Could Shrink

Certain fabrics are prone to shrinking when exposed to high heat. Tumble dryers often operate at high heat and the friction caused when the garments rub against each other as they tumble produces its own heat.

If the bra was made using silk or rayon, it could shrink just enough to become uncomfortable.

The Bra Could Stretch

All modern bras contain elastane either in the form of spandex or lycra. Elastane can get stretched beyond the point of return under certain conditions. And those conditions are found in a tumble dryer.

Rough action due to the tumbling motion and/or heat can cause elastane to become over stretched. This will make the bra too loose and uncomfortable to wear.

The Bra Could Cause Damage To The Tumble Dryer

During the rough and tumble action in a tumble dryer, the bra wire can become dislodged. That sharp wire can then become stuck in the vents of the tumble dryer and cause serious damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a bra be washed?

The frequency in which a bra should be washed depends on whether you are sweating and how hot the temperature is. On cold days where it is unlikely you will sweat it is possible to wear a bra for 3 to 5 days. In hot humid conditions you might need to wash your bra every day.

What happens if you machine dry a bra?

Even on a low heat setting, machine drying a bra can cause serious damage to the bra. Heat from the dryer can cause the elastic parts of the bra to stretch, any silk parts to shrink and generally weaken your bra.

Is it safe to put a bra in a tumble dryer?

It is not advisable to dry a bra in a tumble dryer. Even at low heat it is possible to damage a bra in a tumble dryer. All bra manufacturers agree that bras should be air dried.

How long will it take a bra to air dry?

 It can take between 45 minutes to 12 hours to air dry a bra. The amount of time needed to air dry a bra is dependent on the materials used to make the bra and the climatic conditions.

How can I dry a bra without a tumble dryer?

The best way to dry a bra is by air drying, either on a clothesline or airer. You can speed up indoor drying times by placing a dehumidifier in the same room as the bra as it is drying.

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