What’s The Longest Acceptable Amount Of Time You Can Go Without Washing A Bra?

Over on Slate, a male reader wrote to Dear Prudence, asking whether it was normal that his girlfriend of six months has been wearing the same bra every day for two weeks. Was she unhygienic, or simply a normal gal? Prudie responded, saying she polled some of the cleanest women she knows and they wash their bras at most once a week.

We did a little research on the topic, and while it’s pretty easy to find information about how you should be washing your bras (preferably by hand in cold water, air-dried), how often isn’t something that has been spelled out or set in stone. According to a British survey, women wash their bras an average of six times a year. That’s not even once a month.

But a few experts say we should be cleaning them a lot more frequently than we are. Cindy Johnson, co-owner of Sol, a lingerie store in Denver, believes you should have seven bras and wash them all once a week. “If you have seven good bras that you are washing frequently, your bras will last about a year to a year and a half,” she writes. “You want to wash your bra EVERYTIME you wear it. Believe it or not, the more often you wash your bras the longer they will last and keep their shape. You also never want to wear the same bra two days in a row (unless you’ve washed it).”

The people at bra retailer Intimacy recommend you have between seven and 10 bras in your wardrobe, but believe it’s permissible to wear a bra two times between washings, as long as you don’t wear it for consecutive days, “to enable its elastic materials to rest and retain their stretch memory.”

Now that we feel completely inept at caring for our undergarments and should probably buy some new bras immediately so we don’t contaminate something with our grimy garments, we want to know how often you wear and wash your bras. Tell us in the comments!