washing bra

Photo: iStock/bookza

1 of 4
Letting Your Bras Fend for Themselves (aka Death by Spin Cycle)

When experts recommend handwashing lingerie, it's because the TLC "really makes a difference for the fit and longevity of your intimate apparel," Harrington says. Tossing your bras in the rough-and-tumble washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, will significantly shorten their life expectancy and stretch them out (which can make you look heavier than you are).

That said, Harrington does understand that some of us just aren't up for hand washing. Yes, your bras won't last as long if you machine-wash them, but there are some steps you can take to minimize the damage. First, Harrington says, hook the bras closed so they don't snag, and use a mesh lingerie wash bag (or two) for added protection against the hard surface of the washer's interior. Choose the delicate cycle on a cool or lukewarm setting (never hot). And finally, only wash bras with underwear; no other garments, towels or sheets should be in the machine with them. That may mean the machine is only half- or one-third full, but it also means you'll reduce the amount of damage to your undergarments, Harrington says.