Lingerie expert tests whether you need a new bra – and it only takes a few seconds

To mark National Lingerie Day, an expert has shared how often women should wash their bras and some of the signs it might be time to replace your current underwear

bras on a clothesline
It might be time to replace your bra (stock photo)

If you wear a bra every day, it’s important that you wash and replace it often enough.

But how do you know when the time is right?

Luckily we don’t have to wonder much longer as a underwear Expert shared her top tips on when to wash your bras, how often to replace them and the signs it’s time for a new one.

Beth Kates, the founder of the lingerie brand Freedom & Loveclaimed that a large number of women do not replace theirs underwear enough.

The mother-of-three explained that it’s not surprising that many women find themselves in the habit of wearing their “faithful” bra over and over again – until it practically falls apart.

However, as they are an important part of everyday clothing, if they are poorly fitted they can cause back pain and discomfort.

Beth Kates shared her top tips


Glyn Ridger’s photography)

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So here are the signs it’s time to ditch your favorite bra and get a new one, Beth says.

Cups are stretched

If you notice a noticeable gap between the bra cups and your breast, it means either the cups are stretched or you need a different cup size.

If you notice such changes in the cups, it’s time for a new bra.

Lingerie expert Beth said: “If you can fit two or more fingers in the cups of your bra, it’s definitely too loose.

“If you feel like your bra is a lot bigger than it used to be, that’s a bad sign as you’re not getting the support you need. It’s time to replace him!”


The back of a bra naturally stretches over time. So if you notice a ripple effect, it means the elastic has stretched and your breasts are not getting the support they need.

If the back band is loose and not supporting your back or chest properly, it’s a telltale sign that you should replace your bra.

Beth said: “Over time, the elastic in a bra band can weaken and stretch. The bra band may ride up your back.

“If you notice this problem, the first thing you can do is adjust the bra and make it tighter. However, this is a short term solution and eventually you will have to replace the bra.”


There’s nothing quite like the pain of having your bra’s underwire sticking out and digging into your skin.

While you might be tempted to put the wire back in, this is a big sign of wear and can also lead to damage. If you’re wondering when to buy a new bra, now is definitely the right time!

Beth said: “A stirrup is notorious for causing pain, leaving marks and generally feeling uncomfortable – especially when it starts digging into the skin.

“If you don’t have a properly fitting underwired bra, you’re bound to have back pain and even wire stitches!

“When an underwired bra fits properly, it takes pressure off your back and shoulders and can improve your posture.”


If your bra has started to look a little tatty, it’s time for an upgrade.

Everyone needs some fresh new lingerie to brighten their day, and if it seems like it’s seen better days, then it’s the perfect opportunity to ditch it and replace it.

Beth said: “While there are many telltale signs that you need a new bra, sometimes you might want something more luxurious.

“Every bra has its time, but it’s important to invest in a bra that you feel happy and confident in.”

She wants women to buy underwear for themselves as she champions “your body, your choice, your you.” Love the skin you’re in.”


But if you’re keeping a bra – rather than replacing it – it’s important that it’s washed properly. Although bras are classified as underwear, they are not on the same level as underwear.

Beth explained that the main things to consider when considering how often to wash your bras are how oily your skin is and how much sweat you get each day.

Beth advises: “Always wash after exercising, whenever you sweat it should be washed, otherwise after wearing it two or three times.

“Apparently people don’t always comply because they might not have enough bras!”

But if you’ve gotten into the bad habit of wearing the same bra for weeks because you can’t face going without it, there are some uncomfortable truths to share.

Beth revealed that bacteria, oil, dirt, lotions, yeast and fungus can all build up in your bras — especially if you don’t wash them for a long time.

Beth added: “Deodorant is used by most people – but it can sit on your bra and leave a stain from dirt and oil.

“Because bras are so tight against the skin, all that dirty bacteria that has built up over time can also easily cause friction.

“If you wear a dirty bra, you could end up with rashes and stains. So follow your instincts – if you haven’t been that active then any pair is fine, but if your bra gets sweaty or dirty then change daily.”

For washing, Beth advised hand washing or, if you’re using a washing machine, run a gentle cycle.

First remove the pads and fasten the clasps so they don’t get caught on other clothing. Also, do not tumble dry.

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Fry Electronics Team

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