When you first start out wearing bras as a teen, bra care doesn’t matter all that much. Unless your boobs are big from the get-go, you can likely make it through the first couple years without any underwire. On top of that, bras at that stage are almost purely functional, as opposed to the bras that you start to wear as you get older which usually become a lot more ornamental. Add to that the fact that usually one of your parents is paying for the bras, and, well, you have very little reason to think about how to wash underwire bras or extend their longevity. A bra protecting laundry bag is the least of your worries.
Then you grow up, start paying for your own bras, and start to learn one hard lesson after another. Underwires snap. Bras can wrap around the spindle of the washing machine and break. Bras and dryers are not friends. This lesson is already tough for anyone who has spent money on a bra they really like, but even worse for a big-boobed girl of a certain age. There was a time when bras that fit us that we liked were few and far between, and they still are expensive, so when your bra breaks well before its time, it really, really hurts. Suffice it to say, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to bra care.
|The Bra Ball||Woolite Bra Wash Bag||Laundry Science’s Premium Bra Wash Bag||Ikea Pressa Washing Bag|
I’m happy to say that 18 years after I first started wearing a bra, I’ve progressed into a handwash cycle (or total handwash), delicate-detergent-using, air-drying (flat, of course!), bra-wearer. It took me some time to get here, but I did.
So let’s take a step away from bras today and look at some bra protector laundry accessories that will help to protect some of our most precious of assets. I’ve been a big fan of the mesh delicates washing bag for years, but of course the market wouldn’t stop after offering us just one way to protect our bras in the wash. I’ll be looking at the BraBall, the mesh bag, and a few options in between, and attempt to decide which one is actually better for your bra health.
Now, this is a fancy contraption. Made of hard plastic, the bra ball saves your bra from getting twisted around like it might in a mesh bag or if (heaven forbid!) you just threw it in the wash unsecured. It’s pretty easy. Put the bra in ball, lay it flat, and snap it closed! There’s even a section of the ball that helps to keep your bra in place and help to maintain the shape of your cup, which is great for padded bras.
Now for the downside of the Braball. Just one look at it and you could probably tell what it is. It’s not exactly built to handle bigger cup sizes. I mean, the ball is big, but it’s not big enough, measuring 6¼ x 6 x 6 ¼ inches. Although the BraBall claims to be able hold up to a 36C cup, we all know that all bras are not sized equally. I’d look for something bigger.
The good thing is that they have started to produce a medium and large size Braball. The downside is they’re not on Amazon as of yet, but the company is running an IndieGoGo campaign here where you can buy buy bra balls that go as large as a 44DDD. The large one is a lot bigger though, measuring 9.6 x 8.7 x 5 inches, which might take up a lot of space in your wash, depending on the size and type of machine that you have.
Remember that the dimensions I’ve quoted for the small and large balls are for the outside of the ball, not the inside, so factor that in when you’re choosing which ball to buy. I would obviously have to go with the large one, but I’d advise even those with smaller bras to probably opt for the larger one as well, to be on the safe side. If you’re in doubt, measure the diameter of the widest part of your cup, and subtract about an inch to be on the safe side.
All things said, the BraBall is pretty easy to use. The most difficult aspect of using it is probably getting the clasp open and closed. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s pretty easy, and if you’re having trouble, the BraBall team have put together an awesome FAQ and tutorial to guide you.
The BraBall site says you’re meant to be able to put 1-3 bras in the ball at a time. I would say that maximum depends on the bra. You might have trouble putting 3 padded bras in it, but a padded bra and an unlined bra or two should be fine.
Woolite Bra Wash Bag
Next up is the Woolite Bra Wash Bag, a cylindrical offering from Woolite, a brand synonymous with delicates. This bag is made of the same meshy material that a standard delicates bag is made from. The sides are reinforced a bit by a plastic ring that helps the bag maintain its shape.
The bag claims to be made of durable mesh, and certainly it’s more durable than the standard delicates wash bag you could get from Ikea, but it’s nothing exceptional.
The size of this ball is 6.2 x 6.2 x 4.5 inches, and the capacity is actually not that much bigger than the BraBall, fitting maybe 1-3 bras comfortably, again, if they are not all padded.
The trouble with the Bra Wash Bag comes down to its plastic framing. Of course, because of its structure, you can’t expect the same level of durability that you’d get from the BraBall, and after a few washes the plastic started to lose its structure.
Fit wise, once you get into D+ cup territory, you start to run into the same problems you do with the standard-sized BraBall, in that you ironically need to bend and mangle your bra in order to get it to fit into this structure that is meant to preserve and protect it.
Laundry Science’s Premium Bra Wash Bag
Laundry Science’s Premium Bra Wash Bag is probably my second pick of the bunch. While this bra wash bag won’t fit my bras, a D cup and a smaller-banded E cup could probably make this bag work. I also love the fact that for the price, you can get 3 of these bags in one go.
In terms of how many bras I can actually fit in this bag, I don’t think I’d be able to fit more than one, maybe two unpadded bras in these bags given my size. Someone who wears a smaller D-cup might be able to fit a third bra in the bag. So worst case scenario, with a pack of these bra bags, you’ll fit 3 bras in, best case scenario, possible 9 depending on your size, which is a whole lot more than the other two contenders.
Laundry Science boasts an 8-spoke Plastic Frame which helps the wash bag maintain its shape and protect all the structural elements of your bra.
I’m also a big fan of the fact that the pull tab has a little fabric sheath that protects it and limits it from getting unzipped in the wash. Overall, I like this option because I think it offers a good balance between price and value.
Ikea Pressa Washing Bag
I won’t spend long on this one because I’m sure you’re all familiar with the standard delicates bag. My last option on my list is the Ikea Pressa Washing Bag. Of course, this is basically your standard washing bag that you can get from pretty much anywhere. I have used these for my bras in a front loader on a delicate cycle, and have managed to keep bras that I wear 3x a week in good shape for over a year, so this bag hasn’t been too shabby.
I don’t wear padded bras at all though, so maintaining shape beyond protecting the underwire of the bra is of little concern to me.
I’ve had no trouble putting 3 F/G/H bras in this bag and washing them, and of course the lack of structure means that this bag works well for other delicates too.
I’ve read lots of reviews saying that the zippers don’t stay closed or that the material gets mangled after some time. I wonder if these same people are putting their loads in at a very high spin cycle, or using a washing machine from the last century. I make sure to wash my bras in cold or 30C water at the max, on the lowest possible spin cycle (on my current machine, that’s 400RPM). Sometimes, when the sun is out, I have time on my hands, and I have a big bra rotation, I don’t even do the spin, and just let my bras drip dry.
The Winner: The BraBall
Overall, if your bra can fit in their offerings, I highly recommend the BraBall, as this is going to give you the most bra protection out of any of the options, just based on the fact that it’s a hard piece of plastic.
I would say that your wash cycle will also impact the durability of all of these contraptions. Just because your bra is in a delicates bag, does not mean you should put it in with your bedsheets at a high temp, with the wrong detergent on a 1000+ spin cycle, you’re going to reap what you sow. Common sense! While most of us are not in the position to consider getting a new laundry machine at the drop of a hat, we can control the settings on the machines that we do have, and manage the detergent that we use.