Let’s be real—how often do you actually wash your bras? If your answer is “uhhhh…” don’t be ashamed (I mean, me, too). But know this: If your boobs have been itching like crazy lately, your laundry habits might be the culprit.
Like your underwear, your bras build up a lot of sweat and grime throughout the day, and that’s why some experts recommend washing them after every wear. In reality, unless your favorite post-work hobby is hanging out in the laundry room, that’s probably not going to happen. Luckily, there’s a happy medium: For the sake of your boobs, one doc recommends never going more than a week before your undergarments get a nice scrub. “I see a few patients every month with this complaint,” Gary Goldenberg, MD, told Self. “Dirty clothes, including underclothes, often have bacteria that can infect and irritate the skin.”
The build-up of bacteria isn’t the only problem, either. Your detergent and dryer sheets could also be contributing to that itchiness. If there’s something in those products that’s irritating—like fragrance—it’s not uncommon to experience contact dermatitis, caused by your bra (and the irritants on it) rubbing against your skin all day long.
“I see a few patients every month with this complaint. Dirty clothes, including underclothes, often have bacteria that can infect and irritate the skin.” —Gary Goldenberg, MD
So, how can you get rid of your boob-itching problems once and for all? With a three-pronged approach. According to Dr. Goldenberg, the only relief you’ll get is from grabbing some fragrance-free products, washing your bras regularly, and using a topical antibiotic (like Neosporin) on your itchy skin until the irritation subsides.
Sure, it would be nice if there was an option that didn’t involve doing more laundry. But if it can get rid of that itchiness—which is not only uncomfortable, but can also feel awkward, TBH—then spending that extra time sorting and folding is definitely worth it. You’re welcome, boobs.
Here’s how to DIY your own non-toxic laundry detergent using four household ingredients. Or, try one of these baking soda hacks to keep your laundry smelling super-fresh.
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