Why Throwing Away Your Old Bras Is So Important

One of life's biggest lessons is that nothing lasts forever. Everything has a shelf life, including canned goods, so the time eventually comes that everything must be thrown out, including your bras. Surprisingly, you may need to toss them a lot sooner than you think.

"If you have a large selection of bras in rotation, you can go longer than six months before replacing your bras if you're caring for those bras properly," the founder of bra fitting guide Fab Foundations, Ali Cudby told Real Simple. "Putting your bras in the dryer breaks down the elastic much more quickly, so save your bras from an untimely death by letting them air dry and hand wash them when possible."

But even if you play by the rules and delicately handwash your bras, it doesn't mean you'll never have to say adieu. Time and wear and tear can take hold of your most beloved bra and then there you are, kissing it goodbye. It doesn't matter how beautiful it is or how many memories are attached to it; throwing out your old bras is important — and a habit you should adopt.

It's time for a different size

Breasts don't stay the same size forever. The size and shape of your breasts now are probably not the same as they were a couple of years ago, nor what they'll look like a couple of years from now. We have hormones to thank for this. "This is a slow process that is happening between the ages of 20 and 50 where women have a change from fibrous breasts to breasts that are composed mainly of fat," board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alexander Zuriarrain told SheKnows. "[Over time] the breast is not as firm. The older the female, the less dense the breasts tend to be."

When this happens, the shape of the breasts changes and can affect cup size. You may realize one day that your breasts no longer fill the cup or might even spill over the cup, resulting in a less-than-ideal appearance and a lack of support. Not only does it not look very good from the outside, but ill-fitting bras can cause damage. "Some women cause breast pain or discomfort by not buying the right sized bra," breast biomechanics expert Wendy Hedger told Medical News Today via Evening Standard, adding that "some women forget their shape and size change over time and they may have to go through several changes in bra size over their lifetime, especially after breastfeeding and the menopause." Weight gain or loss can affect breast size as well.

If you realize your bra isn't fitting correctly, it's time to throw it out. Bras may not be the most comfortable things on the planet, but they shouldn't cause pain because they no longer fit you.

It's time for an upgrade

Even the most cared-for bra will inevitably find itself in the garbage. The fabric and elasticity eventually wear down and if you're someone who doesn't wash their bra often — although you really should! — odor can also become a problem due to bacterial growth.

If your bra has any holes, underwire poking out, or the band is so stretched out that you have it on the last setting, it's safe to say it's time to let it go. Similar to a bra not fitting because of breast changes, a bra that's on its last leg because of normal wear and tear is very likely to cause back pain and overall discomfort, as well as skimp on the support, OB/GYN and author Jen Gunter, MD relayed to Katie Couric Media. So, toss it and buy a new one. 

If you don't like the idea of putting your bra in the trash — those synthetic fibers are going to take forever to biodegrade, after all — you can opt to donate it instead. However, although places like Free the Girls and other charities will welcome your old bras with open arms, if they're in bad condition, you're better off throwing them out. Gently used bras can be given to those in need, but a bra that's lifeless and a shadow of what it used to be, isn't going to benefit anyone.