Cleaning Nursing Bras

Updated on September 23, 2009
H.L. asks from Milwaukee, WI
7 answers

I'm hoping I'm not the only one with this problem... my nursing bras stink! I think it's from breast milk gone sour. They may seem OK right out of the washer, but as soon as I wear them they start smelling again. How do I get rid of the smell?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your advice! I decided to try Jonna's tip, and it worked very well. If the problem re-occurs, maybe I'll try another method as well. Oh, and I do wear pads - I just have a lot of milk and a not always co-operative baby, plus I've had the occasional spit-up right down my cleavage (always a winner...).

More Answers



answers from St. Cloud on

Hi H.!
Don't use bleach! It will RUIN your bras, breaking down the fabric and the elastic. Bleach is also a toxic chemical and I would not want something washed in bleach to touch my breasts and then nurse.
Most people do not know the dangers of bleach or the effect that it has on them.

Have you tried Borax? It's a powder and you can find it in a green box at Wal-Mart. Throw a half cup in with your laundry, add some vinegar in your softener dispenser and say goodbye to yucky smells!



answers from Appleton on

Hi H.:
As a former bra fitter for Penney's and a Mom that breastfed 4 children I hopefully have some answers for you. First of all bras should never be washed in a washer, but should be hand washed and laid flat to dry. I wash my bras in shampoo or dish soap, both are very effective in getting the skin oils out of the bras. Now about the smell, you don't say how long you have been wearing the bras or how often you are washing them. Nursing bras should be washed everyday. Try soaking them in baking soda and warm water for a half hour or more. Vinegar may also remove the smell, just be sure you rinse them well and then wash again.
I read an interesting report that babies like it when Mom smells a bit funky. That they are more responsive to breastfeeding if Mom smells a bit. Maybe because they are just learning their world and they can find Mom easier.



answers from Milwaukee on

I found this formula on a cloth diapering forum.

Take what needs to be cleaned and place in a plastic bin, dish tub works well, pour enought white vinegar over the piece till it is covered. Then sprinkle on Oxiclean/Sun till it foams well at least one full scoop, you will want to do this outside if you can, and do not lean over the tub, this is a chemical reaction! You may add a splash of water, no more then a cup you do not want to lessen the process of the vinegar and oxiclean, to tone down the reaction, if it bubbles and foams more then you want.

Let sit for at least 2 hours, overnight is fine though! This doesn't ruin fabrics and takes away pretty much any stink, works very well on cloth diapers and breastmilk stained bras. It also britens and whites very well.

This was a last ditch effort before a mom was ready to throw out some stinky cloth diapers, and it worked so well she started spreading the news. Good luck!



answers from Charleston on

Try a cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup vinegar in your wash. That combo got the smell out of my musty towels. Agreeing with the other posters that drying out in the sun should help too!



answers from Minneapolis on

i tried washing them with vinegar, but after a few attempts, and having them stink as soon as i put them on, i had to throw them out.

the only other thing that i didn't try was to wash with baking soda, then add vinegar during the rinse cycle to neutralize the baking soda which apparently can be irritating to your skin.



answers from Fargo on

Besides trying vinegar in the rinse cycle you can try adding several tablespoons of lemon juice to your wash-it's a natural deodorizer.



answers from Duluth on

i put like a teaspoon - tablespoon of bleach with a cup of water into the bleach dispenser in my washer. it doesnt cause any smell or irritation, yet it gets rid of any odd smells in clothes or even dishrags. if it doesnt work at that small amount, use a teaspoon or so more.

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