Bras hanging on a clothes rack
Tips On What To Do With Old Bras & Undies

Tips On What To Do With Old Bras & Undies

Dana Donofree
3 min read

5 Tips on what to do with old bras & undies

One of the most significant issues the fashion industry faces today is waste, and it is one of the biggest polluters in the world (and the  second largest consumer of water). Gone are the days when clothing industries hand stitched your garments — today, we grab our nearest device and can have thousands of cheaply and unethically made clothing items on our doorsteps in a matter of days — including our bras and undies.

But just as you would with your refrigerator, we like to toss out and refresh our undergarment wardrobe now and again. In an effort to reduce, reuse, and refurbish our items,  AnaOno has put together a guide on what to do with your old bras and undies — keep reading to become the reusing royalty that you are and discover how your gently used bras can become something extraordinary! 

flat lay of AnaOno bras

1. Look to donate your bras to charity

Look to donate your undergarments to a clothing recycling company or bra recycling agency specializing in bras and other lingerie, as not all charitable organizations accept this type of garment! 

  • The Bra Recyclers: This clothing recycling company's goal is to teach and inspire retailers and consumers alike on the benefits of the circular economy and extending the life of bras rather than discarding them into landfills. Since they began in 2008, they've donated millions of bras globally to women and girls who needed them most.
  • Free The Girls: Free The Girls mission is to help women and girls rescued from sex trafficking reintegrate into their communities, and your gently used bra gives them the ability to do this. The bras donated are given to women in developing countries for them to sell and make money on, as the second-hand clothing market can provide a safe and powerful economic opportunity.

    2. Recycle your bras and undies

    Unfortunately, bras can be extremely tricky to recycle, and disposing of them sustainably can be challenging given how many pieces and materials bras are made of. Recycle your bra with the help of Soma Intimates and their  recycled bra program 

    Since 2010, Soma has donated bras to support women in need. The past 5 years, they've partnered with I SUPPORT THE GIRLS to help women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress with essential items like bras to take care of their self esteem and personal health. Soma collects new or gently used bras to help support their amazing mission bringing back dignity to so many women around the country. 

    Any bra that can't be passed on will be donated to  THE BRA RECYCLERS to be kept out of landfills. Give your bras (and mother earth) a second chance. You can also ship your bras to be recycled.

    3. Hacks for what to do with old bras

    Whoever says you can't teach an old dog new tricks has never tried these hacks with their old bras! 

    • Stitch an old bra into a strapless dress to add volume to your chest.
    • Bedazzle an old bra for a Halloween costume or an elaborate new crop-top (summer is right around the corner).
    • Sew a different fabric onto the bra to give it an entirely new look and feel.
    • Invest in water-friendly fabric to turn your top into a new bikini. 
    • Turn your adjustable bra straps into a headband.
    • Sew your cups together to create a DIY handbag.

    4. When should you throw away old bras? 

    Bras normally last anywhere from six months to a year. It may be time to throw away your bra when you notice the following:

    • The back is stretched out.
    • There is painful or distorted underwire.
    • The cups are too big or small.
    • The bra straps are loose or damaged.

    AnaOno Insider Tip: 

    In an effort to make your bras last longer, be sure to hand wash and air dry your bras whenever possible! In addition, having several bras you can rotate through makes your bras last longer, as well. We suggest rotating them every single day! 

    5. How do you dispose of old bras? 

    Bras are difficult to dispose of being that many are made up of materials like elastane and polyester, which can take years to decompose. In the same breath, these materials, while easy to criticize, make the unique shape of bras possible. Textile recycling is crucial, and if you want to dispose of an old bra, you should check out the  Bra Recycling Agency, which turns old bras into carpets (you read that right). Other great bra recycling companies are:

    If you are ready to donate or recycle your bra and are on the lookout for a new fabulous garment to support the girls, check out AnaOno's wide selection of bras,  here!

    Shop AnaOno Bras

    Dana Donofree
    Dana Donofree

    Founder and CEO of AnaOno. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in her late 20’s, Dana took her own lived experience and fashion design background and (re)designed intimates for those that have undergone breast surgery. Dana’s story has been published around the world in outlets like New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, The Today Show, and more.