At last, someone is listening to women about the everyday struggles face, including the unending quest for a bra that will have our back — er, our front — all day long. Scientists have now created a world where bras can secretly fight bacteria on our bodies while still providing us with confidence and support. They’re called antimicrobial bras, and they’re pretty awesome.
What does ‘antimicrobial’ even mean?
First, it might help to understand what a microbe is. Basically, microbes are the tiniest single-cell organisms that often take the form of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. They’re found pretty much anywhere on Earth — soil, water, the surface of plants, the skins of animals, you name it. While we’re fans of some bacteria (shoutout to our good friends Gouda, mozzarella and cheddar), others can cause serious infections and diseases — that’s why we wash our hands after using the restroom and scrub down our cutting boards after slicing poultry.
The problem is that while we commonly associate these everyday spaces with germs, we rarely give thought to another equally germy place: the fibers of our bras.
This shouldn’t be too surprising. Cramped rides on public transportation, long nights at surprisingly unpleasant bars, miscellaneous piles of stuff on your bedroom floor: Bras are with us through it all. While they’re certainly great friends, bras literally cling to our bodies for the majority of the day, making them absolute microbe magnets.
Bacterial microbes multiply in dark, damp and warm places. And when they pair with our body’s natural oils and perspiration, some foul odors inevitably arise. Hello, summertime boob sweat; good afternoon, funky-smelling bra cups.
Enter, an unsung hero: The antimicrobial bra
Scientists have heard these woes and provided us with an easy solution: a bra that keeps microbes out in the first place, keeping the girls feeling fresh all day long.
So how do antimicrobial bras work? The science behind the fabric is just a bit of chemistry.
As it turns out, silver has some useful antimicrobial properties. Silver ions, or single charged silver atoms, break down the cell walls of those unwanted odor-causing microbes to prevent them from metabolizing and reproducing. Textile engineers have taken advantage of this chemical interaction and developed technology that weaves tiny silver nanoparticles into fabric. (While the threat of these particles washing out into aquatic ecosystems initially caused some environmental concern, recent studies have shown that silver nanoparticles pose no increased risk to these environments)
This manufacturing technique has been commonly used to prevent odor and bacteria build-up in bed sheets, socks and athletic clothing. Recently, these lifesaving properties have been appearing among the brands of our favorite intimate-wear as well.
What does an antimicrobial bra look like?
Despite their slightly nerdy name, these bras can actually be pretty chic. Antimicrobial bras are typically made of nylon, polyester and spandex and rarely include itchy lace or annoying underwire. There are some wired bras out there that come with antimicrobial features, but these are harder to come by. Since their purpose is to eliminate odor, these antimicrobial fibers are more often found in sports bras. It’s logical: more sweat, more bacteria growth. Wearing an antimicrobial bra during your workout is an obvious must. Here are some of our favorites.
Reebok Women’s Front Interest V-neck seamless sports bra: With a cute cross-back design and killer front-strap action, this brightly colored sports bra will keep you dry and fresh all throughout your workout.
Victoria Sport seamless strappy sport bra: A netted, plunged neckline and a banded back provide the most stylish support while fighting bacteria as you move. As a bonus, it comes in seven different colors, making it the perfect final touch to your workout gear.
Goddess wirefree sports bra: This sleek, ultra-supportive bra nicks microbes in the bud while providing padding in the straps for extra comfort. Feel good, smell good, do good!
Under Armour Women’s Armour Low: While keeping you odor-free, this sweetheart-neckline sports bra gives you lightweight, flexible support. Trust us — it’s cute enough to be worn in or out of the gym!
8-in-1 Evolution bra by Knixwear: Made especially for your unique shape, these reversible bras mold to your body without creating any unnecessary seams or bumps beneath your clothes. They offer eight different strap adjustments to match any of your outfits and even offer a 30-day guarantee.
OK — so maybe antimicrobial bras aren’t the best pick for a sexy date night. But thanks to the undying trend of athleisure, rocking a sporty bra is actually acceptable in most social situations. So shop on, bra hunters — get one in every color!
But what about all of my other bras?
Antimicrobial sports bras are rather durable and are made to be washed and dried over and over. But the truth is, you’d likely throw your sweaty sports bra in the wash regardless of how fresh it smelled. The real culprits are your everyday work or going-out bras.
Of course, you could go the just-wash-your-damn-bra route. But when you’re rushing to get ready, it’s likely that you simply give your bra a superficial glance over as you say to yourself, “I can get away with wearing it just one more time, right?”
How many times are we actually going to part with our favorite bra? The answer: not many.
Luckily, you don’t need to part ways with your faves or restock your entire underwear drawer, all thanks to antimicrobial bra liners. These practically invisible swaths of fabric slide right under your bra to keep the area under your breasts dry and odor-free throughout the day. The liners, rather than your bra itself, can be thrown right into the wash after each wear. As a bonus, they help to keep your bra from irritating your skin as you move. It’s literally genius.
While we sure don’t want the government telling us what to do with our bodies, scientists may be onto something here.