They tell us to WASH them, but not exactly HOW to wash them!
There's always an easier way than you initially think, to do just about anything. When I first started washing my forms and those expensive mastectomy bras, I did everything the hard way, careful to hand-wash everything in the sink in cold water like I was told, using only the expensive soaps and/or detergents.
Yep, I can STILL remember my freezing hands from using the coldest water, washing and rinsing over and over, trying to roll bras up in towels and squeeze, even though my arms didn't have much strength after the mastectomy surgeries and it really was painful. Learn from my dumb assumptions, ladies, no need for both of us to wait years to learn things!
First, to wash silicone forms... your body is, well, body temperature, so no need to wash your forms in freezing cold water. Think about it. Run the water until it's just warm (or cool) enough to be comfortable for your hands. Use a little antibacterial liquid soap on your hands to wash the surface of the silicone forms the same as the skin of your hands. It takes practically no longer to wash and rinse your forms than to wash your hands. Pat them dry inside a hand towel or bath towel and put them away for a nap in their little hammocks, or plastic cases, or whatever your silicone forms came in to help them hold their shapes. Night-night!
To wash your mastectomy bras, get your salad spinner....
Nope, lol...I'm not kidding! Keep an extra salad spinner under your bathroom sink or on a nearby shelf, wherever.
First wash your bras in cool water with a squirt or two of 'delicate wash' stuff. By the way, I've tried several products, everything from the 'wool-wash' to clear shampoo to shaved ivory soap, you name it. What do I prefer after a lot of research about fabric care? Plain old green original Palmolive dish soap, it's really good to your hands. Some sewing types (like myself) find it delicate enough to use on wool fabric, so I figure it's good enough for fine lingerie. So far, I've had no more noticeable fading than with any other cleanser over long periods of time and no loss in stretch from the fabric. I use it for everything now, even nylons.
Now comes the salad spinner. You knew if you waited long enough, I'd get around to it, right? This is a good tip especially for soon after surgery when you're most sore, but good for anyone. You can put at least two bras in the basket of your salad spinner and give it a dozen or so spins.
spinners come with a button in the center top of the lid like mine (often found
at kitchen supply stores), and I find that one to be the easiest on arms after
surgery, but they also come with a little crank you turn (that's the cheapest
spinner at Walmart for $5 to $10) and some come with a little pull-string that
works sort of like pulling to start a lawnmower.
Whatever kind you have, they work exactly the same as your washing machine spin
cycle, only a little gentler for dedicates. You'll be amazed at how much
water is thrown from the fabric during the spinning! Hang up your
garments afterward overnight to dry and you're done. Don't put your bras
(or any good lingerie) in the washer/dryer. Washing by hand, you'll find
your undergarments will lasts years longer.
I've not actually had anything shrink or fade excessively or stretch out, in
over 3 years. I even dry my foam leisure forms in the spinner... but you
do have to balance them in the basket with a bra or else you get a 'thump
thump' sound goin' on.
Now you may ask, you NEVER use the washer for ANY dedicates? Oh, alright,
sometimes now, but only because I recently got a washer with a better delicate
cycle, that's almost as gentle as washing by hand. The thing is, when
mastectomy bras are sold from $35 to $75, you don't want to take ANY chances of
a washing machine wearing them out.
I ALWAYS hang lingerie to dry, because anything that says 'Lycra' or 'Spandex'
on the content tag list, will hold it's stretch for much longer if it never
goes in the dryer.
Now for DRYING your regular foam leisure forms, and your micro bead forms. You may hear to lay them on a towel to dry. Go ahead, if you have a couple days. BUT, if you want them to dry overnight, sometimes less, find one of those plastic coated wire shelves used to give you an extra shelf in your kitchen cupboards. You know the type, small shelf with four legs? I think they sell for under $5 at discount stores. It's small and doesn't take up much room when stored under your sink. Set it on your counter or wherever and lay your forms on it to dry. With it open on all sides, the air dries it out MUCH faster than leaving it on a towel, which just leaves you a wet towel and the back of the forms damp. If you need for your forms to dry even faster, set a small fan nearby to move the air around more, but it's not usually needed unless the humidity is very high in your area.
It probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, wash and dry your foam breast forms with the cover off. For those of you who haven't used them yet, a foam breast form is...well...FOAM, sort of like a sponge, with a small weighted circle in the center of it. There's a new one coming out now that's more solid and I have high hopes for it, as it'll have memory foam on the back. You'll probably want to air dry it on a rack though, too.