Uniform Care: How to Wash Your Jerseys & Sportswear
Your sports uniforms are made to take a beating—and they do—but improper care and washing techniques can lead to a shorter lifespan, cracked lettering, tearing, faded colors and shrinkage. Wondering how to wash a jersey? We’ve got the best tips, tricks, and uniform care for your sportswear!
Warm-up: Rinse, pre-wash, soak
Just as you need to prepare for a game, you should also prepare your uniform for the wash. The worst thing you can do is to leave your uniform crumpled up in a duffle bag, laundry hamper, or some forgotten corner of your bedroom.
Even if you can’t get to washing right away, these pre-wash steps are essential immediately following a big game:
- Rinse your jersey or uniform in the sink with cold water to remove loose dirt and other debris. You can also hang your uniform on a clothesline and spray it with a hose or rinse it off in the shower (again, no hot water!)
- Soak in warm water with a pre-wash solution for an hour to overnight. Fill your sink, tub, or bucket with warm water, 2–3 tablespoons of heavy-duty detergent and a cup of baking soda (great for knocking out tough odors!) Soak colored fabrics separately from white fabrics.
- For stains, soak in cold water. Warm or hot water will set the stain, making it harder to remove. Add a bit of stain remover or rub in extra detergent as needed.
Play-by-Play: How to wash a jersey or uniform successfully
If you’ve put in the time for the pre-wash, the actual washing process is relatively simple:
- Use cold water
- Wash your uniform separately from other clothes
- Use a mild detergent. Again, no bleach or “whitening” detergents!
How to dry your uniform
The most effective way to dry your sports uniform is to hang dry or line dry, avoiding direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting.
If you need to use the dryer, use the lowest setting or the air-only mode. Do not dry clean your uniform.
High heat will lead to shrinking, cracked lettering, and faded colors.
Other Helpful Tips
Know your uniform: Is your uniform made of cotton, polyester, or some other synthetic blend? Ultimately, the material will decide how to best clean your sports uniform. Be sure to read any care instructions printed on the tag.
Know your water: Is the water in your home hard or soft? Hard water is heavy with minerals, and it can make it more difficult to keep your uniforms looking bright. You may need to add some water softener—not fabric softener—to your pre-wash / soaking solution.
Talk to your team: The steps we’ve described are an essential addition to your playbook, so train your team to practice them. Whether it’s a conversation on how to wash a jersey, a printed set of uniform care instructions, or an email to parents, make sure your team knows how to keep their uniforms looking great.
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