Top ways to clean your sports uniform

Spring is when everyone eagerly gets back outside to walk, run, exercise and enjoy spring sports. During the spring sports seasons, uniforms go through all the paces of the players who wear them, which means they get very dirty. To keep uniforms looking their best, it’s very important to clean them properly to remove sweat, dirt and other stains.


1: Wash it quick:


The first trick is to get that uniform washed as soon as possible. Try to train your athlete to give you the uniform as soon as he or she walks in the door after practice or a game. Pretty much every sports uniform stinks, so the faster that thing can get in the washer, the better chance you’ll have of getting rid of stains and odours. My sympathies to the person who has to remove a sports uniform from a gym bag days after the big game.


2. Don’t put your uniform in the dryer:


Most uniforms contain spandex that will lose elasticity from heat. This is true also for dance and cheer gear, which also may have frills or sparkles that can fall off. Anything with numbers printed (like jerseys) run the risk of the numbers peeling from the heat. Lastly, things like football pads can get misshapen by the tumbling of the dryer. The best thing to do is remove the sports gear from the washer, shake it out, then hang or lay flat to dry.


3.  Preventing Dye Bleeding:


The usual materials used to make sports uniforms are synthetic and can include spandex, nylon, polyester or a combination of fibres. While the materials make the uniforms comfortable, breathable and appealing, it also makes them susceptible to dye bleeding when someone cleans them. To avoid colours running together and ruining the uniform, you need to follow the care instructions properly. Most uniforms with water-soluble dyes must be washed with cold water to prevent dye fading or transfer. While the colours remain safe to wash in cold water, using higher temperatures can lead to bleeding. If you follow the care instructions and wash at the recommended temperature only to experience dye bleeding in the uniform, contact the manufacturer and return the garment for a suitable replacement.


4. Easy Tips:


The best way to prevent the spread of bacteria and to keep odour to a minimum is to wash athletic uniforms as soon as possible.  Doing laundry right after the game is ideal, and makes stain removal a bit easier. This is particularly important if a player has been injured and there is blood on the uniform.  Uniforms should be laundered in mild detergent with a pH of less than 10, and fabric softener should be avoided. For removal of really tough odours, add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine's bleach compartment and wash as directed or pre-soak the entire uniform in a solution of 1 quart of warm water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda before washing.


Key Tips:


  • Be sure to use the correct temperature of water for the fabric. Some materials may need to be washed with cold water.

  • Use the ‘knead and twist’ method to give your clothes a thorough wash. You should take extra care with delicate items and gently swirl the garments in your bucket or basin instead.

  • After hand washing woollen items, they should be reshaped whilst wet and left to dry flat.