CHECK THE TAG – No matter the item you're thinking about cleaning, it's important to check the tag first and check the recommended cleaning method.
RINSE IN COLD WATER - This will blast off any caked-on semi-solid materials (such as mud or blood).
PRE-TREAT STAINS – Pre-treat stains with your product of choice.
My favorite is "All" Stainlifter Detergent. Full of concentrated cleaning power, All® Stainlifter removes tough stains and now contains In-Wash Pre-Treaters* for even better stain removal. Treat Grass Stains – Grass stains are common in sports uniforms, but unfortunately they're complex stains. Grass stains are typically a mixture of different materials, proteins, organic matter, and chlorophyll which is a pigmented compound, meaning that it's a dye. Another reason grass stains can be so stubborn is that the pigments are similar to natural fibers like cotton and when they come in contact the stain, actually bonds to the fabric fibers. Treat blood stains – A little hydrogen peroxide on the stain before pre-treatment and washing helps. SCRUB IT - Remove the clothes from the water and scrub the heck out of the stains with a scrub brush. You'll want one with medium bristles and a non-slip handle that you can easily grip. A toothbrush will also work.
SOAK IT – In cold water, for a good solid 60 minutes to lift stains.
Tip: Always soak in cold water – hot water sets the stain. WASH IT - Wash the clothing in warm or cold water with your favorite laundry detergent. Again, I like the All Stainlifter because it's an all-in-one for pretreating and washing.
DRY IT – Once you're satisfied with the stain removal, throw it in the dryer, avoiding high heat. Keep it on low! Avoids shrinking and excess fading.
Tip: Always dry on low – avoids shrinking and fading.
What are some "uniform cleaning don'ts"?
DON'T use bleach on uniforms – it can fade the piping and logos with team colors.
DON’T put it in the dryer until you are satisfied with your stain removal. If you aren't happy with the results, go back to step one. Once you dry the clothing, the stains set in and will be virtually impossible to remove. Ever. DON'T keep uniforms and other sporting equipment trapped in a duffel bag. The bag will absorb odors and transfer them to your uniform or the smells will linger and settle deep in the fabric. Air out your sports uniform and the duffel bag after every use, if possible. If something has a lingering odor, a little WHITE VINEGAR in the wash can help.
For more lifestyle tips from Tracy Metro, visit domesticcircus.com and follow her on Twitter @TracyMetro.