Summer is upon us and that means youth sports teams are gathering for games and practices, while high school and college football teams are getting ready to start their summer training programs.
With the sun beating down on the players, sweat dripping from every part of their body while they run around the field, there’s no doubt that football jerseys can quickly become dirty and extremely smelly, which is why it’s important to wash them every chance you get.
But before you just throw the jersey into the washing machine with all of the other clothes, there are a few tips you should know about how to properly wash your football jersey to ensure that it gets as clean as possible and stays looking sharp.
These tips can also be used to wash your favorite player’s jersey or other sport jerseys as well. The goal here is to make sure that you’re washing the jersey properly so that you avoid ruining the jersey by fading the color, permanently setting stains, or causing permanent rips or tears.
Tips for Washing Jerseys to Avoid Damage
1. Treat and Attempt to Remove Any Stains
The first thing you want to do before washing your jersey is attempt to remove any tough stains by hand. Since jerseys require a more delicate wash cycle, the washing machine itself may not have the cleaning power to remove the tough stains without damaging the jersey itself.
There are a few ways you can pre-treat the stains before washing. You can mix one part vinegar and two parts water and then scrub into the stain with a soft bristle brush. You can use a bit of laundry detergent right on the stain, or you can use a product specifically designed for pre-treating stains. Just be careful when using products that contain bleach, they may cause discoloration of your jersey.
We put together an excellent guide on getting tough grass stains out of jerseys and uniforms
, which are some of the toughest stains to get out.
2. Separate Colors and Wash Jerseys On Their Own if Possible
We all know that it’s important to keep your colored clothes separate from the white clothes when washing to avoid any color bleeding that may ruin the white clothes, and the same goes for jerseys. In fact, if possible, you should wash your jerseys only with other jerseys, while also separating colors from whites.
The biggest thing you want to avoid is washing jerseys with things like blue jeans. Blue jeans can easily blead into white clothing, or the fibers in the jerseys and leave unsightly blue streaks.
The main goal here is to avoid color bleeding from other clothing on to your jersey. The worst thing that could happen is to pull your crisp white jersey out of the wash and have it be pink right before a big game.
3. Turn Jerseys Inside Out
Aside from ensuring that colors don’t bleed or fade on your jerseys, the other important thing is to make sure that any patches, numbers, logos, and names stay where they are supposed to and don’t get snagged or rip on anything.
Turning your jerseys inside out before you throw them in the washing machine will keep those elements protected as they go through the spin cycle of the washer. And it will also help protect against color fading. Undoing the buttons can also help prevent wrinkles around those areas of the jersey.
4. Use the Proper Detergent and Wash Cycle
Once it’s time to throw the jerseys into the washing machine, you want to make sure that you’re using a gentle detergent, one without bleach and, if possible, a powdered detergent that is color-safe to help prevent fading.
Washing your jerseys in cold water is going to be the best way to avoid shrinkage and fading, but using slightly warm water can help the detergent work a little better. So you’ll have to make the decision on whether you think the stains require a little more effort to remove.
If you notice that your jerseys are particularly smelly, you can also add a little bit of vinegar to the bleach dispenser in your washing machine to help alleviate any odors.
5. Hang Dry Your Jerseys
The final step in the process is to hang dry your jersey. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE DRYER.
Putting your jersey in the dryer can cause damage even on the no-heat, tumble setting, so you want to avoid using the dryer if possible.
Before hang drying your jersey, turn it back right-side out and give it a few shakes to ensure that any stickers or lettering isn’t sticking together, and then hang it flat on a drying rack until it is fully dry.
Air drying your jersey is a great way to ensure that it doesn’t shrink, that any numbers or lettering doesn’t crack or melt (depending on the material), and that your colors stay popping for the whole season.
Whether you’re trying to clean your kids local team jersey or the jersey of your favorite player, washing and drying your jersey properly will ensure that it continues to look as best as possible, for as long as possible.