School uniforms can begin to feel like a never ending cycle of washing, replacing, and mending clothes.
While nothing can be done about the inevitable growth spurts, there are a series of hacks that can prolong the lifespan of school uniforms, and it all starts with washing.
From how you load your washing machine to the amount of detergent you use, there are a series of laundry methods which can prevent clothing from becoming unwearable.
Nick Drewe, money-saving expert at online discounts platform WeThrift says: “School uniforms are costly enough and the last thing parents want to do is buy their child another pair of trousers because the one they have currently is torn and frayed due to washing or wear and tear.
“That said, when it comes to washing clothes, there are simple steps that parents can take to ensure that their kid’s uniform stays in good condition.”
Below, we outline Nick's seven top tips for washing school uniforms…
Load your washing machine correctly
It might seem easiest to cram as much as possible into one cycle, but this can actually reduce the quality of clothing, resulting in garments needing to be replaced more often.
Nick has explained the issue with overloading your washing machine, saying: "Cramming your washing machine with clothes will do no favours to your kid’s school uniform. When a machine is overloaded, clothes will rub against each other and this will lead to damage.
"Overloading your machine could also mean that your clothes won’t wash properly, as they need plenty of room to move around in the drum. For the best results, there has to be a sufficient amount of water for the detergent to dissolve in, as well as enough space for your clothes to move around.
He advises: "The general rule of thumb is to fill the drum no more than three quarters of the way full to protect your clothes from friction and damage."
Limit the amount of detergent you use
There never seems to be a definite amount of detergent to use when washing, with the majority of people just following their instinct.
However, a common myth is that by using more detergent your clothes will end up cleaner, but this isn't the case.
Money-saving expert Nick highlighted the impact that over-using detergent can have on the quality of school uniforms, saying: "Using a large amount of detergent could make your kid’s school uniform stiff and dull-looking."
He continued by revealing his top tip when it comes to deciding how much detergent to use and what it can be combined with for even better results.
Nick advised: "Try using half the recommended amount of detergent, as well as half a cup of baking soda and this will act as a detergent booster.
"Doing this will limit your home carbon footprint, and not to mention preserve the condition of your kids' uniform."
Wash dark clothes inside out
Many school uniforms are grey, navy, or black, which leaves them risk of quickly fading after a few washes.
It can be difficult to prevent garments from fading, and for products such as trousers it can begin to feel almost inevitable that the colour will eventually be lost.
However, there's a super simple and easy trick which helps to maintain the colour of dark clothing.
By washing dark items inside out, it can prevent the colour from fading, and enable the garment to stay looking new for much longer than usual.
Lower the heat
Keeping your wash on a low heat is good for the environment, but can also hugely benefit your clothes.
Nick emphasises the importance of keeping your wash on a low heat, by explaining: "For any kind of wash you do, it’s important to lower the heat.
"This is because hot water can shrink, stretch and permanently set stains on certain kinds of fabric.
"So, it’s important to follow the label instructions on your child’s clothing correctly and select the right settings on your washing machine."
Use a fabric shaver
One of the main issues with school uniforms is the little bobbles which appear on jumpers, cardigans, and polo shirts after a while.
The small bobbles sometimes feel inevitable, but there's a specific gadget you can invest in to prevent them from becoming a major issue.
While many opt for a lint brush, it's actually a fabric shaver which is the correct choice, as it's specifically designed to help you conquer these issues with clothing.
Nick said: "When it comes to giving your child’s school uniform a good sweep, be sure to use a fabric shaver and not a lint brush.
"A fabric shaver is easy-to-use, less time consuming and is designed to safely handle a wide range of fabric."
Remove stains manually
Another aspect of the never ending issues with school uniforms is, of course, stains.
Instead of relying on the washing machine or speciality products, manually removing stains is much more effective.
Nick has outlined a specific method for removing unwanted marks, saying: "The first step is to rinse the stain thoroughly in cold water and then soak your garment in hot water with some laundry detergent. If you have it, add a little ammonia to the mixture as well.
"Allow your child’s clothing to soak in the mixture for 30 to 60 minutes – you may even want to leave it overnight if you’re dealing with a very stubborn stain."
Wash uniforms less frequently
This final step is obviously dependent on various factors, but by not over-washing uniforms they can last a whole lot longer.
Limiting the amount of washes can keep the colours looking fresh and the quality up to standard.
Nick said: "It’s understandable to want their clothes to stay fresh, but it’s important to know that constantly washing your child’s jumper will drain its colour and make it more stretchy.
"Not to mention, washing less frequently will be beneficial for the environment, save you money on your water bills and increase the lifespan of your children’s school uniform."
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