In the world of soccer equipment, there are few greater expenses than soccer uniforms. Teams spend thousands of dollars every couple of years to purchase new kits only for them to wear out prematurely. Premature wear might not be an issue if we all had access to full-time kit managers like the pros do. However, if you are reading this, it is safe to assume you don't have that luxury!
Trying to figure it out on your own is overwhelming, so let's take a deep dive into soccer uniform care. By the time you're done reading this you'll be getting the most of your soccer uniform investment and who knows, maybe Real Madrid will come knocking looking for a new kit manager!
Does it matter how I care for my soccer uniform?
YES, it absolutely does! By following manufacturer washing instructions and garment care best practices you will not only have a better looking soccer kit, but it will last longer, be more comfortable, and will perform better. Taking a moment to learn a bit about how to properly care for your soccer uniform is well worth your time!
OK then... How should I care for my soccer uniforms?
Well, there a number of things to consider. Some are more important than others, but done with regularity and in concert these practices will ensure you get the most out of your soccer uniform.
Can I machine wash my soccer uniform?
Yes, in most cases it is appropriate to machine wash soccer uniforms. The overwhelming majority of soccer uniforms nowadays are made from 100% polyester and are decorated with embellishments that can withstand machine washing throughout the life of the garment. It is always best to turn all garments inside out and to wash with the same or similar colored garments. It is also recommended that you use the cold water setting and use the proper type and amount of detergent.
By default, it is always best practice to follow washing and drying instructions on the label of your soccer uniform. If your jersey, shorts, socks or soccer warm ups don't come with sewn-in garment care instructions, contact the manufacturer or consult with the retailer you purchased them from to ensure you're following instructions.
When should I pre-wash my uniforms?
We've all experienced those soccer games that liken to a 'Mud Bowl' where by the end the pitch, is left in tatters and there is not one square inch of uniform not covered in dirt or grass. Rather than throwing the soccer kits straight into a wash cycle, it is advisable to pre-wash them in a sink to remove as much loose dirt and grass as possible. Turn the uniform inside out, use a small amount of detergent, and lightly agitate the uniform to help break up the stains during the pre-wash
One other key thing to note is to never let a freshly stained uniform that is still wet from use dry before getting washed. Letting the uniform dry before washing is a sure-fire way to set the stains permanently into the fabric. five to ten minutes of presoaking should do the trick.
Should I separate soccer jerseys, shorts, and socks when washing?
Whenever possible, absolutely yes! First of all, this makes sorting post-wash and dry much easier. Secondly, your soccer jersey, shorts, and socks are probably made from slightly different fabrics and likely contain different dye types/tones. Washing them separately will ensure that there is no bleed over from the socks to the jerseys or vice versa.
Should I turn my soccer uniform inside out when I wash and dry?
Yes. Doing this will help prevent the outside part of the garment from rubbing against the machine walls, thus extending the life of the garment.
Should I pre-soak my soccer uniforms?
Whenever possible, yes! A good 20-30 minute pre-soak in cold water will help ensure water and detergent penetrate through all the fibers in the soccer kit fabric. If that does not do the trick, try letting the garment soak overnight. Make sure the water and detergent levels are appropriate to the load size and be sure the detergent has fully disintegrated into the water before adding the kits. This will help prevent build up or staining on the uniform as a result of clumped and trapped detergent.
How do I get tough stains out of my soccer uniform?
If presoaking does not do the trick, try using a stainstick or a small concentration of detergent and scrub the garment by hand by pressing the garment against itself. Be sure to rinse the garment after this step and before putting it in the wash cycle. REMEMBER: once you let a garment dry after it picks up a stain it becomes extremely difficult if not impossible to get it out.
What is the best laundry detergent (soap) to wash soccer uniforms?
Should I wash my soccer uniforms on hot or cold?
Always use cold water when washing soccer kits. Using hot water has the effect of setting stains and causing unnecessary wear. Stick with cold!
Always inspect after washing.
How do I prevent tough stains from setting into the fabric of my soccer uniform? After your uniforms finish their wash cycle its time to turn them right side out and give them a once over to ensure that all stains have been removed. Skipping this step and going straight to drying will undoubtedly lead to unsightly permanent stains that are avoidable.
Should I machine dry my soccer uniforms?
In general, it is always better to hang dry your kits. You can machine dry your kit but it will cause more wear on the kits and will reduce their lifespan. If you do decide to machine dry, most manufacturers recommend tumble drying on a low-heat setting with each garment turned inside out. This helps protect the fabric and embellishments on the outside of the uniform from rubbing against the washing machine.
The bottom line is that heating your uniform will cause a small amount of wear every time you do it which over time will reduce the life of your garment. One way you can help extend the life of your soccer kits is by tumble drying on the lowest heat setting for a shortened amount of time. Then, once the items have warmed up and dried slightly, take them out and lay them on a flat surface in a well-ventilated room to finish drying. Hang drying also has the effect of using less energy which is environmentally friendly and cost efficient. Oh, and NEVER hang them in direct sun to dry! It will cause fading and weakening of the polyester fibers. Your uniforms already see enough sun which causes wear. Don't cause undue wear by leaving them to dry in direct sunlight.
Should I use bleach on my soccer uniform?
No. Absolutely not. Never! If you do, you will create stains in the fabric as well as weaken the fabric. Don't do it!
What you CAN do is use a more polyester friendly oxigen fabric cleaner such as OxiClean. These are far more gentle on polyester soccer uniforms than bleach and they won't leave your pricey kits damaged!
You might be tempted to cram as many soccer uniforms into as few laundry loads as possible. However, like you may have experienced with your personal laundry, overloading leads to detergent not distributing evenly and getting trapped thus causing staining. Not to mention overloading is tough on your washer and dryer.
Don't combine with non-soccer garments
Mixing your soccer uniforms with other garments may cause undue damage to your kits. For example; a zipper on a pair of jeans can scratch and pull on the polyester fibers or cotton fibers from a hoodie can migrate onto heat pressed logos and numbers making them look opaque and dirty. It is best to wash your uniforms separate.
Be weary when using high-efficiency washers or economy settings...
Everyone wants to save water and energy when washing clothes. It's good for the environment and it lowers your water and electricity bill. However, be careful when using a high-efficiency washer or using an economy setting on your washer as this could mean that a much needed wash cycle does not use enough water or that all the elements of a wash cycle don't run. It is important to have enough water in the washer and to allow your washer to run the full cycle when washing your soccer uniforms.
How do I prevent my soccer uniforms from wrinkling after washing and drying?
The most common cause of wrinkling in soccer uniforms is allowing them to dry while they are still in the washing machine . Avoid this by switching your kits to the dryer or hangers soon after the washer ends its cycle. Another wrinkle creating culprit is letting your soccer uniforms fully cool off after the dryer has run its cycle before you take them out to fold/store. If they fully cool off in the dryer you will see wrinkles form. Beyond that, just make sure you store them neatly by individually folding them or by laying them out and bundling. This will ensure you have smooth and wrinkle-free kits when you pull them out for game time!
Should I wash my soccer uniform when it is new, before I wear it for the first time?
The answer depends. Many manufacturers recommend you pre-wash your soccer kits before ever using them. Some recommend two pre-washes; one using detergent, and a second without. How your uniforms are embellished (embroidery, heat press, screen print, or sublimation) may impact whether or not you need to pre-wash. Check the box you received your soccer uniforms in for printed wash instructions. Bottom line: check with the manufacturer or retailer who you purchased from.
How should I store soccer uniforms in the off season?
It is always recommended that you store them neatly folded or bundled in a dry, climate controlled area. Make sure you've washed and fully dried the uniforms one last time before storing them to prevent mold. You may want to avoid hanging jerseys or other items during off season storage as the extended time on the hanger can create 'dimples' in the shoulders or other areas and puts acute pressure on a localized area making it susceptible to premature wear at those points. It is better to store them inside plastic bags placed inside plastic bins where the items can rest on top of one another, evenly distributing their weight and keeping them safe from changes in humidity, water leaks, and bugs.
We hope you found our guide to soccer uniform care helpful even if you only took away one or two nuggets!
Did we mention that we specialize in team and club uniform sales? Check out our extensive line of quality soccer uniforms and contact us so we can help you get your new kits at an excellent price!