The joys of football and rugby season stay firmly on the pitch. There is no joy when it comes to returning kit for washing. Here’s some easy tips for getting the mud, grass and blood out of sports kit without taking too much time from your weekend.
Soak Kit Straight Away
Remove as much as possible as quickly as possible. Wear something to protect your own clothes and under a running tap and rinse as much mud off as possible. I have been known to peg the kit on the line and rinse it with the hosepipe when it’s been really bad. The next step is to fill a bucket or the sink with warm water, I add a scoop of Vanish and leave the kit to sit for an hour or more.
If played properly all good sports have bloody moments. A blood stain is an organic stain, which means it’s full of proteins which are programmed to bind together when heated, making them set fast into our clothes. Cold water is what’s needed to remove these stains. The key to removing blood is to wash it out as soon as possible. Normal bar soap and cold water can be used to rub most bloodstains away, you can also use washing up liquid. If the stain is still faintly showing you may want to add a stain removal product to the stain before laundering. Then the item can be washed in the usual way.
Grass stains go with the turf, excuse the pun, if you’ve been playing rugby or football! Grass sap contains chlorophyll which is the green dye that causes the stain. Luckily most sports kit is made from synthetic fabrics which are generally easier to treat than natural fabrics such a cotton.
Wherever possible, keep the stain wet until you can treat it. Turn the garment inside out and rinse the item from the back with cool water to remove as much of the mud and dirt as possible before treating the grass stain. Working from the backside of the fabric pushes the stain back out rather than working it in deeper. After flushing with water you can turn your attention to the grass stain. The best method of removing grass stains is a simple paste, I mix Vanish to a toothpaste consistency, the traditional approach involves mixing baking soda and plain vinegar.
Still working from the backside of the item, gently work the paste into the stain with your fingers. Allow the paste to sit on the clothing for 15 minutes then rinse with cool water, again from the back, until the water runs clean. If the stain has been removed, great, launder with your normal detergent and then allow to air dry. If not repeat the paste process before laundering.
Wash Your Kit
I wash everything at 30 degrees and use Surcare liquid and a a scoop of Vanish to prevent allergic irritations, maintain kit colours and also sizes. First in are the gloves and any underwear / under armour as they need to be washed on a more delicate setting to protect their stretch and seams. Next in is the main kit, top, shorts, socks, again at 30 degrees and use Surcare liquid and a a scoop of Vanish. Two loads and the kit is all done.
Air Dry or Line Dry
Never tumble dry your kit. The heat of a tumble drier will cause your kit to shrink, fade the colours and set any remaining marks deep in clothes. On the same note, never pre-soak or wash your kit in hot water and avoid hanging it in direct sunlight. Make sure you only line-dry your kit outside or on an airer inside if the weather is against you.
Clean The Boots
Number one tip – do it that day! I’ve been there, forgotten and they’ve dried out. This is a big, big mistake! It’s so much harder to tackle and regularly it knackers the boots so you will be replacing them sooner. Untie the laces and remove the mud and dirt with a damp cloth or soft scrubbing brush. Once the boots are clean, stuff them with newspaper which is highly absorbent. Then leave your boots to dry naturally at room temperature. Don’t dry your boots by placing them near radiators or fire places. Drying boots with heat can cause the boots to become stiff and the adhesives holding the boot together can deteriorate. Clean the straight away with laces untied, dry stuffed with newspaper and store with laces untied. You’re welcome!
I hope this helps you get your or your kids sports kit back in sparkling condition quickly and easily. If you have a tip for getting sports kit clean or found this post helpful please do let me know in the comments below! Claire x
There’s more laundry tips here – How to Wash School Uniforms.