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All three of my children wear the sports shorts for PE at school, and they wash brilliantly, all the uniforms still look as good as new. I would definitely recommend to friends.

Leighanne, Mum of three

Washing school uniforms and caring for your clothes

As we continue to navigate our new post-crisis world, many people will notice they are washing clothing more over the next few months. In particular, families will notice they are washing school uniforms more often. School uniform helps to provide a visual distinction between school and home life. This reinforces the fact that students should remove it for washing at the end of each day.

To help you understand how to wash school uniforms and care for them, meaning they will last longer, we have put together these details. We have also included information on the source of different fabrics, and what to do with it when it comes to the end of its life.

Washing School Uniforms: acrylic, nylon, polyester

Caring & washing acrylic, nylon & polyester clothing

How it’s made & properties: These are all synthetic fabrics which are derived from petroleum or coal-based. They offer increased durability and diversity compared to natural fibres. They are good at keeping their shape, moisture-wicking and quick at drying. These fabrics are often used in school uniform items such as Blazers, Trousers and Craftwear.

Washing: When washing school uniforms with synthetic fibres, wash them with a Cora Ball or Guppy Friend wash bag to prevent microfibres from polluting the water system.

Drying: Synthetic fibres tend to dry quite quickly, and it is best to hang dry them. Try not to tumble dry synthetic fabrics as this can weaken the fabric and damage the fibres. Plus its more eco-friendly!

Disposal: When a garment comes to the end of its life, always donate or take it to a textile recycling centre. Currently, you cannot recycle most synthetic fabrics, but you can re-purpose and make into something else.

 

Washing School Uniforms: viscose, lyocell, modal

Caring & washing viscose, lyocell and modal clothing

How it’s made & properties: These are classed as semi-synthetic/natural fabrics as they come from wood pulp which is chemically treated to extrude the natural fibres. These are breathable, highly absorbent fabrics with moisture-wicking properties.

Washing: It is best to wash these fabrics inside out at a low temperature (30c). Try not to wring out Viscose as it can leave it misshapen.

Drying: Viscose can be prone to shrinkage, so it advised to lay it flat when drying. Lyocell & Modal can be tumble dried if required.

Disposal: These fabrics are long-lasting and should stand the test of time. When a garment does come to the end of its life, always donate or take it to a textile recycling centre.

 

Washing School Uniforms: cotton

Caring & washing cotton clothing

How it’s made & properties: Cotton is a soft fluffy fibre which comes from the cotton plant. These are picked and then the fluffy formation is twisted or spun to make yarn. It is an extremely breathable, durable, lightweight fabric. It is a very water-absorbent fibre meaning it’s great at moisture-wicking. Cotton is often used in school uniform items such as sweatshirts, polo shirts, shirts and blouses.

Washing: When washing school uniforms with natural fibres in their composition they can be prone to shrinkage, so it is advisable to wash these at a low temperature (30c).

Drying: This fabric tends to crease more than others, so its best to dry these flat to prevent the need for ironing, or iron it whilst it’s still damp. Try and keep white cotton garments out of the sun when drying as these can be prone to yellowing over time due to their natural properties.

Disposal: You can sometimes compost the cotton, as long as it contains no dye. When a garment does come to the end of its life, always donate or take it to a textile recycling centre. Or why not keep it as a cleaning rag?

 

Denim

Caring & washing denim clothing

How it’s made & properties: Denim originally comes from cotton and is usually woven into a warp-faced style. Throughout this process, a number of washes, dyes or treatments can be applied. Denim is hard-wearing and doesn’t snag easily. To make denim, you use cotton which therefore makes it breathable with moisture-wicking properties.

Washing: It is advisable to wash your denim item inside out. But if it isn’t dirty, why not pop them in the freezer. Not only does this get rid of germs but will freshen them up too. If you do need to wash them, it’s better to wash at 30c.

Drying: It’s best to hang dry or dry flat denim to prevent it creasing as much.

Disposal: Most denim’s are very durable and should last a while. When a garment does come to the end of its life, always donate or take it to a textile recycling centre. Or check out M.i.h Jeans, they turn old denim into new denim and give you 25% off a new pair of jeans.

 

Silk

Caring & washing silk clothing

How it’s made & properties: Silk comes from silkworms which when pupating are dissolved in boiling water to extrude the fibres. It is often believed that this is cruelty to worms to do this, and as a result, there are cruelty-free options in the market, such as Ahimsa Silk. It is very lightweight, has good insulation properties and one of the strongest natural fibres.

Washing: Always check the label on silk items. If you can machine wash the item, always use a delicate setting, and lower than 30c. It’s best to wash these in a mesh bag. If hand washing silk, add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to 3.5 litres of water to restore its shine.

Drying: Never dry silk on a wooden rack as this can leave stains. Using heat, such as a radiator or tumble dryer can cause damage or shrinkage.

Disposal: Silk should last a while if properly cared for. When a garment does come to the end of its life, look at ways to re-purpose it, donate or take it to a textile recycling centre.

 

Wool, cashmere, Animal Hairs

Caring & washing wool and cashmere clothing

How it’s made & properties: These fibres come from the shearing of animals, which go through cleaning and scouring, grading and sorting, carding, spinning, weaving, and finishing, to produce the final yarn. These fibres are very durable, have great thermal insulation properties and are highly absorbent.

Washing: As this is a natural fibre which comes from animals it should always be washed on a gentle cycle, and only when absolutely necessary. Use a detergent specially designed for woollen garments.

Drying: It is best to dry these garment flat in its normal shape. Sometimes these garments may need pulling slightly to get them back to their original shape.

Disposal: You can compost pure, undyed fabrics, but always check. When a garment does come to the end of its life, look at ways to re-purpose it, donate or take it to a textile recycling centre.

 

Fleece

Caring & washing fleece clothing

How it’s made & properties: Typically fleece is made from polyester and derived from petroleum sources. It is brushed to help the fibres increase in volume. It is warm and durable, but it is moisture resistant making it ideal for extreme weather conditions or for sportswear.

Washing: Fleece fabrics tend to shed many microfibres when washing due to the fabric being brushed. It is advised to wash with a Cora Ball or Guppy Friend wash bag to prevent these polluting our water system.

Drying: Do not tumble dry or iron this item as it will cause the fibres to melt. Lay it flat to dry.

Disposal: Sometimes fleece, if 100% polyester, can be recycled, always check the label. When a garment does come to the end of its life, always donate or take it to a textile recycling centre.

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It doesn't feel rough, like you might have thought something made out of plastic would.

Pupil, aged 9

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