Having been in the School Uniform business for over 15 years, we’ve come to know the garments we supply inside out (literally!). We want to provide our customers with the best quality at the best price when it comes to School Uniform and through the years of experience, we have come to realise that even though most School Uniform manufacturers produce ‘easy care’ garments, they still need to be looked after correctly to get the best value from them in terms of looking good and lasting longer. At the risk of sounding patronising, here are some of what we believe to be the most useful care tips for your School Uniform:
1. Always follow the care label instructions
Each garment is different and so will require a different care process. Read and follow each instruction carefully to ensure you look after your garments as best you can.
2. Wash before wear
Washing your garment inside out, before you wear it will help to reduce any pilling/bobbling as it will remove the excess fibres before they start to rub together.
3. Prepare garments for wash
Close all zips and Velcro fasteners, open buttons and make sure cuffs and collars are flattened and straight. This will help to avoid snagging in the wash and causing damage to the fabrics.
4. Wash inside out
Washing garments inside out helps to reduce pilling/bobbling. Always wash knitwear inside out.
5. Cool wash
Wash at 30 degrees to help your garment last longer and to help save energy. Increase to 40 degrees in the case of stubborn stains, but never higher.
6. Avoid fabric conditioner
We do not recommend the use of fabric conditioner when washing school uniform; it is designed to raise fibres to soften the garment. Fabric conditioner increases pilling/bobbling and may weaken elasticity. An alternative to combat hard water is to use water softening tablets. Some garments, such as technical sports garments, are coated and the use of fabric conditioner can impair the performance of the garment. Always check the care label.
7. Use good quality detergent
Some fabric detergents may contain chemicals that can cause fading and pilling/bobbling.
8. Wash similar items together
Try to sort your washing loads into similar fabrics and colours. Always wash deep colours separately for the first wash, this will ensure any residue dye does not come into contact and ruin the rest of the wash.
9. Avoid direct heat
Avoid placing garments on radiators or over other direct heat sources to dry. Most school uniform items are manufactured with ‘easy care’ fabric so if you shake them gently after washing and hang them to dry carefully, there should be no need to iron. Never iron your knitwear.
10. Avoid tumble drying
Only tumble dry if the care label states this is ok. Avoid if possible, as the heat from the tumble dryer causes pilling/bobbling.
Ensure your iron is set to the correct temperature. This can be found on the care label. DO NOT iron any printed decoration.
Laundry Care Symbols Explained
Gentle / Wool Wash
Do Not Wash
Do Not Wring
The above symbols tell you what temperature or machine setting you should use to wash the item of clothing. The number shown is the maximum temperature you should set your machine. A hand in this symbol it means the garment should only be hand washed. The lines underneath the symbol indicate how delicate the wash cycle should be.
Do Not Bleach
Use Non-chlorine Bleach
An empty triangle means you can use bleach on this garment. A triangle with a cross through it means you shouldn’t use bleach or any detergents with bleach in them.
Tumble Dry Allowed
Tumble Dry on Low Heat
Permanent Press / Synthetics
DO Not Tumble Dry
Delicate / Gentle
Hang To Dry
This shows if the garment can be tumble dried. One dot means lower temperature, two dots mean higher temperature, a cross through a circle means DO NOT tumble dry.
Iron Cool (Max 110°)
Iron Medium (Max 150°)
Iron Hot (Max 200°)
Do Not Iron
Steaming Not Allowed
The dots on ironing symbols correspond to the dots on an iron’s temperature setting, the more dots the more heat can be applied. If there is a cross through the iron it means DO NOT iron.
Any Solvent Except Trichloroethylene
Petroleum Solvent Only
Do Not Dry Clean
A symbol means that the garment is suitable for dry cleaning. The letters instruct the dry-cleaner on the process to be used.
Pilling and Bobbing
Pilling can be caused by any of the following:
- External friction i.e. movement against another fabric or object.
- Washing the garment at the incorrect temperature and/or with other fabrics that will rub against the garment.
- Tumble drying the garment at too high a temperature, which causes the heat to draw out the fibre.
- Body heat generated by the wearer.
It is a recognised fact that knitted goods are prone to pilling, some more than others. The main reason is friction or rubbing against another object. This does not necessarily mean that the garment is faulty.
Some garments appear to have ‘fluffed up’ after a short period of wear and this is due to fibres from the yarn coming to the surface. The yarn in these cases is slightly hairier than usual and the hairs disappear after a period of wear and washing.
It is strongly advised that every garment is washed inside out at the correct temperature setting. Tumble drying can increase the chance of pilling and should only be used if the tumble dryer has a cool setting, as tumble dryers with only one setting use too high a temperature, and then only for a short period of time. Dark and light colours should not be mixed when washing as some dark colours occasionally have slight traces of surface dye on initial washes that may be washed out. Do not wash knitted garments with harsh fabric such as jeans. We do not recommend the use of fabric conditioners.