Your young players may feel that the mud and blood on their sports uniforms are badges of honor, but chances are you’ve got the responsibility to get them clean before the next match. While a hefty splash of chlorine bleach may seem like the only match for tough sports stains, step away from that bottle and read on. Otherwise, you may send your young athlete into the fray wearing faded jerseys or pink-washed gear due to laundry tactics gone terribly wrong.
It’s not wise to use chlorine bleach even on all-white uniforms. Invariably the letters and numbers will fade and bleed a sickly version of the team’s colors into the fabric. In addition, chlorine bleach weakens textile fibers, so the uniforms will tear and lose their shape easily when washed in it.
Your best laundry bet is to follow this routine. First, shake off excess dust and dirt outside, then rinse uniforms under cold water to get out surface dirt. Presoak the uniforms alone in oxygen bleach or color-safe bleach for at least an hour, and overnight if possible. Launder as usual in cold water. Some people swear by adding a cup of baking soda to the wash water.
Unless you are really pressed for time, do not put uniforms in the dryer. The heat will set tough residual stains permanently. Hang to dry.