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6 Ways You’re Ruining Your Favorite Sports Jerseys

January 26, 2020

Jerseys are essential for certain sports such as basketball and baseball. A part of a uniform, it instills unity among the team. Not only that, but it allows for others to easily distinguish between the two teams. Without them, it’d be pretty much impossible to identify players during a game.

Not only are they worn by the players but they can be worn by fans as well. In fact, it’s one of the top merchandise among sports fans. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to buy and wear the same jersey as their favorite player. If anything, it’s one of the most popular ways to show your support!

Sports That Require Jerseys

Jerseys are typically worn for team sports such as baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. With that said, there are some exceptions. For example, it’s not uncommon for cyclists to wear them during certain events such as the World Championships. One thing to note is that in some sports, a player’s jersey may be retired. What this means is that the number will be unavailable for future players—that is, the team will put it aside in honor of the individual’s accomplishment.

A Brief History on Sports Jerseys

For many years, jerseys were made from cotton or wool. In fact, the word itself refers to an item of knitted clothing. One way they added elasticity was by using a special technique called warp knitting. From there, they would dye the shirts and add player numbers and club crests.

jersey history

It wasn’t until the 1930s that people started to make them from synthetic fabrics such as elastane, polyester, and nylon. The fact that they were strong and durable made them ideal for sports jerseys. By the 1970s, all top athletes wore tight-fitting jerseys made from polyester and elastane.

Benefits of Using Synthetic Fabrics

There are many reasons why synthetic fabrics are better than traditional fabrics when it comes to sports jerseys. Here are some of its pros:

pros of synthetic fabrics

  • Synthetic fabrics are naturally moisture-wicking so sweat won’t remain on your skin
  • They are quick-drying so that you can easily get them clean and ready for your next game
  • Most, if not all of the materials offer a full range of movement
  • The fabrics themselves are cheap, which will lower the cost of the jerseys
  • They can easily be dyed a wide range of colors
  • The fabrics are lightweight and resistant to stains

Importance of Washing Your Sports Jerseys

Sports jerseys are naturally close-fitting. What does this mean? It means that your sweat will come into contact with the fabric. Sure, it has moisture-wicking properties, but some of it will get absorbed. That’s why you want to be diligent about washing your jerseys. The last thing that you want to have to deal with is a dirty, sweaty uniform. Not only will it stink, but it’ll be bad for your skin.

Don’t just toss it into the laundry bin without a second thought, though. There are some things that you shouldn’t do when it comes to washing jerseys. One wrong step and you can easily ruin the item! If anything, that’s every athlete’s nightmare

Not sure what it is that you shouldn’t be doing? We’ll then, you’ve come to the right page because that’s what we’ll be talking about below. So keep reading!

6 Ways You’re Ruining Your Sports Jerseys – Common Washing Mistakes

Here are a few things that you should never do when you’re washing your jersey. Keep these tips in mind and your uniform is bound to last a long time!

1. You’re Using Fabric Softener

Fabric softener is great for certain clothes such as those made from cotton. They should never, however, be used for activewear—and that includes jerseys. Why? These products work by coating your clothes with a wax-like layer; that’s what makes them feel soft. In doing so, they’ll “block” off the fabric so that they won’t be able to pull moisture aka sweat away from your skin. That means that it’ll remain on your skin, which will lead to a clammy feel.

fabric softener

That’s not all. The waxy substance will also attract dirt. In other words, your jersey will get dirty more easily, especially if you wear it on a regular basis. Want to soften your jersey the right way? Use white vinegar instead. Pour a cup of it into your load of laundry and wash as normal. The vinegar will not only soften the fabric but it’ll also eliminate any odors.

2. You’re Not Putting Them in a Laundry Bag

Jerseys are durable, however, they can snag in the wash, especially if you’re washing them with other items. Given that, it’s crucial that you put them in a mesh laundry bag. It will act as a barrier against your other clothes so that they won’t get damaged. Make sure to get one that’s the right size—you want the jersey to fit comfortably inside. While you can put more than one in a bag, it’s best to put them in separate bags.

If you don’t have a laundry bag, you can improvise with things around the house. One of our favorite solutions is to use a pillowcase (obviously, make sure it’d clean). Simply put your jersey in and tie off one end with an elastic or rubber band. It’s a nice way to protect your items when you don’t have the actual bags.

3. You’re Putting Them in the Dryer

Never expose your jersey to direct heat. This means that you should never put it into the clothes dryer. Sure, it’ll dry quickly but there’s also a chance that the heat will stretch and warp the fabric. In some cases, it can also shrink! If that happens, you’ll have to replace your jersey.

What you want to do instead is to let it air dry. Put it up on a clothes hanger or drying rack and allow it dry naturally in a well-ventilated room or area. Do not place it under direct sunlight as the heat from the sun can have similar effects as the dryer. Given that most jerseys are made from synthetic materials, it shouldn’t take too long for them to air dry.

4. You’re Adding Too Much Detergent

Detergent is necessary for removing sweat and dirt but adding too much can have the opposite effect. That is, it can make them dirtier. How does that work? It’ll leave a layer of residue on the jersey, which will end up attracting more dirt and oils. There’s a chance that it can leave a smell as well. If that happens, you’ll have to wash the jersey again and as you can imagine, that can cause the fabric to wear down prematurely (if you end up having to wash it again repeatedly).

adding too much detergent

Using too much detergent has other drawbacks as well. For one thing, the chemicals can leach into the environment. Not only that, but it can irritate your skin if it’s leftover on the fabric. Last but not least, it can reduce the efficacy of your washing machine over time. Given all that, it’s important that you follow the instructions on the label when adding the soap.

5. You’re Not Using a Gentle Cycle

Sports jerseys should always be washed with a gentle or delicate cycle. Any other setting would be too rough on the material, especially if you’re not using a laundry bag. For an extra layer of protection, turn it inside out. That will prevent any embroidery from being damaged during the wash cycle.

In a way, the gentle setting is the machine equivalent to washing it by hand. For one thing, it’ll spin at a slower speed, which will be better for your clothes. In some cases, the cycle will also be shorter.

6. You’re Washing Them With Hot Water

Hot water is great for many things but washing jerseys isn’t one of them. For one thing, the high temperature can cause the synthetic fabric to shrink or stretch. Not to mention that the dyes can fade as well. That’s why you want to use cold water instead—this applies to both machine washing and handwashing. If anything, the only time you want to use hot water is if you’re dealing with stains. Even then, you want to be careful as there’s always a risk of damage.

Best Washing Machine Instructions for Sports Jerseys

Start by turning the jersey inside out—that will protect any text and embroidery that might be on the fabric. Protect it by putting it in a mesh bag and place it into the washing machine. You can put other clothes in the same load but make sure that the colors are the same and that they do not contain any hardware.

active give

Once the jersey’s in the machine, add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Skip the fabric softener; add vinegar instead if necessary. Similarly, bleach should also be avoided. Set the washer to a “gentle” cycle and proceed to wash with cold water.

Wait for it to finish before taking out everything. Do not leave your jersey in the washing machine—that will cause it to develop odors. Hang up your jersey so that it can air dry. The clothes dryer should not be used for reasons mentioned earlier.

How to Properly Wash Sports Jerseys By Hand

Start with a bucket of cool water. You can also use the sink if that’s more convenient. Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and swish the water until you’ve got a uniform solution. Put your jersey in so that it’s fully submerged and wait 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the size of the sink, you might have to push up and down a couple of times to get it immersed.

Rub the jersey with your hand gently to remove any remaining oils and debris. Pay extra attention to the neck and underarm areas as sweat tends to accumulate there. When you’re done cleaning, rinse off the soap film with water (the easiest way is probably to put it under running water).

Blot it with a clean towel or roll it up to get out the extra moisture. Allow the jersey to air dry. Once again, avoid the clothes dryer at all costs. 

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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