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Washing Guide for Cross Country & Track and Field Uniforms

June 5, 2019

Track and a field is a sport that allows athletes to show off their running, throwing, and jumping abilities. As implied by its name, it takes place on a grass field and a running track. Some popular events include sprinting, cross country running, relay races, hurdling, and high jump.

If anything, its a great form of exercise. It incorporates various cardio elements, after all.

Benefits of Participating in Track and Field:

  • It will improve your cardiovascular fitness
  • It will decrease your risk of certain conditions such as heart disease
  • It will strengthen your muscles and bones
  • It promotes teamwork
  • It can boost your mood

What Kind of Gear is Needed for Cross Country/Track and Field?

As mentioned earlier, many athletic events fall under the term “track and field.” Considering this, it’s not surprising to know that the sport involves a variety of gear, some of which are event specific. For instance, you’d need a javelin if you’re a javelin thrower. Likewise, you’d need a pole if you were to participate in the high jump.

what do you need for track and field

Other types of gear, however, are used across all events. For one thing, everyone who participates in track and field would need a uniform; they’d also need a good pair of shoes.

Keeping Your Cross Country/Track and Field Gear Clean

When was the last time you ran track and field without having to sweat? Assuming that you’re participating in a training session, that’s highly unlikely. After all, the events can be quite tiring.

Given that, there’s a high chance that your gear, aka your clothes, will come into contact with your perspiration. Over time, that can proliferate the growth of contaminants, which can cause bad odors. Want to prevent that from happening? If so, be sure to wash your garments after a track and field session. Ideally, you want to do so after getting home—that way, there won’t be that much time for the odor-causing residues to sit.

Want to know how to wash the various types of gear? We’ll be going over the washing instructions below. Be sure to keep reading!

How to Wash Cross Country (XC) & Track and Field Jerseys

Jerseys can get dirty in a number of ways. For one thing, dirt can easily go on the fabric if you fall on the ground. As mentioned earlier, there’s also the issue of sweat, which can penetrate into the material. Luckily, they’re not difficult to clean.

washing track and field jerseys

Putting Your Cross Country/Track and Field Jersey in the Washer

More often than not, these jerseys are made from man-made fibers. In other words, it’s perfectly fine for you to put them in the washing machine. Still, it’s a good idea to double check the care tag. You never know, some items might be hand wash only.

Assuming that your jersey is machine washable, you want to start by turning it inside out. What good does this do, you ask? It will prevent the colors and design from fading. On top of that, it exposes the sweat to the detergent, which allows for easier washing.

If you want, you can wash your track and field jersey with other clothes; it’s fine as long as you’re not mixing colors. To prevent wear and tear, you might want to put your jersey in a net laundry bag—that will minimize the amount of contact that it has with the rest of the items. A pillowcase works as well.

active detergent for activewear 1

Measure a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and add it to the machine (you can use up to two scoops, depending on the size of your load). Choose a cold wash cycle and wash on a delicate setting. Avoid using hot water as the heat can damage the fibers. Likewise, do not use fabric softeners; these conditioners will coat your jersey in wax-like substance that will prevent it from pulling perspiration to the surface.

Pro-tip: Want to soften cross country jersey? Try using white vinegar instead!

Take out your jersey once the wash cycle is finished. Do not leave it in the machine—that will only cause odors to develop. Once you’ve removed it, hang it up to dry on a clothesline. Avoid placing it under direct sunlight. Do not tumble dry.

Washing Your Cross Country/Track and Field Jersey by Hand

Sometimes, it’s easier to wash your clothes by hand. It’ll save you some money on your energy bill too!

The first step is to fill a basin or sink with water. Plain water won’t do you any good so add a bit of ACTIVE detergent—around one scoop is ideal. Dissolve the powder by agitating the water. Once you’ve done that, plunk your jersey in. The key is to submerge all of the fabric—you can ensure this by gently pressing down on the item. Let it soak for at least 20 minutes.

Swirl the jersey gently in the solution before picking it up. Clean by fabric by kneading it with your hands—the goal is to remove all of the sweat and dirt. When you’re finished, proceed to rinse off the detergent with water. You can put it under the faucet or re-fill the sink with clean water—whatever’s easier for you.

Place the jersey on a clean towel (be careful of the water dripping). Blot some of the excess water off before letting it air dry on a clothesline. Do not tumble dry; the fabric is not meant to be dried with high heat.

Note: You can wash track and field shorts, jackets and pants in the same way.

Washing Instructions for Track and Field Compression Gear

There are many advantages to wearing compression layers. For one thing, it has been shown to prevent injury; it also reduces muscle fatigue. Considering how close-fitting these garments are, however, it’s likely that they will come into contact with your perspiration.

how to wash track and field compression gear

Tossing Your Compression Gear in the Washing Machine

Compression layers are typically made from stretchy fabrics such as spandex, which are machine washable. Similar to the jerseys, you want to turn them inside out before throwing them in the washer. Likewise, it’s a good idea to use a mesh laundry bag—that will prevent the fabric from stretching out, which would hinder its compressing abilities.

Note: Compression gear is typically dark-colored. For this reason, you do not want to mix them with light-colored garments. You can, however, wash them with other dark-colored items.

Measure out a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and add it to the dispenser. Choose a cold water cycle (make sure to use a delicate setting) and press start. Do not use bleach or fabric conditioners.

Remove the gear once the wash cycle is finished. The last thing that you’d want to do is to leave your compression layers in; the moist environment will only lead to odors. Put it on a clothesline and let it air dry. Assuming that they’re made from synthetics, it shouldn’t take that long for the items to dry. Do not tumble dry.

Washing Your Compression Gear by Hand

Start by filling a basin or sink with cold water. Afterward, dissolve a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Put your compression layers in the sink—try not to overload it! Ensure that all of the fabric is submerged by pressing the item down into the water. Let it soak for at least 20 minutes (longer if you feel that it’s necessary).

Pro-tip: For the best results, wash your compression gear by themselves!

Rub the garment gently with your hands to remove body oils and debris. Avoid harsh movements—you do not want to stretch out the fabric. When that’s finished, rinse the detergent off by putting the gear under the faucet (you can also re-fill the sink with water). Transfer it onto a clean towel once there are no more soap suds. Blot off the excess water before letting it line dry. Remember, skip the dryer!

The Best Ways to Clean & Deodorize Your XC & Track and Field Running Shoes

Running shoes can get dirty easily, especially if they’re light-colored. Don’t worry, though, there are a number of ways that you can get them clean again!

cleaning cross country running shoes

Cleaning Your Running Shoes with ACTIVE Detergent

ACTIVE detergent is not only great for clothes, but it can also be used to clean your running shoes. Dissolve a little bit of the powder in a bowl of warm water. Dampen an old toothbrush (or any other soft-bristled brush) with the solution and use it to gently scrub the outside of your shoes. The goal is to remove all visible stains—you might have to go over some areas multiple times. Wipe away the excess detergent with a clean cloth or paper towel (you can wet it with a bit of water) when you’re finished.

Pro-tip: Generally speaking, you want to take the shoelaces off before you start. You can wash them separately in the washer (be sure to put them in a laundry) or in the sink. Likewise, check to see if your insoles are removable; those can also be washed separately.

The sole can be washed similarly. Before you do that, though, it’s a good idea to remove any excess dirt. You can do this by lightly hitting the shoes together. From there, soak the bottom of the sole in a bucket of water. Take it out and scrub it with a brush that’s been dampened with the detergent mixture. Rinse the detergent off with water afterward.

Place your running shoes in a well-ventilated area and allow them to dry. Consider stuffing the inside with newspaper as that will help to get rid of any extra moisture. Do not wear them until they are fully dry.

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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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