Most schools have a strict dress code that requires students to wear school uniforms. While some parents may see this as an added expense, school uniforms can save money in the long run. A good quality school uniform should last longer than one school year, with proper care.

While uniforms are designed to be durable and last a long time, kids are not always the most gentle with their clothing. If you want your child’s school uniform to last longer, follow our 6 great care tips:

1.Use Name Tags  

One way to make school uniforms last longer is to use name tags. This will help identify the owner of the uniform in case it gets lost or misplaced. It may be inconvenient, but it's well worth the effort to stitch on name tags or use the iron-on version.  You can always add a few stitches to the iron-on ones if you wish for peace of mind.  Name tags can also be a helpful way for teachers to keep track of students in their classes.

colorful children's name tags

2. Blitz Stains 

Another way to make school uniforms last longer is to blitz stains immediately. Kids sometimes return home coated in a variety of stains. Stains are more likely to set in and become permanent over time and the best approach to cleaning these without causing further damage to the uniform is to take immediate action and treat them as soon as possible.

You can also search for stain-resistant trousers and skirts, which are sealed with a distinctive coating to prevent stains.  Look for the term ‘Teflon’ coated on Sturdy Kids to find trousers with this extra stain protection.

How to remove tough and common school uniform stains:

  • Grass Stains

  1. Put the dirty stained school uniform in a basin.
  2. Coat the stains with white vinegar, rub them in, and let them soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Take out from the bowl and wring out before laying on a surface.
  4. Put a tiny bit of baking soda in a small container then continue adding vinegar until you reach a thick mixture.
  5. Use the mixture right away as it easily hardens.
  6. Apply the paste to any persistent stains and use a toothbrush to rub it and then wash it like usual.
  • Ink Biro Pen

  1. Lay the stained surface on a worktop.
  2. Make sure you mist it thoroughly with hairspray and open some windows to allow the smell out.
  3. Gently blot the stains with a moist towel.
  4. Keep in mind that rubbing it will only make it worse.
  5. Repeat as needed until the stains have disappeared.
  6. Mist with hairspray once more, then cleanse as usual.
  • Chewing Gum

  1. Position the clothing piece in a ziplock bag and be careful not to let the gum adhere to the bag. This process can be used on any cloth.
  2. Put the ziplock bag with the clothes in the freezer to keep it cool.
  3. Take the clothes out of the bag and position it on a flat sturdy surface then leave the ziplock bag in the freezer for at least two hours. 
  4. To avoid the gum from warming up and resealing to the cloth, scrape it off the garment as quickly as possible.
  5. If you can't get the gum out with your nails, use a knife to get the gum out of your garments without ruining the fabric — be careful when working with potentially harmful objects and keep knives pointed away from you.
  6. The gum should come off easily and without pressure. If traces remain, make sure to wash the garment or put it through a rinse in the washing machine.
  • Mud stains 

  1. Allow the mud to completely dry before flaking or scraping off as much as possible.
  2. Prepare a mixture and use Washing Powder to pre-treat the stains and let it soak for around 10 minutes.
  3. Allow at least an hour for thicker stains, then rub the Washing Powder on both sides of the stains with a brush.
  4. Before drying, rinse the garment with warm water and inspect it. Any remaining mud will be set by the heat, so repeat steps 1-3 if needed.

How to clean paint stains: 

  • Water-Based Paint:

  1. Start by gently scraping away any excess paint with a blunt knife.
  2. Soak the garment in cool water for 30 minutes.
  3. If the stain persists, mix one-part white vinegar with two parts water and soak for another 30 minutes.
  4. If the stain is still there, apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid directly to the stain. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing with cool water. If necessary, repeat this process until the stain is gone.
  • Oil-Based Paint:

Note: Oil-based paint is more difficult to cope with and it is best kept out of the reach of children.

  1. Start by gently scraping away as much paint as possible with a blunt knife or spoon.
  2. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the back of the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. This will help to loosen the paint.
  3. Gently rub the petroleum jelly into the stain with a damp cloth.
  4. Soak the garment in cool water for 30 minutes.
  5. If the stain persists, mix one-part white vinegar with two parts water and soak for another 30 minutes.
  6. If the stain is still there, apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid directly to the stain. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing with cool water. If necessary, repeat this process until the stain is gone.

3. Change It Up 

Consider this scenario: your kid comes home from school in a clean and tidy uniform, only to then be coated in crumbs while watching the tv. You don't have to wait until they're a total mess to put their school clothes in the wash. 

This may be prevented by teaching and encouraging them to remove their uniform and get change as soon as they get home from school and then hang it up instead of just dumping it somewhere.

It's best to wash school uniforms as soon as possible after they've been worn. This will help to prevent any stains from setting in and make the fabric harder to clean.

If you're short on time, you can always pop school uniforms in the washing machine on a quick cycle. Just be sure to check the care labels first and use a detergent that's designed for quick washes.

4. Wash Effectively 

Wash school uniforms as soon as possible to prevent the stains from setting in and becoming permanent. Be sure to check the clothing labels for washing instructions. Many school garments can be machine-washed and tumble-dried, but some will require hand-washing or dry cleaning.

Pre-treat any areas that are heavily soiled before putting them in the machine. For best results, use a high-quality detergent and fabric softener.

Be sure to wash school uniforms separately from other clothing items to avoid colour bleeding.

5. Hang It Up

Hanging school uniforms up as soon as they have been washed and air dried will help to keep them looking their best for longer. After washing, it is important that you hang school uniforms up to dry instead of tumble drying them. The heat from the tumble dryer can cause the fabric to shrink and the colours may fade over time.

If you must use a tumble dryer, select a cool setting and remove the garments as soon as the cycle is finished. Give them a quick shake before hanging them up to prevent wrinkles.

Don't forget to iron them up as it'll help to keep them looking neat and tidy. Ironing school uniforms is also important in order to keep them looking presentable. Use a medium-hot iron and be sure not to miss any areas, especially around the seams.

For hanging them up, use hangers that are the correct size for the garment. Wire hangers can leave marks on the fabric. Hang shirts by the shoulders and skirts and trousers by the waistband. Avoid hanging delicate items in direct sunlight as this can cause fading.

school uniform and schoolbag hanging on hook

6. Remember the P.E Kit!

Mold can build and odours can be hard to eradicate if a soaked P.E uniform is left in a gym bag for longer than usual.

If the P.E kit is already in a bit of disarray, immediately soak for an hour in a mixture of white vinegar and water, based on the kind of cloth and colours, and then rinse as advised. Use a gentle cleaning solution for whites. Place shoes in a laundry bag with soap and a cup of white vinegar in the washing machine. Wrap with newspapers and hang to dry in direct sunlight.

P.E kits need to be washed separately from school uniforms as they will often be very dirty. It should also be washed on a hot cycle to kill any bacteria that may be present. It is important to wash P.E kits after every use to prevent the spread of germs and infections as they can also harbour bacteria, so be sure to empty them out and give them a good wash too!

Sturdy Kids Concludes

School uniforms can easily become stained and dirty, by following the tips above, school uniforms can last much longer. It is important to take care of them and to be proactive in treating and cleaning them as soon as they occur. With a little bit of care and effort, school uniforms can be kept looking neater, cleaner, and can last much longer than a school year. So, next time your child's uniform is looking a bit worse for wear, don't reach for the school-issued spare - give it a new lease of life with these simple tips.