Loving Your Uniform… Washing Symbols Explained

Every industry has a uniform, such as a suit, overalls, an apron, or a polo shirt. Uniforms are garments regularly worn, if not daily, making it essential to know how to take care of your uniform appropriately to ensure that it lasts to its fullest potential.

Not only do your uniform pieces need to last, but they need to keep looking fresh and like new to continue representing your brand to the highest standard, whether that be the brand of the company you work for or your own personal 'brand.' Make sure you show your uniform the love it deserves with our below tips to look after your clothes.

Nearly all garments now contain care labels with advice on the most effective ways to look after clothes to ensure that they last, but the meanings of the symbols are still not widely communicated or understood. Unfortunately, clothes and uniforms, in particular, do not always last as long as they should. To help with this, we have compiled guidelines for getting the most out of your uniform with a symbol-by-symbol explanation of laundry labels.


Is There Anything I Should Know Before Washing my Uniform?

When washing uniforms, we advise washing shirts, tops, and polo shirts after each wear to limit the damage that perspiration can cause to fabrics. Most other garments do not need cleaning after each wash unless they are visibly stained. Washing items after each wear can damage the shelf life of the garment as it can subject it to unnecessary wear and tear.

Always separate lights from darks to prevent color bleeding, and if possible, divide by fabric type. With all garments, we recommend fastening the garments in whatever way necessary to avoid stretching and to protect the rest of your laundry, as open zips can be pretty damaging to other clothes. It is then a good idea to turn the clothing inside out to ensure that they hold their color and wash clothes on a colder cycle to prevent fading.

Most garments, including suiting, are machine washable, meaning the need to dry clean is limited. This is beneficial for the shelf life of your uniform as the strong chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can affect that, and dry cleaning can be expensive.


What About Drying It?

When drying your clothes, it is advisable to air dry them rather than use a tumble dryer, as it is gentler on clothing and can also prevent shrinking. Once dry, you are better to steam your clothes rather than iron them as it is less damaging. Invest in a steamer or a less costly alternative; it can work just as well to hang the garments you want to remove creases from in the bathroom while you have a hot shower.


What is the Best Way to Store my Garments?

When storing your uniform, lighter fabrics, or those more liable to creasing, should be hung up in your closet on suitable quality hangers – either wooden or velvet. Plastic or wire options tend to be weak and do not support the shaping of the garments.

However, try not to hang too much in your wardrobe, or this will lead to creasing if your clothes are packed too closely together. Instead, fold heavier items such as knitwear and denim and store them on shelves or in drawers so that they keep their shape for longer.

While this advice has been formed based on research, these are guidelines only. You should always follow your garments' specific wash care instructions to care for them properly and make them last as long as possible.