If you have a teen athlete, chances are he or she comes home with some nasty stains on his or her uniform the first day of practice. It only takes one slide into home plate or one tackle on the 20-yard line to keep the team outfit from looking like new. Fortunately, parents can take immediate action to remove those stains so that the team colors remain fresh and vibrant.
The most common stain among high school athletes is mud. Some teams play during light rain and others just after the rain has ended. If you spot mud on your teen’s jersey, you’ll want to hang the uniform up to dry. As soon as the mud has dried, take it outside and brush off as much of it as you can. For any remaining stain you’ll need an enzyme detergent. Rub this over the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Place in the wash as you normally would.
The second most common stain found on the clothing of ball players is grass. Grass is a bit harder to remove than mud because of the xanthophylls and carotenoids pigments, but it can be done. First, pour a little isopropyl rubbing alcohol over the grass stain and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Rinse the area with cold water and watch some of the green coloring disappear. Then work a liquid stain remover into the fabric with a soft bristle toothbrush. Give this 15 minutes to do its job before tossing it in the wash with your regular detergent.
There’s always a parent on the sideline providing fruit juice for the players. Sometimes that juice accidentally makes its way onto the sports uniform. First, run the stain under the faucet with the knob set to cold. Try to work as much of the juice out as you can with your fingers. Then mix one-part white vinegar with two-parts water and pour it over the stain. After 10 minutes has passed, rinse the jersey. If any trace of a stain remains, go over it with a stain stick before tossing it in the wash.
Ball players love to chew gum. If it somehow ends up stuck your child’s pants, there’s no need to panic. Gum is actually quite easy to remove. First, place an ice cube over the chewing gum until it becomes hard. You’ll then be able to chip away at it with a butter knife. Remove as much as you can. If any remains, place a piece of newspaper over the gum. Get out your iron and set it to low heat. Iron over the area until the gum attaches itself to the newspaper. Simply toss the newspaper in the trash and you’re all done.
You’ll need something a little more than just your regular detergent to get rid of sweat stains. For this task, add an oxygen product to the wash, like OxiClean. This will safely break up the sweat and brighten the uniform at the same time. As long as you wash the uniform immediately after practice or a game on game day, this is all you need to do.
Injuries happen, which means there are times when blood may end up on your child’s uniform. Immediately run the clothing under a faucet of cold water and see how much blood you can remove just by working the fabric with your fingers. If the jersey is white, pour a little hydrogen peroxide over the blood stain and wait a few minutes. You’ll notice it bubbling, and that just means it’s working. Rinse and wash normally. If the jersey is any other color, cover the stain with a layer of salt and let it sit until it dries. The salt will actually absorb the blood. Brush the salt into the trash can and launder with regular detergent.
Should your teen’s uniform be dirty, but not soiled with a particular stain, you’ll still want to pay attention to how you wash it. Shake each piece off outdoors to remove loose dirt and debris that may be stuck to the clothing. In addition to washing the clothing with your traditional detergent, add either a cup of vinegar or ½ cup of baking soda. These ingredients have the power to remove strong odors, which means your teen will not just look good, but smell good too.
Warning: Do not use bleach to whiten or clean teen uniforms. Most of these type of outfits are made out of polyester, and the bleach will ruin it.