How to remove chewing gum, the rule of three and get your kids stitching – top tips for caring for school uniforms

Written by A Guest Blogger

by Moa Hoijer

We’d all love our children to be trotting off to school every morning looking immaculate, but the reality is that their uniforms really go through it – from splashes of everything at breakfast, to paint and playdough during lessons, and lots of rough and tumble during playtime – and they usually come home (or sometimes even arrive at school!!) looking like they have been dragged through a bush.

To help you minimise the damage, here are our top tips on uniform care, covering everything from how to remove chewing gum from clothes to what do with tiny tears.

How to remove chewing gum from clothes
Even if your charges don’t chew gum they are bound to come into contact with sticky old chewing gum under desks and chairs. Sometimes these can get stuck to the uniform and become a nightmare to get off. Never fear: you can remove chewing gum from clothes in a few different ways, including putting it in the freezer and soaking off; have a look here for a thorough how-to guide.

Mud and grass stains: what to do
Mud and grass stains are very common on school uniforms and a sign that your child has enjoyed their day! To remove, simply apply a dab of detergent directly onto the offending area and leave for a few minutes. Rinse out, then pop the item in the washing machine on the setting recommended for the fabric.

To iron or not to iron? That is the question
To keep looking completely fresh and clean, some uniforms need to be ironed and this can be quite the chore. You could try to avoid this by taking the item direct from the tumble dryer as soon as it’s finished and folding immediately. This helps to avoid creases. Likewise, simply hanging uniforms up at the end of the day can prevent creases forming and means they can be re-worn if clean enough for a second day. If you do need to iron, try to do them all in one big load to save you having to put the ironing board up and down the whole time. Many department stores stock non-iron school shirts, which are made from a polyester and cotton blend and crease less easily.

Small tears? Get darning
If you’ve noticed tears in children’s uniforms, this may be a good time to teach them to sew. As long as they are mature enough to work with needles and have adequate supervision, this is a useful skill and will set them up well for later life. Having a small tear in an item of clothing doesn’t mean you need to throw it away. Once kids know how to sew holes up, they can do this whenever it occurs. Jumper sleeves are particularly prone to ripping. These can be folded over and stitched for an almost-as-good-as-new look. If you’re short on time or your kids are too young to repair things themselves, many dry cleaners also offer a repairs service.

Hairs and fluff – a quick yet effective approach

Fluff on dark uniforms is a nightmare and can really affect the overall look, likewise animal hair. Get each of the children a sticky roller and teach them to remove the fluff or hairs regularly. Fluff can also affect school shoes if it gets caught in Velcro straps so be sure to check these as well before you leave the house.

Shirt care
Many school uniforms involve white shirts, one item that’s particularly difficult to keep looking new. The trick with shirts is to know when to admit defeat. Get out all the stains you can with a good quality detergent, but when the shirt starts to look grubby round the edges or its hems are fraying, it’s time to take it to a textile recycling station and buy something new (there are lots of sales of second hand uniforms, check at your school for when you might be able to nab yourself a pre-loved bargain).

The rule of 3
Follow our tips and live by the rule of three (one to wash, one to wear and one spare), and you’re unlikely to go too wrong. Most importantly, get kids involved in the upkeep process – this will teach them about responsibility as well as giving them important practical skills.