Caring for Different Types of Uniforms
There are many different types of work outfits that people wear on a daily basis around the country. Whether the company or the employees provide their uniforms, someone has to maintain them. A majority of the time this is the employee’s responsibility. This means that the employee must make sure the uniform is washed properly, and that it does not get ruined. The one way to determine how to care for a uniform is by the material from which each item is made, and what the tags say. There are many different fabrics that can make up a uniform.
- Cotton dress shirts take a little time to be properly washed if you opt to do it yourself rather than have them dry-cleaned. Before washing cotton shirts, you should pretreat all stains and use a little dish soap on any grease stains. Then unbutton all buttons and remove collar stays before putting them in the washing machine. Lightweight dress shirts should be washed on delicate, but heavier cotton shirts can go into a regular cycle. Wash whites in hot water and darks in cold. After washing, hang the shirts and iron when dry.
- Twill is another very common material found in work uniforms. Sometimes it is cotton, but it can contain other types of fabric woven in. Some forms of twill, like denim, can go for long periods without washing. However, you must let the material sit for at least 24 hours between uses. This helps keep the material from gathering too much dirt and sweat. Before washing, you can brush the twill (never do this for nylon or rayon twill). This removes dirt and makes the material look better. Pretreat any stains and wash as normal in a normal cycle unless the fabric is delicate.
- Wool uniform sweaters and jackets require specialized care. You should use a fabric brush to keep the material looking fresh and to remove dirt. Treat stains on the material right away to avoid permanent damage. Wash in a gentle cycle in the washing machine and lay flat to dry. Wool needs to be reshaped after washing, which is why you cannot put it in the dryer. Store it in an airtight bag or garment bag.
- Polyester shirts and pants can be washed in the washing machine. Use the permanent press cycle and dry on low heat. You have to remove the material from the dryer right away, or wrinkles will form and not want to come out. To avoid static, you can add some softener to the wash cycle.
- If your work uniform contains Nylon, you can wash it, but use cold water. You should not wash it with other types of fabric, and you should separate the lights and darks. This material can go into the dryer, but it should be set at the lowest heat setting. Rather than using the dryer, you can just hang up Nylon clothes and let them drip dry. If you iron, do it on the coolest setting. To avoid piling, it is best to hand wash Nylon.
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