Simple hacks to make school uniforms last longer

School uniform name tags

We’re a few months into the school year. How are those uniforms looking?

At Casa Crew Captain, those shiny new threads we got at the beginning of the year are looking a bit worse for wear. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), the Stuck On You labels that I slapped on them have remained intact. Sparkling roses among the stained and tattered thorns.

So what is a busy Crew Captain to do? It’s so expensive to constantly replace uniforms. I’ve attempted to channel my inner Mean Mum and tell the kids that if they decide to graze holes in their pant-knees and spatter purple paint over themselves, then they can dang well wear it for the rest of the year, or learn how to remove stains (on my clothes too, while we’re at it). However, this steely resolve crumbles as soon as we receive the first judgmental stares on the walk of shame.

We’ve come up with the best uniform-preserving hacks that I wish I’d known sooner – but better late than never!

Buy up big!

When shopping for uniforms, it’s best to go up a size. This means that not only will they last longer, they will also offer extra warmth in winter, and extra sun protection in summer. #responsibleparenting

Label the lot!

We’re deep in that time of year when the weather is uncertain. Cool mornings can turn to warm days which can then turn to torrential rain. And repeat.

Stuck On You HQ is situated in a city for which the term “four seasons in one day’ was coined, so we understand the value of labelling those uniform layers. As kids throw their hats around in gleeful abandon and cast their jackets off into the ether (well we assume, given how often they disappear), ensure that these items come back home with your little ones by putting a label on them. We offer the best Iron On Labels as well as our new and fabulous Clothing Stamps.

Follow the care instructions

This one may seem like a no-brainer but even the best of us get lazy at times. It’s tempting to scoff at the tag instructions and assume that the clothing industry is simply in cahoots with the dry cleaning industry (or cold water movement, or Anti-Tumble-Dry Coalition). However, this complacency ultimately punishes the garment, which in turn punishes us when we have to go buy replacements.

Image: Flickr/Vintsprination

Inside out

Not all care instructions will recommend turning the garment inside out before washing, but it’s not a bad way to increase its longevity. This means that any extra friction that takes place in the machine will more directly affect the inside rather than the outside of the shirt.

Similarly, hang the uniforms to dry inside out, and iron them inside out.

In fact, make the kids wear them inside out. (Kidding. This only applies to underpants)

Ain’t no sunshine

Where possible, avoid drying your clothes in direct sunlight for too long, as this weakens fabric and causes colours to fade. This makes uniforms look tatty and increases their vulnerability to wear and tear.

If you’re hanging darker colours out in the sun, it helps to turn them… you guessed it… inside out!

Shake it off!

Save those uniforms from the scourge of after-school snacks and hi-jinks!

Ensure that the kids take off their uniforms as soon as they arrive home as this will help reduce wear and tear as well as the number of times you have to wash the uniforms.

Perform daily baggage checks

Make sure the kids get into the habit of taking uniform pieces such as jumpers and hats out of their bags at the end of the day. This helps stop the pieces from losing their shape and smelling like rotten banana (while you’re at it, remove that rotten banana too).

On a related note, make sure the uniform pieces haven’t been affected by leaky drink bottles or anything else in the bag that would make them go damp. Mould and mildew stains are difficult to remove and can pose health risks too.