5 Tips for How to Wash Sports Jerseys


Whether watching your child participate, suiting up yourself, or donning gear representing your favorite sporting hero, presentability is important when it comes to athletics. Below are five tips on how to wash sports jerseys so you or your child can look the part.


1. Turn Jerseys Inside Out Before Washing

“The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.” Perhaps you or your child have heard that old adage before. Well, when it comes to washing grimy football pants, pads, and dusty baseball jerseys, it’s best to neglect that phrase entirely. That’s because you should always turn jerseys inside out before washing.


Flipping clothing inside out makes it easier to wash out oil or sweat that might permeate the surface of a beloved baseball, basketball or football jersey. Additionally, the approach preserves the integrity of the stitching when it comes to lettering and numbers. This can also prevent the patches on the jerseys from rubbing against other articles of clothing.


Make sure to separate lights and darks before throwing jerseys into the washing machine. Doing so will help prevent potential color bleeding issues, which can take away from the look and vibrance of a jersey.


Unbutton any baseball jerseys to mitigate the chance of them breaking. Also, remove the laces on hockey jerseys and wash them separately in a mesh laundry bag to help avoid entanglement. If you don’t have a mesh bag, you can try using a knotted pillowcase.


2. Use Cool Water and a Low-Spin Cycle

how to remove dirt stains from sports uniform


Colors, logos and decals define sports jerseys and give them their character. It’s imperative to preserve those elements. It’s equally important to choose the right wash cycle to help uniforms keep their size and shape. After all, you don’t want your basketball shorts to shrink and suddenly look like they belong in the 1980s.


Although there isn’t necessarily uniformity across all sports—more on this later—you should typically wash jerseys in cold water and on a low-spin cycle. Doing so helps prevent your jersey from fading, shrinking, or losing its shape. Moreover, cold water and a delicate cycle help limit potential damage to letters or numbers on the jersey.


3. Choose an Odor-Fighting Detergent


While it’s key to maintain the look of a sports jersey, it’s also critical to remove stains and have them smelling fresh. Sports like football and soccer are played in all weather conditions. Knee and shin pads get dirtied and sometimes muddy, and full jerseys often need an immediate and thorough wash to eliminate the grime and reduce odors.


In order to combat the potential pitfalls of taking the soccer field in a torrential downpour or baseball jerseys getting caked in dirt after a doubleheader, you need a strong detergent. To help rid your sports jerseys of stains and smells, try ARM & HAMMER Plus OxiClean Odor Blasters, Fresh Burst. This liquid detergent has 2X powerful stain fighters in every drop vs. leading bargain detergents. It has triple-power action, with odor blasters that target body and towel odors as well as sweat. Plus, it’s formulated to work with cold water loads and can be used in both standard and High Efficiency (HE) machines.


You might also want to consider pairing your favorite detergent with ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda, especially when washing a larger load of jerseys. Adding a scoop of this laundry booster helps improve detergent performance by up to 15% for stains like mustard and blood (vs. leading value detergent alone).


White vinegar is another option for removing odors from sports uniforms. The acid in white vinegar has a certain star quality in its ability to fight odors. Adding a quarter cup of vinegar to the bleach dispenser will help to neutralize odors without a lingering vinegar smell.


For even more odor-eliminating power, add ARM & HAMMER Fresh Burst with Odor Blasters Scent Boosters to a load of sports jerseys to power out tough odors and deliver a burst of freshness to your laundry.


4. Skip the Fabric Softener

Basket full of laundry


Fabric softener might seem like an ideal tool to help reduce wrinkles and keep your sports jersey feeling less coarse and more wearable. However, when washing sports uniforms, it’s best to avoid fabric softener entirely.


Fabric softener lessens the ability of athleisure and sportswear—in this case, your jerseys—to absorb and wick away sweat. If you don’t want your jersey to smell the same post-wash as it did immediately following the game, then skip the fabric softener in the washer.


5. Avoid the Dryer

The process of helping your cheer uniform or favorite jersey look good all season does not end after the wash cycle is complete. It’s important to remember that jerseys should not be thrown into the dryer.


Just as warm water can harm the design and shape of jerseys, heat and friction from the dryer can cause peeling or cracking of the lettering and numbers. This might not happen after one cycle, but it can build up over time. Thus, it’s unwise to toss jerseys into the dryer over the course of a season or after each use.


After removing your jerseys from the wash, turn them right side out and shake them off. Hang them on plastic or wooden hangers before air drying or lay them flat on a towel or drying rack.


Bonus: Tips for Getting Baseball or Football Pants White Again

Dirt collected on the diamond can add up. So too can grass stains from the gridiron. How might one best combat these stains and get baseball and football pants white again? Here’s where white vinegar looms large.


Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar together with a tablespoon of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda, then apply the mix to the grass or dirt stains and allow it to soak for up to 30 minutes. If the stains persist, try making a paste of vinegar and ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda and using a toothbrush to apply the blend to the spots in question before washing.


How Do I Wash Padded Jerseys or Knee Pads?

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that it’s best to wash jerseys in cold water. However, certain exceptions should be made when it comes to washing padded pants and knee pads.


For a padded jersey—like football—be sure to remove the pads first. Shoulder pads should be treated with the stain treatment measure mentioned in the section above, then washed in warm water on a gentle cycle. To wash knee pads from football, volleyball or hockey, put them in a mesh laundry bag to help them avoid damage in the machine.


For soccer gear, wash jerseys as you would above, then scrape shin guards with a toothbrush and soapy water or a combination of water, vinegar and baking soda.


Try some of these detergents to help eliminate the sweat and odors from your favorite sports jersey

ARM & HAMMER offers several options to suit your jersey-washing needs. Check out some of the following products:



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