If you love rugby, your favourite rugby jersey will always be one of your prized possessions - but that doesn't mean that you'll always be able to keep it in pristine condition. In fact, if you've worn your kit in a game, you'll know that it can end up covered in dirt even when you manage to stay on your feet.
As such, it's important to pay close attention to the washing instructions for your rugby shirt, in order to keep your gear looking clean and fresh without any risk of accidentally damaging it in the wash cycle.
Here, the sportswear experts at TOFFS - one of the UK's top manufacturers of retro rugby shirts - will run you through everything you need to know when washing your rugby jersey.
The standard washing process for rugby shirts
Although washing instructions will differ between shirts because of factors like the materials from which they are made, the basic process of cleaning a rugby shirt will be largely the same:
- A dirty sports kit will need a pre-soak before it can go in the washing machine. Fill a basin with some warm water and let the shirt soak in it for a couple of hours, in order to remove as much mud as possible.
- Before placing your shirt in the washing machine, check what material it is made of. Depending on whether it is made of polyester, cotton or nylon, you may need to use a different wash cycle or strength of laundry detergent.
- Turn the shirt inside out before washing it, in order to minimise the risk of damage to logos and printed detailing.
- After the shirt has been through the wash, hang it up to air-dry it. If you use a tumble dryer at a high temperature, there is a risk of shrinkage - especially if the shirt is made of cotton
Alternatively, you may prefer hand-washing the shirt in the sink with half a cup of detergent, scrubbing any stains out with your hands or a damp cloth. This will naturally take longer, but it can be a good option if you are worried about your shirt being damaged during the wash!
How to remove stubborn stains
Because of the rough-and-tumble nature of rugby, your sports kit will always be at risk of picking up a stubborn stain that cannot be easily removed during the main wash. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help to remove even the toughest stains:
- Grass stains - removing grass stains from your rugby gear is an essential part of proper care - especially if you're wearing an all-white England jersey! Simply rub a stain remover directly onto the grass stain, let it sit for at least 10 minutes and up to half an hour, and then scrub and rinse it in cold water. Many different kinds of stain remover will do the job, including regular laundry detergent and diluted white vinegar. You might also try rubbing a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda directly on to the shirt. This is a pre-wash process, and should be done before putting the shirt in the main wash.
- Blood stains - it's not unusual to sustain cuts during rugby, so if your shirt has a bloody patch on it after the game, you must be sure to wash the shirt in cold water to remove the stain. Washing a blood stain with hot water runs the risk of leaving a yellow or brownish mark behind, which will be much harder to clean.
Other tips for washing rugby shirts
To make sure your rugby shirt remains in excellent condition even after multiple washes, bear the following advice in mind:
- Steer clear of using chlorine bleach on your dirty sports kit, even if you are faced with stubborn stains. Chlorine bleach can cause the shirt to wear out faster, fading the colours and weakening the fabric over time.
- Do not add fabric softener when cleaning a dirty sports kit, as this can also damage the fabric and will leave a waxy layer on the surface.
- Make sure to check the specific laundry instructions printed on the care label of your gear in order to make sure you clean it at the right temperature using the right products. Choosing the wrong spin cycle, or an excessively heavy-duty detergent, can also have a negative effect on the long-term condition of the shirt.
If you're looking for a new rugby shirt to add to your collection, browse TOFFS' range of retro rugby shirts. We sell high-quality replicas inspired by the world's greatest international sides, including England, Scotland, Wales and the British & Irish Lions!