Workwear care and cleaning
Working hard means all sorts of icky bits can get trapped in your gear. But getting workwear squeaky clean doesn't require a science degree - it's often as simple as following the care label.
It is pretty important to read the care instructions stitched on the label inside your gear because workwear fabrics are often built with extra tech for performance, hi-visibility and weather protection - so it might need to be washed a little differently to your casual clothes.
It's also best to get those stains in suds as quick as possible - dirt, oil, grease and sweat is so much harder to remove the longer it's left. And while our shelves are stocked with high quality workwear, even the premium stuff will wear out early if it's not given some good old fashion TLC.
Change it up
Hit home and swap into your comfies - you’ve earnt it. Taking off work gear immediately helps stop the spread of grime and germs.
Sort it out
Wash workwear and casual clothes separately to stop stain transfer. Run your hi-vis through its own cycle - dyes from other clothing can affect the fabric visibility.
It's all in the prep
Check your gear for pocket treasure, close all zips, secure velcro, undo any buttons and turn inside out to help reduce abrasion or damage in the machine.
Always read the labels in your workwear, and wash as advised. Taking short-cuts may lead to clothes shrinking, stretching or worse.
Be mild mannered
Add a mild, biodegradable detergent to your work load - detergents with bleach/soap can damage stuff, especially hi-vis gear. Also choose a liquid, as powders can be abrasive if they don’t dissolve properly.
Skip the softener
Say no to softener, which can contain brighteners and soap. The hazardous chemicals and soap fat residue left by softeners can damage materials like hi-vis, moisture wicking fabrics, or rainwear with a membrane.
Again, follow the advice on the garment label for best-practise. Hi vis says no to the intense heat of a tumble dryer, as does most other work gear. It’s usually best to hang gear in a dry place away from direct sunlight.
Not a fan of ironing? Heck no! The shortcut - hang out your gear as soon as the wash is done. This helps prevent a bunch of creasing. If it still needs a quick iron when dry, check the label for ironing specs first.
To keep our ultra comfy socks in pristine performance (ie all that moisture wicking, thermoregulating natural goodness), always turn them inside out and wash in warm water with a mild, non-bleach detergent. Skip the softener, as most have pretty hectic chemicals.
While bamboo does take a smidge longer to air dry on a line (out of direct sunlight), never be tempted to throw them in the dryer or iron them. You’ll be sad coz bad things might happen.
Yup, we're sneaking in a little sales pitch because these socks are just soooo good. They sell like hotcakes because bamboo is the best buddy for your feet. It has natural super-powers to keep smells at bay, sweat wicked away plus a cosiness factor of 100%. Bamboo also does this thing where it keeps your feet warm when it's cold, and vice versa. Very smart socks indeed!
And now we return to regular programming...
CARE TIPS - Wet gear
Waterproof workwear requires a bit of extra care to protect membranes and coatings. And it’s all a bit different depending on the individual garment - some waterproof gear will need to be re-treated every few months, while some rainwear must be tumble dried or ironed to renew the water-repelling goodness. Always check the label, or if in doubt, hit the brand’s website.
CARE TIPS - Hi vis
Gear with reflective properties will have a manufacturers recommendation for the maximum number of washes. Any more can mean your hi-vis, is sometimes-vis. So it’s good to keep a tally of how many times you’ve laundered each piece.
It's always hard to say goodbye to your trusted gear, coz after a billion wears it usually fits like a seconds skin. But it's ultra important to retire gear when it's no longer protective or safe.
And your gear can still do good in the world - check out your options for recycling, upcycling or repurposing. Your workplace might have a recycled gear collection program already in place? If it doesn’t, perhaps you can start one? There's a really cool Australian initiative by Worn Up - they can provide 3 different sized pods to your workplace for bulk old gear collection. It's then reworked into acoustic tiles, furniture and other cool stuff!
Another great tip is to tear old gear into handy rags - for yourself, or your mechanic. Or maybe your local animal shelter needs old fabrics for animal bedding. Awww, cute!