Skip links

How to Wash Your Football Jersey & Avoid Common Mistakes

If you’re like me, your football jersey isn’t just a piece of clothing—it’s a badge of honor. It’s seen you through countless games, cheered victories, and consoled defeats. But with all that action, it’s bound to get a little dirty. So, how do you keep it looking sharp and smelling fresh?

Understanding the Fabric of Your Football Jersey

Grasping the material of the football jersey serves as the first step. Most jerseys place a premium on durability and breathability, featuring a specific blend of polyester. This fabric, known for its strength and durability, puts up admirably against the typical physicality of football games. However, it can trap sweat, dirt, and grime deep into its fibers if not adequately cared for.

Although less common, several other jerseys utilize mesh fabric. Noted for its unique net-like appearance, it’s more breathable than polyester. Yet, it’s not immune to dirt, sweat, or grime.

Cotton, once a preferred choice, needs more use in modern jerseys. Its comfort and ease of care gave it initial popularity, but its lack of breathability required to withstand the evolving sports dynamics.

Here’s a quick breakdown of familiar football jersey materials:

  1. Polyester: These jerseys bring durability to the forefront, making them withstand the rigors of the sport. Yet, dirt and grime trap easily in the polyester fiber network.
  2. Mesh: It provides a breathable alternative to polyester. However, it is also susceptible to dirt and grime.
  3. Cotton: Its natural comfort and simplicity once made it a popular choice. However, the lack of breathability sidelined its frequent use in modern times.

Understanding the material composition of your treasured football jersey is crucial in determining its upkeep process. In the following sections, let’s delve into the primary steps to maintaining our football jerseys.

Gathering Your Football Jersey Washing Essentials

Transitioning from fabric insights, let’s delve into the essential requirements for washing football jerseys. The process is simple, but mistakes can stain your memories and the jersey, so careful planning is crucial. Here’s a rundown of the essential items you’ll need to gather.

1. Mild Detergent: Choose a mild, color-safe detergent. It’s gentle enough not to harm the fabric but compelling enough to clean it. Avoid detergents that contain bleach, as while they remove stubborn stains, they also risk color fading.

2. Stain Remover: Are you stuck with grass stains or mud on your football jersey? A good stain remover proves indispensable. Examples include products like Resolve or Shout. Aim for a gentle, color-safe formula to reduce fabric stress.

3. Cold Water: For washing, cold water is your best bet. It helps to maintain the vibrant colors of your jersey, and unlike hot water, it won’t cause any shrinkage.

4. Washing Machine or Wash Tub: While washing machines make things easier, it’s not always the safest option. If you’re concerned about potential fabric damage, a wash tub provides a gentle alternative. You can control the washing process more closely and avoid harsh machine cycles.

5. Wash Bag (Optional): Adding a wash bag to your essentials might be wise. It is a protective barrier in the washing machine, preventing snagging and reducing friction. Mesh bags serve as perfect examples.

6. White Vinegar (Optional): A little white vinegar in your washing solution can work wonders. It displaces odor-causing bacteria and helps preserve colors. But remember, use a small quantity, about half a cup to a full cup, depending on the garment’s size.

Armed with these essentials, you’re now ready to start washing your football jersey. In the following sections, I’ll guide you through these steps, ensuring your cherished sportswear remains as bright and clean as your fond football experiences.

Step by Step Guide on How to Wash Football Jerseys

Cleaning football jerseys isn’t a guessing game. With the proper techniques, anyone can take pride in preserving and caring for their jerseys.

  1. The first step involves gathering the necessary supplies. It’s no surprise, mild detergent is handy here, as it’s less damaging to the jersey’s fabric. Similarly, a stain remover for those stubborn game-day stains and a wash bag to protect the jersey from harsh washer movements are essential.
  2. Washing begins with a pre-soak. A 30-minute soak in cold water helps loosen the dirt and grime. Remember, cold water can help prevent color bleed and shrinkage that hot water may cause.
  3. Before placing the jersey in the wash bag, it’s wise to apply stain remover to any evident stains — remember the extra messy BBQ sauce from halftime? Now’s the time to tackle it!
  4. Use the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. Trust me, your jersey prefers a gentle, slow tumble over a fast and rough spin any day.
  5. Add a mild detergent to the washer, but avoid bleach or any detergents containing bleach. Despite common misconceptions, bleach can seriously compromise the vibrant color of your jersey.
  6. Once the cycle ends, resist the urge to wring out your jersey. Instead, lay it flat right out of the machine to dry. The weight of the water can stretch the fabric if it’s hung to dry.

This method prioritizes the preservation of the color and fabric integrity of the jersey, ensuring that it looks fresh game after game. The next time someone sees you in your clean jersey, they’ll know you’re a fan of the game and a steward of your cherished memorabilia.

How to Dry Football Jerseys After Washing

Once I’ve completed washing my football jersey, my attention shifts to drying it. Drying the football jersey is a crucial step that demands equal diligence as cleaning it, as inconvenient practices can distort its shape, color, and fabric strength.

First, I ensure the jersey is rinsed well, especially after using a mild detergent and stain remover during the wash stage. I pay extra attention, confirming there’s no soap residue left on it, as it avoids any potential damage during the drying phase. Rinsing twice proves a helpful strategy in my experience.

Next, I avoid wringing out the jersey, as unnecessary force can damage the fabric and color-print. Instead, I gently squeeze the jersey to remove excess water, taking care not to twist or deform it. After that, I lay the damp jersey on a clean, flat towel, smooth out any wrinkles, and roll the towel up to absorb additional water.

Air drying remains the gentlest and safest method for drying football jerseys. It preserves the fabric integrity and color vibrancy, avoiding the risky exposure to direct sunlight that can lead to fading. Having that knowledge in mind, I place my jersey flat on a new, dry towel or a drying rack indoors, allowing it to dry naturally.

While a clothes dryer may seem like a convenient option, I steer clear of it, as the heat can damage the fabric and even cause the numbers and names on the jersey to crack or peel off. The same goes for ironing, which is a definite no-no for me.

Lastly, I ensure my jersey is completely dry before storing it away, as even a slight hint of dampness can invite mold and mildew growth, negatively affecting the jersey’s longevity.

By adhering to these drying strategies, I retain the jersey’s pristine look and extend its usability, game after game. These gestures of care can turn my treasured football jerseys into cherished keepsakes, with authentic game-day feels enduring season after season.

Post-Wash Care for Your Football Jersey

Post-wash care forms the crux of maintaining the longevity and vibrancy of your favorite football jersey. It’s not only about how you wash it but also how you tower over its care afterward. Having covered washing and drying basics, let’s delve deeper into post-wash care strategies.

Firstly, storing jerseys correctly plays a make-or-break role in preserving their condition. Always store jerseys flat or hang them. Find a dark, dry place for flat storage and loosely fold your jersey before storing it. If hanging, use sturdy, padded hangers to prevent stretching or fabric warping that thin wire hangers can sometimes cause.

Secondly, safeguard your jersey from moth damage. Consider keeping it in a breathable garment bag, a clear sign of protection against pesky moths. Additionally, you can use cedar chips or mothballs, but do not let them directly touch the fabric, lest they leave stubborn stains.
Thirdly, limit exposure to sunlight when displaying your football jersey. While it might appear resplendent basked in sunlight, direct sunlight can significantly fade colors and weaken thread fibers. Display it in a shadow box with low or indirect light in a room.

Furthermore, avoid folding your jerseys in different styles and places. Habitual folding and unfolding or moving around can cause unnecessary strain on the fabric, potentially causing wear and tear. Choose a storage mode and stick to it.

Finally, periodic cleaning helps maintain the jersey’s fresh look. Even if the jersey appears clean, unseen sweat, body oils, and skin cells can accumulate over time and diminish the jersey’s glow. A routine cleaning, at least once a season, will do wonders to keep your jersey neat, according to Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice question board.

These simple yet highly effective post-wash care strategies can help you keep your beloved football jersey in the best possible condition for the next season and, hopefully, for many seasons.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Washing Football Jerseys

In my journey to guide you on keeping your football jerseys in top shape, I’ve encountered numerous common mistakes individuals make when washing these valued items. Skipping pre-soak steps, rallying on frequent maximized spin cycles, relying on bleach, ignoring the distinct fabrics, and heat drying are monumental blunders that can lead to dull colors, stretched jerseys, and even warped logos. Significantly, it’s important to remember every part of the process matters. Avoid these pitfalls; your cherished jerseys can retain their vibrancy and be fit for many more games.

  1. Skipping Pre-soak: Jerseys respond negatively to aggressive wash cycles. Remember, they contain grass, dirt, and sometimes even blood stains. So, to prevent hardened stains from lingering post-wash, it is fundamental to dip them into cold water before the actual cleaning process starts. Soaking loosens the dirt and makes subsequent washing more effective.
  2. Maximizing Spin Cycles: Gentle wash cycles are the norm for football jerseys. Take your time and opt for the aggressive spin settings. You could end up stretching out your jersey or distorting its shape.
  3. Using Bleach: It’s a misconception that bleach can restore the gleaming white of your jersey. Bleach can weaken the fabric, and over time, white sections of your jersey could eventually turn an unsightly yellow.
  4. Ignoring fabric composition: Your jersey’s polyester, mesh, or cotton fabric dictates the washing method. Ignoring these fine details can result in shrinking, color fading, or damage to your jersey.
  5. Heat Drying: While it may seem quick and convenient, heat drying can shrink your jersey’s polyester fabric. Always opt for air drying—laying your jersey flat or hanging it up will ensure it retains its shape and size.

Keep these common mistakes away from your jersey care routine, and you can anticipate a jersey that lives on through seasons, countless games, and precious memories.


So, there you have it – washing your football jersey can be a manageable task. You can keep your prized possession looking fresh and vibrant with careful attention to the jersey’s fabric and key essentials like mild detergent, stain remover, and a wash bag. Remember, it’s all about the pre-soak, gentle wash cycle, and air-drying flat. Avoiding mistakes like bleach or heat drying can save your jersey from damage like dull colors and warped logos. With this guide, you’re now well-equipped to confidently tackle jersey washing. Here’s to many more games with your cherished jersey, which looks as good as new!

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!