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Choose a detergent

First and foremost, I need to tell you- DO NOT USE BLEACH!!! Bleach will break down the integrity of the cotton and weaken it to the point of ripping very easily. If properly cared for, your uniform could hold up for years, but if you wash it with bleach, it will only be a matter of months before you'll need a new one! Also, stay away from fabric softener and most commercial detergents (as they will often have fabric softener in them). The reason fabric softeners work is that they break down the fibers to make the garment soft. Besides, a stiff uniform will make it hard for your opponent to get grips on your collars and sleeves when grappling! I actually use my own blend of cleaning agents, including Borax, washing soda, Fels Naptha laundry soap, and some other ingredients. I make enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket which will last me through about half a year when I am more frequently washing uniforms. These buckets of homemade detergent will be available for purchase to raise funds for the school and to ease your family's burden of needing to constantly buy the more expensive commercial detergents with who knows what harmful chemicals! This is super important because uniforms need to be washed after EVERY WORKOUT. So you will probably go through detergent much faster.

Soak Uniform Overnight in COLD Water

When you get home, toss your uniform, plus whatever detergents you will be using, in the washing machine with other whites or by itself (though I recommend not washing with other clothes to avoid snagging on buttons, zippers, etc). Do not overload the washing machine, keep the load light. Turn the CLOLD water on but either leave the lid open (for top loaders) or stop the machine before it goes to the rinse cycle (for front loaders) so it will soak as long as possible (a couple of hours or over night). You can also soak it in a bathtub until you are ready to transfer to a washing machine. DO NOT WASH THE BELT! (belts can be treated with Odoban or Fabreeze, however). If uniforms have tough stains (especially blood stains) you will need to pretreat the stains with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oxyclean, or a baking soda paste (rubbed in with a toothbrush), and then the uniform should soak overnight.

Wash and Dry

When you are ready to wash the uniform, bring the knob back to the beginning of the cycle (or just close the lid with top loaders) and let it run all the way through. If you have the time and a good place for it, it is recommended that you hang the uniform up to dry in sunlight. Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect on clothing and other materials. In warm weather, hanging them outside is best, but you can hang it in a window that gets a lot of sun. If there isn't enough sunlight for this, it's better to dry them in a machine to prevent mildew. If you're worried about shrinkage, just use a lower heat setting.

Additional Cleaning Agents

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