Father and Son unload a dryer together

How to Keep Kids’ Back to School Clothes and Accessories Clean

Posted on September 15, 2023 by Steven Toltz

It’s back to school season, and if you’re a parent, that means the battle against all the germs, stains, and split seams is back on in full force! Don’t worry – you’re ready to make this year your best yet, and at Dependable Cleaners, we can help. 

Here’s everything you need to make sure your kids, their clothes, and their school supplies are in top shape this school year! 

Cleaning School Clothes and Uniforms

You know how to clean your kids’ clothes – you’ve been doing it for literally their entire lives. But what about dealing with odd garments and tricky stains? This year, nothing will stop you. With this guide on your side, you’ve got what it takes to understand every material, erase every pen & marker stain, make grass stains disappear, and eradicate spills before they set in

Preventing Stains on School Uniforms

Getting your kids ready for the new school year often involves investing in a fresh set of uniforms and accessories — and if they aren’t kept in good condition, replacements can be costly. Fortunately, we have the tips you need to keep your kids looking sharp and presentable throughout the academic year.

Stain Removal Tips

Accidents happen. To ensure your kids’ school uniforms stay spotless, it’s essential to know how to effectively remove common stains. Here are some tried-and-true stain removal tips:

  • Act Quickly: The key to successful stain removal is speed. As soon as a stain occurs, blot it gently with a clean cloth to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.
  • Use Cold Water: Rinse the stained area with cold water, as hot water can set-in many stains. Continue to blot and rinse until the water runs clear.
  • Apply Mild Detergent: For stubborn stains, apply a small amount of mild liquid detergent directly to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together, then rinse with cold water again.
  • Try Vinegar: For protein-based stains like blood or sweat, you can mix one part vinegar with two parts water and dab the solution onto the stain. Rinse thoroughly afterward.
  • Don’t Forget Pre-Treatment: Pre-treating stains with a stain remover or even a bit of baking soda can help break down the stain before washing.
  • Follow Care Labels: Always check the care labels on school uniforms for specific cleaning instructions. Some fabrics may require special care or professional dry cleaning.

Related: When Should I Try to Treat a Stain?

Caring for Backpacks, Lunchboxes, and School Supplies

How to Clean a Backpack

Backpacks get dirty easily. Luckily, they’re designed with that in mind. Backpacks are made to be machine washable without much hassle. Make sure to thoroughly check all interior and exterior pockets of the backpack for anything your child may have left inside (you’ll never live it down if a wash ruins a beloved item) and turn the backpack inside out. This prevents zippers from getting caught in the machine and protects the bag from damage (meaning your child’s favorite superhero or character stays looking fresh). Put a small amount of non-aggressive detergent in the wash and run the backpack on a gentle cycle in cold water. When done, hang or lay the backpack out to dry.   

Keeping Lunch Bags Sanitary & Smell-Free

Check and empty your kids’ lunch bags every day… there’s nothing worse than discovering an accidental “science project” growing in your child’s food. Dirty lunch containers can be easily washed with warm water and dish soap. Scrub it with a brush just as you would with a dish or pan, rinse, and then hang the lunch bag to dry. Proper, regular cleaning will ensure that your children’s lunch containers stay sanitary and odor-free. 

Binders and Pencil Cases

Binders can be washed with a lightly dampened cloth or with a gentle disinfecting wipe. Plastic pencil cases can be washed and scrubbed with warm water, the same as a lunch bag. Fabric pencil cases can be soaked in a basin or bowl with warm water and a very small amount of laundry detergent. The case may then be rinsed with water and hung to dry. 

Proper Care for Kids’ Sneakers

Cleaning Sneakers Safely

Shoes get dirty like nothing else, but careful cleaning is required to ensure no damage comes to your kids’ prized kicks. Here’s how to clean sneakers safely without compromising their quality:

  • Gentle Brushing: Start by gently brushing off loose dirt and debris from the sneakers using a soft-bristle brush, old toothbrush, or a damp cloth. This step prevents abrasion during the cleaning process.
  • Mild Soap and Water: Create a cleaning solution by mixing mild soap (such as dish soap or laundry detergent) with lukewarm water. Dip a soft brush or cloth into the solution, wring it out well, and then scrub the sneakers. Be careful not to oversaturate the fabric.
  • Spot Cleaning: For tough stains or scuff marks, you can use a small amount of toothpaste or baking soda mixed with water. Apply this paste to the affected areas, gently scrub, and then wipe clean.
  • Laces and Insoles: Don’t forget to remove the laces and insoles for a thorough cleaning. You can wash laces separately by soaking them in the same mild soap & water solution and then air drying.
  • Air Dry: After cleaning, allow the sneakers to air dry naturally. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, heat sources, or using a hairdryer, as these can cause the materials to warp or shrink.

Preserving Sneaker Quality

Extend the life of your kids’ sneakers with these simple tips:

  • Rotate Shoes: Encourage your kids to rotate their sneakers to prevent excessive wear on a single pair.
  • Proper Storage: Store sneakers in a cool, dry place, and avoid piling heavy objects on top of them to maintain their shape.
  • Invest in Shoe Trees: Shoe trees help maintain a shoe’s shape and absorb excess moisture, which can prevent odors and extend the life of the shoe. 
  • Spot Clean: Address stains promptly with a mild cleaning solution to prevent them from setting.
  • Replace Insoles: Over time, insoles can wear out. Replacing them can improve comfort and support.

Related: How to Remove Sweat Stains & Odors From Hats

School-Ready Clothes, Hassle-Free

Sometimes, even with all the know-how in the world, what you really need is another set of hands… or just a little less stress. That’s where Dependable Cleaners comes in. If your family’s laundry is stacking up and you need a solution fast, then Dependable’s Wash and Fold Laundry Service is your salvation. We’ll cover everything from clothes to towels to bedsheets and more! Just drop off what you need cleaned – or, take advantage of our free Laundry Pickup & Delivery Service and give yourself one less thing to worry about! Dependable Cleaners also offers unparalleled dry cleaning options for sensitive garments, as well as professional uniform cleaning to keep your active kids looking their absolute finest, and our special 7-point inspection ensures your clothing comes back as good as it can be. 

This school year, give yourself a break and give your family the cleanest clothes possible by choosing one of the best dry cleaners in the Denver area! Find a location today, and discover the meaning of Dependable!