The adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” has stood the test of time, and for good reason. Research shows that most people use your appearance to decide on your trustworthiness, status, and likeability, even before beginning an interaction.
These snap impressions become even more poignant when they’re associated with professionalism. A uniform, and how well it is cared for, plays a key role in making sure all of your impressions – with customers, clients, and even fellow colleagues – are positive.
In business, the uniform is an extension of your brand, and keeping it like-new and well-maintained ensures you show up polished, professional, empowered, and ready to go, while looking and feeling your best. Interested in the power of a professional uniform for businesses and brands? Read our post on standing out from the competition by harnessing the power of a uniform.
Here are our top tips for keeping your uniform polished and professional:
1. Wash your uniform inside out.
Because of the materials from which they’re made, uniforms are at-risk of collecting the lint and fuzz from other items in your washing cycle. But, this doesn’t mean the process has to be complicated (because who has time to actually hand-wash?). Simply turn your items inside out and wash them with similar colors and fabrics, avoiding towels, blankets, or fuzzy items like socks and sweaters. This will allow the inside of your garments to take the brunt of the wear that can occur during a wash cycle and can prolong the like-new quality of your garment, while minimizing static cling and lint transferring to which they’re susceptible.
2. Avoid High Heat Drying.
Everything we create and design is Made For the Way You Move. This means using fabrics with spandex for added stretch and unrestricted movement. High heat can not only ruin the fabric but burn the spandex itself. To keep your uniform looking great for years to come, tumble dry on low or hang to dry. Washing in cooler water and skipping the dryer cycle also helps save energy—better for your uniform and the planet.
3. Stick to Fragrance-Free Detergents.
When it comes to skincare, we love using a multi-step routine. But, when it comes to laundering uniforms, we like to stick with the classics. While there are tons of great smelling soaps, fabric softeners, scent enhancers, dryer sheets, and other laundry products on the market, they’re not necessary to get your uniform clean. In fact, these products can be common irritants and may trigger fragrance allergies in the people with whom we share spaces (i.e.: colleagues, clients, and customers). Because of this, we recommend opting for regular or fragrance-free laundry detergent, as well as a color-safe, chlorine-free stain fighter like Oxi Clean when you need an extra boost for a tough spot (do not bleach your uniform!).
4. Swap Your Iron for a Garment Steamer.
For maintaining the look of a professional uniform, keeping it clean is only half of the equation. Wrinkled fabric can detract from your polished appearance just as quickly as a stain might. But the use of a hot iron can be detrimental to the durability and longevity of your garment. Instead, we recommend using a garment steamer to press your uniform and keep it neat and tidy. Steaming is versatile and can be used on various types of fabrics. The high heat of the steam naturally helps eliminate odors and bacteria, as well as promotes a crisp, clean appearance.
5. Multiple Sets are Best.
We love a staple item in our wardrobe as much as the next person, but when it comes to uniforms, having multiple sets helps keep them like-new for longer (and ensures you always have a backup fresh and on hand). For full-time roles, we recommend keeping a rotation of at least 3 tunics and 2 bottoms, ensuring you always have “one on your back, one on the rack, and one in the wash.” For part-time roles, 1-2 tunics and one pair of bottoms usually do the trick.
6. Try Dry Cleaning.
Our uniforms can be dry cleaned or washed in an industrial setting if you prefer to leave your laundering to the pros. Dry cleaning is an effective solution to stubborn stains, odors, or wrinkles, and is a gentle alternative to consistent standard washing. Opting for professional cleaning services may also minimize the risk of damage – ensuring that your uniform retains its quality and durability over time.
Looking and feeling great? Show off your uniform and tag us @noelasmaruniforms for a chance to be featured.