CARING FOR SCHOOL UNIFORMS
By Marina Lakatoo-Jagpath Thursday, August 9 2012
Head, Textile Products & Footwear Unit
Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards
NO other garment is worn more by school children than school uniforms. They are worn five days a week for nine months of the year. Uniforms play an important role in developing standard images for schools by creating a sense of belonging and unity amongst the students.
Some parents find themselves purchasing new uniforms in the middle of the school year because of colour fading, or premature wear and tear. This strain on the family’s finances can be eliminated by proper care and laundering.
The most common natural fibre used in making school uniforms is cotton. This fibre is known for its comfort and, because it is natural, it is kinder to the ecology of the world. Cotton has a combination of properties. It has a pleasing appearance, is durable and wears well. It is also ideal for warm weather. However, cotton creases easily and it is more expensive than man-made fibres.
According to Textiles by Norma Hollen:
* white cotton can be washed in hot water;
* coloured cotton will retain its colour better if washed in warm water instead of hot water;
* bleaching should not be routinely used with every load of wash but should be considered a spot removal method;
* less wrinkling occurs if cotton garments are removed from dryers when they are dry and not left longer than required;
* Cotton should be stored clean and dry. If they are damp, mildew can form. Mildew appears as little black dots, but it can eat through the fabric causing holes;
* Cotton is harmed by acids. Fruit and fruit juice stains should be promptly treated with cold water before they become more difficult to remove.
The most common man-made fibre used in making school uniforms is polyester. Polyester is made by reacting dicarboxylic acid with dihydric alcohol. Unlike cotton, polyester has a strong resistance to creasing and keeps it shape. It is cheaper than cotton, lightweight and quick drying. It wears well and is easy to wash. According to the lifestyle and fashion blog site “Style By Joanne” (joannefaith.com):
* polyester is machine washable and can be dried on a low heat setting in your dryer or hung out to air dry;
* shrinkage can occur by leaving polyester garments in the dryer too long
* polyester scorches, ironing on a warm setting is advised.
Fabric manufacturers produce blends of fibres to deliver superior performance with excellent comfort. The most popular fabric blend in school uniforms is poly cotton. Poly cotton fabric offers good comfort with good durability.
Inside every piece of garment, there is a label which provides helpful information. The washing instructions save time and money. The following washing symbols and their meanings were extracted from www.textileaffairs.com.
The Implementation Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) enforces the compulsory standard TTS 76: Part 3: 2007 – Requirements for Labelling – Part 3 – Labelling of Garments. Labels must be in English, legible, permanently attached to the garment and be able to withstand ten launderings.
Check your labels for brand, size, fibre content in percentages, care instructions and country of origin. It is an offence for businesses to sell garments without labels or labels which do not conform to the compulsory requirements.
Consumers are encouraged to make informed choices when exercising their purchasing power. For further information, please contact Marina Lakatoo-Jagpath, Head, Textile Products & Footwear Unit, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-TTBS – extension 182.