School uniforms can simplify dressing for school and may even bolster school pride among the student body. The U.S. Department of Education says that wearing a uniform may help decrease the risk of violence and theft and instill discipline while helping school officials more easily recognize potential intruders.
Although once found only at religious and private schools, school uniforms are now worn at many public schools across the United States and Canada. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates roughly 20% of public and private schools across the U.S. required students to wear uniforms in the 2011-12 school year — the most recent year for which data is available.
School uniforms may help families save money on clothing. Although the initial cost of the uniform may be higher than some other clothes parents may purchase for school, uniforms can be worn again and again, saving parents the expense of buying many outfits for their kids to wear to school. Uniforms may even be available for purchase from multiple places, allowing families to shop around for the best prices. Some uniforms may be simple, such as a white shirt and khaki pants, so that parents have more options.
School uniforms require an investment, and it is important to take care of the uniforms so they can handle the wear and tear of daily use, as well as all of the potential hazards kids might experience in a typical day. These tips can help families keep school uniforms in the best condition possible.
- Launder gently. Wash clothes in cold water to prolong the life of the clothing. When possible, line-dry items or tumble dry on low.
- Have a few backups. Purchase a few pairs of pants, skirts and shirts that can be interchanged each day. This will cut down on how frequently uniforms need to be washed.
- Spot-treat stains immediately. Kids seem drawn to stains from ink, grass, grease, and more, and these stains can permanently ruin clothing if they are not addressed promptly. Rely on some of these stain-removal techniques to keep uniforms looking newer longer:
- Soak clothes in cola for 30 minutes prior to laundering to remove greasy marks or food stains.
- A paste of white vinegar and baking soda can remove grass stains when worked into the stains and then washed.
- Spray pen marks with hair spray, then blot to lift off the ink. Repeat as needed before laundering.
- Skip some washes. If the uniform isn’t especially soiled or smelly, it may be possible to wear it again without washing. Clothes can often be “refreshed” by using at-home dry-cleaning kits.
- Reinforce buttons. Use a thin coating of clear nail polish to serve as a protective barrier on button finishes. This will help the buttons look newer longer. The polish also can strengthen the thread that holds buttons on.
- Label all clothing. Uniforms all look the same. Be sure to use iron-on labels or sewn-in labels to identify kids’ clothing and avoid having to replace lost items.