How to Wash an NFL Football Jersey Before the Big Game

Whether you wear it on the field or the sofa, football jerseys get dirty. Return your NFL jersey to its pristine condition just in time for the big game.

Published July 10, 2023
football jersey

You may not be skidding around the field during football games, but one look at your lucky jersey at half-time, and you'd think otherwise. Tailgates and coffee table spreads are full of clean clothes nightmares: nachos, dips, hot wings, and more. Show off your team allegiance with pride by learning how to wash your football jersey the proper way and starting every game with a squeaky-clean piece of merch.

How to Wash an NFL Jersey

Authentic NFL jerseys are typically made out of a water-resistant fiber mixture like nylon and spandex, which works great if you're tossing pig skins across the field but not so great when you're trying to use water to wash them. Don't fret, though. Football jerseys aren't so delicate that you have to hand-wash them.

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When it's time to give your NFL jersey a good cleaning, all you need is to toss it in a cool, delicate cycle with a gentle powdered laundry detergent. Then, set it flat to air dry, and it'll be ready by the next ballgame.

Quick Tip

If it's your first time washing the jersey, keep it on a cold setting to avoid any color bleeding or shrinkage.

How to Spot Clean an NFL Jersey

Out of your whole wardrobe, an NFL jersey probably makes the top five for most stained items. Thankfully, that bowl of ranch you tipped over when your team fumbled for the third time in the quarter doesn't have to become a permanent fixture on your favorite jersey.

The important thing to keep in mind when spot cleaning any clothing item is to always treat it before putting it in the wash. Once it's gone through a whole wash cycle, it can be harder to get the stain completely out.

For NFL jerseys, we recommend the following:

  1. Mix ½ cup of white distilled vinegar with 1 cup of water.
  2. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush, scrub some of the mixture into the stain.
  3. Let the stains soak in the mixture for about 30 minutes to an hour before putting it through a regular wash cycle.

How to Make an NFL Jersey Smell Fresh

Since it's best not to wash a sports jersey too frequently, you can run into a smelly situation. If you want to get rid of that funk for good, you only have to add a few ingredients to your regular wash routine.

  1. Add a cup of vinegar alongside your laundry detergent in the washing machine and run a regular cycle.
  2. If the smell persists, run the same mixture but add a ½ cup of baking soda to the mix.

Tips for Keeping Your NFL Jerseys in Top Condition

Spending a ton of money on your favorite team's jersey only to ruin it in the wash can be devastating. What many people don't realize is that jerseys are special clothing items that can't be thrown in the wash haphazardly. To make sure every one of your jerseys makes it through wash day, note these important tips:

  • Always turn your jerseys inside out before washing. Lettering and patches are susceptible to contracting at a different rate to the rest of the fabric. This can lead to unwanted crackling and peeling.
  • Stick with powder laundry detergent to get an even clean. Liquid detergent or pods might stain your jerseys, and powder detergent comes with added chemicals that can fight off tough stains.
  • Try not to wash your jerseys too often. The more often you wash, the higher chance you've got of some crackling and shrinking happening. So, wear an undershirt underneath your jersey and try to wash it after a few uses.
  • Don't mix your jerseys in with rough notions or fabrics. Stick to washing your jerseys with soft fabrics like sweats or underwear and avoid things like jeans and zippered hoodies because they can catch and tear.
  • Delicate cycles are your best friend. Not every washing machine is made the same, nor is every jersey stitched with high-quality stitches, so you should always stick to a delicate wash.

Get a Clean Worthy of a Winning Streak

Whether you're in the thick of it bobbing and weaving on the field or you're getting a great view of the game from home, you're bound to come away from it with a few new spots on your team's jersey. While jerseys do require a bit of a special cleaning routine, it's nothing a pro like you can't handle.

How to Wash an NFL Football Jersey Before the Big Game