Keep their gear in tip-top shape



Roshan Jaea from Rocksole Shoes says: "A good shoe brush, polish, a soft yellow cloth and a shoehorn are all the essentials you need to keep shoes sparkling clean.

"Make sure your child always unties the laces or loosens the buckle before taking their shoes off. Also teach them to use a shoehorn to put their shoes on. This prevents the backs from collapsing."

To polish:

  • Use shoe polish which is the same colour as the shoes. Use the end of a shoe brush to rub polish on to the surface and the other end of the brush as a buffer.
  • Then use a soft yellow cloth to remove the last remnants of polish and to add extra shine.
  • Dry wet shoes in a well-ventilated room, but away from a heater or fireplace, as this can cause the soles to come loose, the shoes to shrink or the tops to crack. You could prevent shoes from becoming soaked through by applying rain and stain protector, which is available from shoe shops.


Buy shirts which have been coated with Teflon to protect the fabric against stains and spills. Also look out for cotton blends because they usually need less ironing and they don't crease easily. When you are ironing, though, be sure to iron with care.

Grant Gibor, owner of Personal Cleaners, has the following advice:

  • Save time on ironing by making sure the garment is stretched across the ironing board when you iron.
  • Make sure the iron is set to the recommended setting as indicated on the care instructions on the garment.
  • Hang items up immediately after ironing to avoid creasing.
  • Iron on the inside or place a clean cloth of the area before you iron to prevent material from becoming shiny over time.
  • Avoid spot cleaning just before ironing as the heat may set the stain, leaving a permanent mark on the garment.

Gibor recommends one deal with them as soon as they appear. He suggests the following:

For stains:

  • Fruit juice or berries - stretch the fabric over a basin and carefully pour boiling water over it from an elevated position so that the liquid runs into the basin.
  • Remove remaining stains with household bleach. Old stains can be softened by applying glycerine to the affected area and leaving it for an hour or two.
  • Then add a few drops of vinegar and leave for five to 10 minutes before rinsing well.

For indelible ink:

  • Mix equal parts of methylated spirits and ammonia-based household cleaner. Use a sponge to treat the affected area.
  • For coloured fabric you may have to test it first. If the colour runs, try using methylated spirits only.

For ballpoint pen ink:

  • Saturate the fabric with an alcohol-based hairspray to break up the ink.
  • Blot the stain with a cloth until all the ink has been removed, then wash as usual.
  • Place paper towels or a dry cloth under the stain to soak up any excess ink. First test an inconspicuous area or consult a professional dry cleaner.

For water-based ink:

  • Use an all-purpose cleaner instead of one containing ammonia, and clean as mentioned before.

For blood: 

  • For fresh stains, mix one teaspoon salt and 600ml cold water. Use a sponge to treat the affected area, then rinse with clean water.

For stubborn stains:

  • Dilute one part hydrogen peroxide and nine parts water and use as mentioned before, rinsing well afterwards.

For grass:

  • Rub the stain with washing powder, then launder as usual. For persistent stains, try rubbing with alcohol.

Please note: If you're dealing with a more delicate fabric, such as silk, rather consult a professional.

Always test the fabric first and do not dry the garment in the tumble dryer if the stain has not been removed completely, because the heat will set the stain.

Do you have any handy tips and tricks for keeping your kids' school gear in a good condition? Share them with us by emailing and we may publish your story. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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