Keep their gear in tip-top shape
Keeping your children's school clothes neat and tidy can be a daunting task. They are worn daily, and are subjected to plenty of wear and tear. The experts advise..

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

  • To polish Use shoe polish that is the same colour as the shoes. Use the end of a shoe brush to rub polish onto 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.

  • Wet shoes Dry them in a 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. Prevent shoes from becoming soaked through in the first place by applying rain and stain protector, available from shoe shops.

Buy shirts that have been coated with Teflon to protect the fabric against stains and spills.

Look out for cotton blends because they usually need less ironing and they don't crease easily.

  • 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 up items immediately after ironing to avoid creasing.
  • Iron on the inside or place a clean cloth over 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.

Stains Deal with stains as soon as they appear. Grant suggests the following:
  • 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.

  • Indelible ink Mix equal parts of methylated sprits and ammonia-based household cleaner. Use a sponge to treat the affected area.

Test coloured fabric first, and if the colour runs, try using only methylated spirits.

  • 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 before.
  • 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 before, rinsing well afterwards.

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

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

Test the fabric first and don't place the garment in the tumble dryer if the stain has not been removed completely, because the heat will set the stain.

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