How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts: Sustainable Care Guide

Paulina Kulczycki

Polo shirts are the ultimate versatile companions for the summer season. With their functional, sporty design and durable, breathable piqué fabric, they effortlessly integrate into the summer dress code for nearly any occasion and style. From BBQs and sweat-inducing festivals to waterfront jaunts and friendly rivalry on the golf course, our polos effortlessly traverse a whirlwind of summer adventures. To ensure that your polo shirts remain in pristine condition and maintain their charm, SANVT has curated a sustainable care guide on how to wash and care for polo shirts, where you’ll learn how to extend the life of your faithful summer essential.


Let's be frank: doing laundry isn't everyone's favorite activity, to say the least. Yet, if we truly aim to act as eco-conscious consumers, purchasing a climate-neutral polo crafted from sustainable materials and ethical production isn't the sole solution. A staggering 20% of emissions within the fashion industry arise post-purchase, right within our homes. How we wash and care for polo shirts influences both the environmental footprint and the product's longevity. A polo might possess superb quality, but without the right care, it can become disposable after just one season. Our sustainable care guide will help you figure out how to best care for your polo shirts; more, it’ll make you a connoisseur in the art of extending the lifespan of your clothes.

Should you still be on the quest for the perfect polo shirt, here's a little more from SANVT about what to seek to find the finest polos for the summer season.


How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts SANVT grey


How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts in a Glimpse:

  • Inspect Labels and Materials.
  • Sort by Colour and Fabric.
  • Unbutton and Empty Pockets.
  • Wash with Cold Water.
  • Opt for Eco-Friendly Detergents.
  • Select Delicate Wash Cycle.
  • Load Washer Sufficiently, Not Overloaded.
  • Opt for Air Drying (or use Low Heat settings).
  • Prefer Steaming Over Ironing.
  • Fold, Don't Hang.
  • Treat Stains Promptly with Natural Remedies.


Sorting and Preparing for Washing 

Inspect Labels and Materials

Before throwing your polo into the laundry machine, get familiar with its fabric. Since the care and handling vary depending on the fabric, understanding the material is key. After all, not every polo you’ll find is made of premium organic cotton, as is the case with our perfect polo shirt. Our tip: follow the manufacturer's care instructions, found on the label of your polo. That’s a good starting point!


Sort by Colour and Fabric

It seems almost too obvious to say, but to prevent your immaculate white polo shirt from emerging pinkish post-laundry, make sure your red sports socks don’t share the same laundry cycle. This principle, of course, applies to all other hues as well. Separate your laundry into whites, blacks, lights, and darks to avoid colour transfer. Going beyond colour, categorise your laundry by fabric type to avert wear and tear. If your polo consists of polyester, or blends, a laundry bag is crucial to prevent the shedding of micro plastics. Yet, in our book, a polo crafted from organic cotton reigns supreme, embodying both quality and sustainability.


Unbutton and Empty Pockets

If your polo features a button placket, it's important to unbutton it prior to washing to avoid straining buttons and seams during the process. It’s even more necessary if your polo features elegant mother-of-pearl buttons, like in our perfect polo shirt. Also make sure that pockets (if any) are empty, to avoid deformities and potential damage. Our style suggestion: opt for pocket-free polos, for a timeless and sophisticated aesthetics.


How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts SANVT white polo


Sustainable Washing Practices 

Use Cold Water

After properly sorting and preparing your polo, it's time to initiate the washing machine. Opt for an eco-friendly cycle with cold water to conserve energy and preserve colour vibrancy. Rest assured, cold water is generally more than enough to tackle most stains and dirt.


Select Eco-Friendly Detergents

When washing your eco-cotton polo in an eco-friendly cycle, the detergent should be equally eco-conscious. Make sure that you choose biodegradable, phosphate-free organic detergents. Look for environmentally certified detergents, and when it comes to fabric softeners, choose vegan options. Conventional fabric softeners often stem from animal byproducts – a pitfall that conscientious consumers, undoubtedly, aim to avoid.


Load Efficiently, Not Excessively

To optimise water and energy efficiency during the wash cycle, it's wise to launder full loads. Yet, you should avoid loading the machine excessively, as this could cause abrasion of your textiles through friction.


Gentle Cycles and Delicate Fabrics

Should your washing machine lack an eco-cycle, choose gentle, delicate wash cycles for your polo. This approach minimises wear and tear. Unquestionably, avoid aggressive, short cycles at high temperatures, as they pose a threat to even the most superior fabrics, causing premature deterioration.

 How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts SANVT polo


Mastering the Art of Drying

Air Drying for the Win(d)

After your freshly cleansed polo emerges from the wash, the next step is proper drying. Yes, even the way you dry your polo shirts can have a significant impact! For energy and emission conservation, air drying your polo is ideal. Vigorously shake the damp polo to straighten the fabric post-wash, and then hang it outdoors on a clothesline. Fun fact: sunlight contributes to natural disinfection and odour elimination! Bear in mind, though, not to expose your polo to direct sunlight for more than a day, to prevent potential fading.


Low Heat Settings

Should time be pressing and a dryer necessary, opt for low heat settings – much like during washing. This time, however, the aim is to prevent shrinkage. Over-spinning during the spin cycle should also be avoided to preserve fabric quality and fend off pilling.


Ironing and Storage

Steamy Sleekness

Boomers might have been accustomed to ironing everything, even their underpants, but modern times have drastically reduced this practice. Quite frankly, if you possess a polo crafted from refined and resilient piqué fabric, a vigorous shake after washing often gets the job done. However, if you want your polo to be perfectly smooth for business meetings or formal occasions, consider using a steamer. It eradicates wrinkles within seconds and, compared to traditional ironing, saves time and energy. Steaming not only is super user-friendly, it’s also gentler on fabrics.


Folds, Not Hangers

Now, the question arises: How should you store your polo shirt post-washing, drying, and ironing? Caring for your polo shirts also involves learning about how to store them properly in your closet. Unlike Oxford shirts, we advise against hanging your polo on a hanger. Instead, fold it to prevent shoulder area distortions. Ideally, store your polos in breathable containers – not only to preserve fabric quality, but also to shield the product from dust, moisture, mould, dirt, and clothing moths.

 How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts SANVT


Stain Removal and Spot Cleaning

Swift Stain Management

The life of your polo shirt might not be exempt of unfortunate stains. So naturally, we thought adding a few tips on how to remove stains from your polo shirt might come in handy! Whether you've accidentally stained your polo during a BBQ with friends, a family gathering, or a corporate event, swift action is crucial. Address stains as early as possible to prevent them from setting in. Use natural stain removers like baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice for an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to stain removal. And when grappling with red wine stains, trust in the age-old salt trick; it might be your polo shirt’s only hope!

Here's a bit more from SANVT on some tricks to remove common stains in a sustainable manner


How to Wash and Care for Polo Shirts: Conclusion

With our ultimate guide and step-by-step instructions on washing and caring for polo shirts, you now possess a full array of polo care tips. Rest assured that by sticking to these techniques, your polo should continue to shine even after several summer seasons! Well, try to steer clear of melting ice-cream, still!
Discover the perfect polo shirt from SANVT in white, black, grey melange, navy, or dark green, and find your new essential for the summer.

For more insights into sustainable clothing care, explore additional tips here.


Photos by Anastasios Moiras & Daniel Rode

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