There was a time (not very long ago) when I didn’t have a clue about care icons and certainly didn’t refer to them for the care of my garments. I’ve always relied upon common sense, developed through some bitter disappointments (think perfect iron singes on clothes and misadventures with bleach).
Caring for equestrian clothing (breeches, jodphurs, riding pants or whatever you may call them), is really not a lot different to caring for any other garment. Luckily they all come with instructions, if we know where to find them and how to read them.
Here's a brief summary:
Wash at or below 30⁰C
Sometimes you’ll see the same icon, but it will have dots to indicate warmth. One dot = 30⁰, 2 dots = 40⁰, etc.
Water at 30⁰ is not very hot, in fact it’s less than lukewarm.
Iron at low temperature
The dot system is as described above and pretty easy to understand.
If you’ve ever scorched a garment you’ll understand why you really should heed this advice, but the feel of the fabric is a good indicator of what temperature you’d need. In this case, make it as low as you can!
Do not dry clean
Righto! And why go to that expense if it isn’t recommended?
The solvents and chemicals used in dry cleaning can be toxic and over time can be damaging to some fabrics. The fabric in your breeches is one of them, so please don’t.
Tumble Dry – Low Heat
This means it can be put in the clothes dryer, not that it should be! And again, with the cost of electricity why would you?
Do Not Bleach
This one is a lot like the dry cleaning. The bleach will break down the fabric in your riding pants – don’t do it – please!
That’s a pretty long list of things not to do. But it basically comes down to heat and chemicals, you want to avoid both.
What To Do
So, here’s what I do to care for my riding pants, remembering that I’m a lazy (and frugal) housewife.
Firstly, I always wash in cold water. I read somewhere that hot water will set a stain, so I tell myself that’s the reason, truth is I’m not paying for hot water unless I need to.
I don’t own a clothes dryer and instead I line dry my riding pants, in the shade! In fact, I line dry everything in the shade.
If I’m riding at home on my own arena or on a trail ride, I don’t bother to iron. My horses don’t seem to mind, and it doesn’t seem to take long for the creases to fall out anyway. Just like denim jeans really.
However, if I’m going out somewhere I do take a little more care.
Instead I use a steamer. Not a fancy one either, I think I got mine from Kmart and from memory it was about $35(ish). And I only ever steam from about mid-thigh down.
Soooo, that’s it. I like to keep thing quick, simple and easy.
Stains & Marks
Well, I tend to choose the darker colours anyway so it’s not really an issue for me. I do have some trail riding pants in wheat and in all honesty, other than normal day to day marks they haven’t stained. But if they had I would use a warm water soak.
25 year on from babies, and I still have nappy soaker in my laundry.