Do Police Officers Wash Their Uniforms?

A police uniform can make quite the statement no matter which country you live in, and its appearance and condition bring great importance. Chances are you will never see a filthy police uniform unless it was dirtied earlier that day, that’s because many departments have strict policies on police appearance. With the amount of importance that is brought on with wearing a clean uniform, some aspiring police officers find themselves wondering whether or not they need to wash their uniforms.

The responsibility of washing a police uniform depends on your department. While some police departments have city contracts with local laundresses, other departments with strained budgets hold their officers responsible for washing their uniforms.

If you’re on the fence about what to do with your police uniform when it gets dirty there is no need to fret! Not only will this article give you an idea of how some departments function when it comes to uniforms, but you’ll also get some tips and tricks on how to handle a dirty uniform.

Department By Department Basis

Do Police Officers Wash Their Uniforms?

The truth of the matter is that not all police departments function the same although they do serve the same purpose. Some police departments have much larger budgets than others which allow for their officers to get more perks, one of those perks being dry cleaning for their officers’ uniforms. While some departments pay for the uniform dry cleaning bill, other departments have contracts with city dry cleaners for officers’ uniforms, however in this case the dry cleaning bill may be taken out of your paycheck.

Upon entering the police department your department head will disclose to you whether or not you will be washing your uniform or if your department will handle it for you. Either way, it’s best to know how to handle these things yourself if you cannot go to the dry cleaners and are tasked with washing your uniform. Police uniforms are not cheap, so you’ll want to make sure that you wash them correctly to avoid any damage which will result in a replacement.

Tips For Washing a Police Uniform

As mentioned police uniforms are quite pricey, and while some departments offer a police uniform allowance they may not offer enough money for a full replacement. If you are tasked with having to wash your uniform then you’ll want to make sure that you do it correctly to avoid any damage. Here are a few useful tips that will make your life so much easier when you wash your uniform.

  • Wash your uniform with enough notice. It’s no secret police officers have intense schedules and get a few days off. So when you do finally have that day off then you should go ahead and wash your uniform. In many cases, departments give their officers more than one set however if your department does not offer more than one set then you’ll need to purchase another one with your own money. It’s strongly advised that you have at least two sets that way you have some backup, the last thing you need is having to wear a dirty uniform to your shift.
  • Do not add your uniform in with your other clothes. You surely remember when you were being taught how to do the laundry that you had to separate your clothes by color, well consider the same method with your uniform. Even if you place your uniform with similar colors to wash your clothes may either bleed color onto your uniform or vice versa resulting in damage. Therefore make sure you wash your uniform in a separate load.
  • Hang it up right away! Make sure you hang up your uniform right away after it dries, this will prevent your uniform from wrinkling, and also saves you from having to spend so much time having to iron out those wrinkles.
  • Check your pockets! This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer but it’s essential when washing your uniform. With the unpredictability of the job you never know what you’ll find in those pockets it can range anywhere from a pen to a bullet, either way, make sure you check it to make sure you do not ruin your uniform or machine.
  • Use the good stuff. Do not settle for a cheap detergent that will leave your uniform smelling the same. Police work can sometimes get dirty so you want to make sure that you use a detergent that eliminates both stains and odors.

As you can see the task of washing a police uniform is not that bad, and can easily be compared to washing a regular load of laundry just with extra care. If you do find yourself being held responsible for washing your uniform just make sure that you follow the tips provided closely.

Stain Removal Tips

It’s no secret that police work can get quite dirty and oftentimes you will find yourself getting stained while on the job. It is important that although you will be in uniform that holds a lot of honor, you need to be aware that the job can be dirty at times and you’ll find yourself in a situation where you are either vomited on or find blood on your uniform, yeah it is gross but it happens! Here a few tips to remove nasty stains from your uniform.

  • Bloodstain removal: During your career, you may find yourself getting bloodstains on your uniform, consider it part of the job. Luckily for you removing a bloodstain is not as hard as most people may think as long as you get to it right away. To remove a bloodstain, you will need to run the fresh stain under cold water, make sure that you do not use hot water, or else the stain will set. Another great way to remove a bloodstain is by putting white vinegar on the stain and leaving it on for 10 to 15 minutes, once the 15 minutes are up you can put it in the wash.
  • Grass Stain Removal: Another common stain you’ll find on your uniform is grass stains, especially after a day of chasing down perps. Grass stains can be quite difficult to remove if you do not use the right materials. Luckily for you, the things you’ll need to remove a grass stain can easily be found in your home. To remove a grass stain you will need one tablespoon of dish soap and two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and let your uniform soak in warm water with the soap mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, then put in the wash.

With the tips provided, you’ll be able to remove stains from your uniform without any hassle. The most important thing to take away from these tips is that you need to address the stains right away, and do not let them set otherwise you will need to put in more work to remove the stain.

Learn about police bulletproof vests HERE!

Benefits of Washing Your Uniform

Can you pick your partner as a cop?

Although some police departments will pay for your uniform to be washed, there are still great benefits to washing the uniform yourself. Although these benefits are mainly personal preferences they will make a huge difference in how you keep your uniform clean. Here are a few benefits of washing your uniform.

  • Y0u have the choice of using quality detergent. If you go to a local laundromat or dry cleaner then it is likely that they are not using quality detergent, this is also possible if your department has a contract with a local laundromat as well. By washing your uniform you will be able to use the detergent of your choice and you will have a clean uniform every time.
  • You’ll save a ton of money. This is probably the most obvious benefit of them all but by doing your laundry you’ll have the opportunity to save a lot of money. Dry cleaning bills can be a bit expensive especially if you have to constantly take your uniform to the dry cleaner, by washing the uniform at home you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.

With the benefits at hand, you do not have to think twice about taking your uniform to your department’s contracted laundromat. Washing your uniform at home on your time with your preferred detergent will give you better results than any dry cleaner.

The Verdict

It may seem like the best option to go to a dry cleaner but the truth is that it is so much better to wash your uniform at home. Think about it, you’re spending a lot of time in this uniform and you want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. So when you go into your local police department don’t think twice about taking your uniform to the laundromat or dry cleaner, just wash it at home!

Q&A Section

Should I iron my uniform?

You may want to consider ironing your uniform if there are wrinkles, however, if you take it out of the dryer right away then you don’t need to iron it.

Does the department pay for my dry cleaning?

In some cases yes, the truth is that this runs on a department-by-department basis, and not every police department is the same.

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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.