Fashion — 12.21.2016

How to Wash Polo Shirts from Lacoste

It’s time to take back the polo. In 1925, René Lacoste, the namesake of the timeless Lacoste polo, impressed tennis enthusiasts over the world when he not only won the most pivotal tennis championships—French Open, US Open, and Wimbledon—one after the other, but did so in style. The Roaring Twenties found their sports hero and Lacoste quickly became not just an influence on the tennis court, but a fashion icon when at the US Open in 1926, he wore a starched shirt with the sleeves cut short. Thanks to this singular event, Lacoste paved the way for the polo shirt to be one most desired and practical clothing pieces for nearly 100 years.



So if the polo shirt has endured that many years of evolving fashion, how can you best keep yours looking fresh for potentially that amount of time?




Polo Fabric – Cotton or Polyester?


Let’s first talk about what fabric your Lacoste polo is made from—regular cotton, pima cotton, or polyester. Regular cotton as well as pima cotton are just as versatile as the polo made from it, boasting the benefits of breathability, softness, and sturdiness. Pima cotton, just to note the difference, has a longer fiber length which means a higher thread count on its fabric. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that easily absorbs sweat and provides ventilation in even the hottest climate, so it’s perfect for sport.



Your polo, if made by a quality brand like Lacoste, should be 100% cotton, pima cotton, or polyester. When thinking about how to wash your polo shirts, it’s good to know the differences between the fabrics as their care differs. As always, take a look at your tag if you’re unsure.




Wash/Dry—General Rules


One rule of thumb that Lacoste’s customer service mentioned is to ideally keep your polos away from the dryer and wash them inside out to prevent pulling or tugging on the fabric and keep the fabric surface colors vibrant as the day you purchased it. Hand washing polo shirts is not necessary as it uses more water than typical machine washing methods and could lead to inconsistencies in the dye.



You can dry your cotton polos in the tumble dryer on the delicate setting if truly needed, but absolutely do not tumble dry polyester as direct heat can cause wrinkling and potentially break down the fabric over time.



During or after drying, lay your polo on a flat surface since hanging will cause it to stretch and lose its shape.



Inside Tip: Lay your polo flat on a laundry rack in the bathroom while you take a shower. Not only will the steam help to de-wrinkle your polo, it will also help avoid any damage caused by normal washing and drying.



Another major concern with polo wear is sweat stains, especially in the armpit area. This seems like an unavoidable mishap with any shirt, but never fear, there is also an easy way to control this common problem. It comes down to science, namely the science behind your choice of deodorant.



Look to avoid any deodorant made with aluminum. While aluminum does curb the amount of sweat coming from your armpits, it causes some other strange stuff to happen. Aluminum is the primary culprit of those embarrassing yellow stains you see. When the aluminum in your deodorant reacts with the biological material in your sweat and the biological makeup of cotton, it causes this yellow stain to appear, which can ruin not only your polo, but probably your selfconfidence, too. No one wants to be the person with the sweat stains. Find deodorants made without aluminum to help avoid this problem altogether while wearing your polo or any other shirt for that matter.




Keeping your polo collar in shape


Another common issue faced by nearly every polo wearer: collar creasing. Without proper care, the collar on your polo tends to crease in the wrong place, which no one wants. The magic trick to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you comes down to drying process techniques. The best process listed by the online style community is:



  • Button the top button

  • Flip the polo inside out

  • Flip the collar up

  • Wash normally

  • Lay flat to dry with collar still up


Fold or hang your polo?


The jury seems to be out on this one. Both storage methods have their benefits. If you choose to hang your polo, make sure you have a sturdy hanger that provides ample support in order for your polo to keep its shape. As well, hanging helps minimize wrinkling, which happens all too often with any polo. However, folding also has its benefits as polo shirts tend to stretch and lose shape over time. Fold them (try to use the department store method), stack them neatly, and place in a clean drawer.


Here is a basic breakdown of points to keep in mind before washing polo shirts:


100% Cotton/Vintage/Garment Washed Polos

  • Machine wash warm

  • Wash separately

  • Medium iron

  • Do not bleach

  • Do not dry clean


100% Cotton/100% Pima Cotton

  • Machine wash warm

  • Wash separately

  • Medium iron

  • Do not bleach

  • Do not dry clean


100% Polyester

  • Machine wash cold

  • Wash separately

  • Cool iron (inside out)

  • Do not tumble dry

  • Do not dry bleach

  • Do not dry clean


René Lacoste’s enduring legacy and his versatile polo shirt design parallel exactly the endurance factor of the product he helped design. Pay attention to your labels, focus on these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your polo shirts for years to come.

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