Steve O's Baseball Umpire Resources 

 

Umpire Uniform and Equipment Care

 

 

In line with providing as much useful information to umpires as possible, I've put this short informational page together. Basic uniform and equipment care is important not only to maintain a professional appearance, but also to prolong the life of the items. Here are some basic guidelines:

Shirts and Slacks

Machine wash warm with like colors, gentle or permanent press cycle. Do Not Bleach. Dark colored shirts should be turned inside-out.

Tumble Dry Low Remove promptly and hang up or fold.

Cool iron* only if necessary.

Caution: Avoid unnecessary prolonged sun exposure to clothing to prevent fading (i.e. leaving shirts on seat or hanging in back window of car). Use a garment bag, cover with a cloth or leave them inside until needed.

*Items with patches or numbers: Cool iron on the reverse side on top of a clean terry cloth towel.

Caps

Brush cap with stiff bristle brush to remove dirt and dust.

Spot clean cap with water or mild soap and water, rinse or wipe with clean water thoroughly. Place in a cap shaper (or stuff with a cloth) to retain shape while it dries. An old minor league umpire tip is to place the wet cap on a lamp shade with the light on to dry it.

Most caps are washable, including the wool ones. Use a cap shaper designed to be washed to protect the cap if you place it in the washing machine. In my experience, this usually results in limited, if any, success. Generally, buy a new cap if more than spot cleaning is needed.

If washing a wool cap, use Woolite (or a similar product) instead of soap.

NEVER dry a cap in the dryer. Place it in a cap shaper or stuff with a cloth to retain its shape while letting it dry.

Use a hat liner to hold its shape between games.

Allow cap to completely dry of perspiration before storing. This is especially important if it gets wet due to rain.

It is not recommended to store in plastic bags since moisture in caps can cause mildew. Use a hat keeper, uncovered plastic container or a cardboard box instead.

Umpire Jackets and Plate Coats

Umpire Jackets

Machine wash cold with like colors, gentle cycle.

Do Not Bleach. Line dry or tumble dry low.

Remove promptly and hang up or fold.

Cool iron only, if necessary.

Plate Coats

Professionally dry clean only.

Caution: Avoid unnecessary prolonged sun exposure to clothing to prevent fading (i.e. leaving jacket on seat or hanging in back window of car). Use a garment bag or cover with a cloth.

Shoes

Brush soles of shoes with stiff bristle brush to remove dirt.

Wipe shoe uppers with a soft cloth to remove dust, dirt and moisture.

Store in a cloth shoe bag to keep clean, if needed. It is not recommended to store in plastic bags since moisture can cause mildew.

Keep a spray bottle of water and a couple of old towels/rags in your gear bag or trunk. Spray water on the shoes and wipe to remove dust or dirt.

If your shoes get muddy, wipe/scrape off excess mud and then use the spray bottle (or take them inside when you get home) to remove the remaining dirt. You can let it dry first, it will work just as well when you are ready to clean them. Just remember to use the water sparingly.

Protect shoes using leather conditioners, if appropriate, to ensure long wear-ability. Follow leather conditioner directions to maintain polished appearance.

For patent leather (or shoes treated with Leather Luster), clean with a soft cloth and water only. If you want to increase the "shine" you can use a spray furniture polish. (Pledge works).

Carry some shoe polish in your car.

Check shoestrings often. Keep a spare set in your gear bag. It sucks when they break before a game.

Protective Equipment

Chest Protectors and Leg Guards

Wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt. I hose mine down a few times over the course of the summer while hanging on a clothes line in the sun.

Allow to dry thoroughly of perspiration before storing.

Replacement straps can be purchased when they wear out. Keep them properly adjusted.

Caution: It is possible for rust to form on metal parts of equipment if stored while damp.

Check regularly for proper fit.

Face Masks and Pads

Wipe frame clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt and perspiration. Leather and suede pads can be spot cleaned only using products specifically designed to clean leather and suede (Caution: Don't use saddle soap. It will irritate your skin).

Allow to dry thoroughly of perspiration before storing.

Accessories

Cups - I wash mine with a mild soap (dish detergent) and let dry. I've tossed them in the washer with uniforms in the past but I suspect this will shorten the life of the protective edges.

Indicators and Brooms Wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt.

Ball Bags - can be machine washed same as slacks. Line dry.

Cool Collar Hand wash in cold water with mild soap. Line dry only.

Belts Wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove dirt. Allow to dry thoroughly of perspiration before storing (as with all equipment).

Miscellaneous stuff - Wipe down with a damp cloth or spray with water, wipe and let dry. If it's something that doesn't actually contact my body, I use a spray cleaner (like Glass Plus).Umpire Equipment

 

These are general guidelines. Check manufacturers recommendations for suggested care.

 

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