A new bit of kit is bound to put a smile on your face. To make that joy last just a little bit longer, it’s important to look after your cycling clothing to keep it looking fresh as long as possible. Here’s some top tips to keep your kit in tip top shape.
Wash at a low(ish) temperature
We weren’t sure about this one, so we enlisted the help of Charles Ross, part of the WRAP Textile Project and a member of the WRAP Influencing Consumer Behaviour Committee. As with most things environment, it’s about doing the least bad thing.
Washing at a high temperatures might seem like the best way to get your kit clean. However, a super hot wash will degrade the elastane fibres in your sports clothing, so it’s important (care labels allowing) to wash at 40º.
Charles says “it is important to wash sports clothing above normal body temperature (37º) to kill the bugs… 40º washes will do this, without being hot enough to degrade the elastane fibres.
Bugs can build up in your machine, so it’s important to do a service wash every 50 or so washes (or every 3 months). Pull out your detergent drawer and give it a good scrub over. Then, leaving the drum empty, do a hot wash without detergent (or you could add soda crystals or 1/2 cup of white vinegar) to keep your machine clean.”
Charles doesn’t advocate the addition of anti-bacterial chemicals as these don’t kill as much bacteria as a hot wash, and over-use can cause bacteria to become resistant.
Don’t wash unless you have to
If your kit isn’t smelly, don’t wash it. Less washing means less water use and less electricity, so you’re helping the environment. However, don’t just leave them to fester, damp, in your washing basket. Gross. This is when those odour causing bacteria will grow, leaving you with sometimes irrevocably whiffy kit.
If you hang up jerseys and jackets to air, they’ll keep fresher longer. You’ll also have less laundry to do, a win-win.
Muddy rides can be super fun. Mud stains, not so. Rinse your clothing off with water in the sink, or spot-soak so the mud doesn’t have a chance to stain the fabric.
Watch those fastenings
Open zips can damage delicate fabrics, negate this risk by making sure all the zips on your clothing are zipped up. Velcro can do some serious damage to fabrics! Make sure any velcro openings are closed – carefully check over-shoes and jacket cuffs as these are velcro areas that are likely to get forgotten about.
Watch the civilian clothing
Heavy jeans getting tossed around with delicate cycling clothing in the washing machine is a recipe for disaster in the long term. It might be okay for one-off washing, but try not to make a habit of it.
Bra hooks and eyes can also be damaging, make sure your bras aren’t undone before you put them in the wash.
Inside out, pockets turned out
Turn your kit inside out to protect logo prints. Also, make sure you’ve not left your fancy shell jacket, or tissues / a forgotten energy ball in your jersey pocket.
Pick detergents with care
Unless you’re washing something with water-proofing, you don’t need a fancy detergent to wash your kit. Use something mild and don’t use anything that promising brighter colours or brighter whites. These types of detergents won’t be kind on performance fabrics.
Don’t dry your kit in a tumble dryer, the fabrics won’t thank you. Hang your clothing up to drip dry.
Outside is best, but watch you don’t leave your kit in bright sunshine all day or you might find your colours fade. If you’re drying inside, don’t dry on a heat source like a radiator if you can help it.