How to Properly Care for Your Cycling Clothing
When you get home from an exhausting bike ride, you’re out of energy, hungry, thirsty and in need of a shower and a good night’s rest. The last thing you want to do is have to wash the cycling clothing you just used. Every cyclist has experienced this, but now that you’ve enjoyed (or suffered) riding in those clothes, take a few minutes to give them some proper cleaning and care; the clothes are worth it. Please don’t ask family members or loved ones to do this work for you. If you can enjoy your free time, others have a right to enjoy their own.
Cycling clothing is very specific and therefore requires special care and attention. It is designed to adapt to your body and provide full comfort and top performance while you ride your bike. To achieve this, the fabrics used in cycling clothing are made from different fibres to those used in our everyday clothing, which is why we cannot wash them in the same way. We must follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter and store them properly to avoid problems or damage beyond natural wear and tear.
Firstly, check the washing instructions on the label for advice on which laundry products you should use. Not all cycling jerseys require the same care, so it is necessary to know which items cannot be put in the washing machine and which ones can.
Washing cycling clothing
Hand wash cycling clothing using a neutral soap. Using a specialised laundry detergent for sportswear is also an option, but make sure it’s as neutral as possible, with no added fragrances or softeners.
If possible, wash your clothes on the same day you use them. If they are not too dirty or sweaty, even a gentle hand rinse will suffice. If you sweat a lot and your clothes get dirty, it’s best to soak them in cold water with a little soap for about half an hour and then wash them by hand. Don’t soak them for too long, as leaving fabrics in water for hours is not good for them. The technique for cleaning cycling clothes is as follows: shower with them on, scrub them with a neutral soap, don’t take them off, then take them off, rinse and wring them out. This works very well for summer garments, but is quite difficult for winter garments such as cycling jackets and long-backed shorts.
Do not use hot water; maximum 30°C. Technical cycling clothing is mostly made of synthetic fibres that do not like to be washed in hot water. In addition, many jerseys are made from high-tech fabrics that are breathable, insulating and waterproof. Hot water will wash them out faster.
If for some reason you are unable to hand wash your clothes and must use a washing machine, follow these tips:
Do not mix everyday clothing with cycling clothing.
Close all zips, Velcro or any other garment fasteners.
Turn cycling clothing inside out and place in a mesh laundry bag. This will protect the colour and fabric of the garment.
Wash garments in cold water (up to 30°C) for a short wash cycle and low spin speed. Many washing machines have specific programmes for sportswear.
Do not leave damp clothes in the washing machine. Hang them up as soon as possible to avoid unpleasant odours and fabric deterioration.
On the other hand, listed below are things to avoid when washing cycling clothes:
Do not use fabric softeners or bleach. Fabric softeners can form a layer on your clothes and make them non-breathable. Bleach can damage the fibres.
Do not use a tumble dryer either. The high temperatures in the dryer can cause severe damage and shrinkage of your clothing.
Cycling clothing should never be ironed: it is designed to be wrinkle-resistant.
If you’re exhausted, in a hurry, have an emergency or you’re feeling lazy, here are our three tips:
If you can’t wash it immediately when you get home, but you can wash it in a few hours, soak it in cold water until you can hand wash it.
If you can’t wash it the same day, hang it in a well-ventilated area to remove moisture from sweat. Try to wash it as soon as possible as when sweat dries it sticks to the fabric and damages the integrity of the fabric due to ammonia and salts and leads to unpleasant odours.
Don’t put cycling clothing in the laundry basket with other clothing as it will absorb unpleasant odours and may go through a long wash in the washing machine with detergents and softeners. Basically, everything the manufacturer doesn’t recommend. If you’re lucky, the garment won’t be damaged in any way, but it’s likely to get stuck in the drum or hang on to another piece of clothing. Additionally, it can significantly cause the fabric to deteriorate and shorten its lifespan.
Are there any homemade cleaning solutions for cycling clothes?
You will find a lot of information about using vinegar, baking soda or salt to clean cycling clothes or eliminate odours. Let’s be clear: vinegar has a low pH (between 2 and 3) and baking soda has a high pH (10). Given that we recommend the use of a neutral soap (pH 7), it is illogical to suggest the use of these two household products.
As for salt, we just said that salt from sweat can damage cycling jerseys, so don’t use a salt shaker unless you want to replenish the salt lost during your workout by licking your jersey.
Drying your jersey
After washing and wringing out most of the water from your cycling jersey, here are three drying tips in addition to not using a dryer:
Turn the garment over and hang it to dry so that the colours don’t fade in the sun.
Don’t hang your clothes in direct sunlight for too long as this will shorten their life. We’ve already mentioned that cycling clothing doesn’t like heat. It is also designed to dry quickly, so it will dry faster than you think.
Do not use suspenders, sleeves or other elasticated parts of the garment for hanging. These elements are vital for a correct fit and the weight of wet clothing can stretch and pull them down, damaging the garment.
If you don’t have anywhere to hang your clothes while travelling, wrap them in a clean towel to absorb as much moisture as possible, then place them in a heat source or ventilated area to allow them to dry completely. Never place your clothes directly over any heating device.
A few notes about merino wool cycling clothing:
Do not use special washing detergents for wool. They are suitable for normal wool clothes and contain fabric softeners.
Merino wool absorbs perspiration very well, but water evaporates more slowly than synthetic fibres. When you wash a merino wool garment, you will find that it is heavier because it retains more moisture. Hang it to dry, folding the garment down the centre onto a drying rack to distribute the weight evenly and avoid overstretching the fabric. Ideally, it should be spread out horizontally on the surface of the rack to dry, but we know this isn’t always possible.
Follow these tips to extend the life of your cycling jersey as the more you care for it, the longer it will last. Remember: the construction of the material and its tight fit protects us and provides comfort, but garments naturally suffer wear and tear from everyday use. Just as tyres wear out with every kilometre you ride, and the more you ride, the more likely you are to get a puncture, strap shorts suffer a lot of scuffing and will break down with time and use. Therefore, we should be mindful of the indicators that suggest it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes. On the other hand, if you take proper care of your cycling jersey, it will last longer, while other clothing and accessories can actually last and serve you for a long time.
If you want to know more about electric bikes or have any questions about our cycling clothing and their components, please feel free to reach out to our customer service. We are always here to assist you.