We all love getting new cycling kit, whether it’s because the season dictates or you just saw a must have piece. Over time your favorite kit can begin to lose its once vibrant color, stretch and lose its shape, and worst of all, be relegated to the back of the clothes drawer. In order to preserve you kit, we got some handy tips to keep it looking as sharp as possible for as long as possible.
Please note while the advice given here is awesome, you should always read the washing and care instructions on your garments, as they may have specific requirements.
Keeping your whites white
White knicks are a no-no, but jerseys, gilets and socks are extremely popular in white. Most manufacturers will at least include some element of white in their kit design whether it be a strip and pattern. There is nothing worse than when that bright white begins to turn a tired yellowish brown color. So here are some tips for keeping whites white. Soaking is the key… You need to soak your whites before washing to eliminate any marks, dirt build up or salt build up from sweat. Try this combination – 1 ½ cups of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of lemon juice and 2-3 cups of water. Rinse off with cold water are air dry outside in the sun.
Straight off the bike
As soon as your ride is done and the customary coffee and banter is finished, you need to start thinking about your kit. The longer it retains any moisture the more bacteria is going to grow and the more likely stains will set in. So as soon as possible take your kit off and hang it up. Don’t leave it in a pill in the laundry waiting for ‘laundry day’, it will remain wet on floor. Instead hang it up outside if possible, or in the laundry to dry out.
Zip it good
This is a very simple but often overlooked one. If your jersey, gilet or jacket has zips, do them up before washing. The zip could damage other clothing, ripping and tearing fabric. The same goes if you have anything Velcro. This will tear at your clothes and ruin them, so keep gloves and anything else with Velcro separate.
There is certainly a class system with clothing. You have your Sunday best and homebody sweat pants. Think of cycling kit the same way. It is top shelf, high quality fabric with sometimes elaborate prints and specialized material. So don’t wash it along with the other riff raff clothing. Always wash your cycling kit together with other cycling kit, never with other clothes that could damage or bled into the fabric.
This might not be practical but it works. Washing your kit by hand will ensure it stays in great condition and does not get damaged. Warm water has been proven almost as effective for cleaning clothes as detergent, so fill up the laundry sink with warm water and get scrubbing.
Delicate for delicates
If you are going to wash your cycling kit in the washing machine, which will be almost everyone, make sure you do it on the delicate cycle. As stated above, cycling kit is very specialized and high quality so treat it as such. If your kit comes out of the wash with residue from the detergent or powder on there, be sure to wash again to get rid of it. And before you throw your clothes in the washing machine CHECK YOUR POCKETS! There is nothing worse than having a gel or banana peel go through your washing. And turn your kit inside out. This ensures if there is any damage done, that it is done on the inside.
This tip can be harder to avoid in winter, but never put your kit through the dryer. Ideally kit should be hung up to air dry in the sun. If you are struggling to get through the week with clean kit, then it might be time to invest in some more.
Fabric softener is a big no-no. If your garments has ‘treatments’ applied to them like wicking, membranes or water repellent, fabric softener could take it straight off. Don’t use too much powder or detergent. Some suggest the amount of washing powder or detergent required far exceeds what would do the job. Even more so when you consider that hot water does almost as good a job. So go a little easy on the quantity.
And finally the biggest piece of advice… Don’t leave it to someone else. Your kit is your responsibility. Don’t leave it to your mum, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, mate, kids, acquaintances, guest, cycling buddy… anyone! No one is going to care more about your kit then you, and they certainly won’t have the knowledge we have just equipped you with here, so take responsibility for it and ensure it stands up to the test of time.