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You’ve bought your kit, and you love it on the ride. Now, part 2 - how to take care of it in the wash. I am always going to tell you the best method is to hand wash the kit and to do so immediately after the ride. The good student would do that and probably stretch for an hour while waiting for the laundry. But hey let’s be real; theory and practical. I like to finish a ride with a nice cold brew, cool off under the aircon, have a nice shower - any order is fine. So as you can see washing isn’t always in the top 3 things to do. So I’m going to share some (realistic) tips to help you make your kit last longer.
- No dryer.
- Your kit is mostly made of polyester. Any heat treatment above 40 degrees celsius will damage the material. This includes hot water.
- No fabric softener.
- Fabric softener leaves a coating of wax material to make it feel soft and smell awesome. This waxy layer can affect the performance of the sportswear by preventing the fabric from wicking out your sweat.
- Wash as soon as you can
- Washing asap prevents the build up of bacteria formed from our sweat. The longer the bacteria stays on the kit, the more it will stink up and consume the Lycra / polyester. This lingering smell might not go away so you need to consider a good active wear wash. This brings me to my next point.
- Sports specific laundry detergent
- There’s a reason for sports specific laundry detergent. Such detergents are usually formulated to be strong at removing dirt and bacteria, while being gentle on the fabric. They are usually PH neutral and better at removing smells from our sweat and grime. Some will contain brightening and scents to make the kit look and smell better. Personally I like my Assos Active Wear Cleanser. For normal washes, you can consider adding a cap of Assos wash to your normal laundry detergent. For kits with that lingering smell, you can wash only with the Assos active wash.
- Squeeze dry don’t twist dry
- Twisting your kit dry risks tearing the fiber especially the chamois. Remember your chamois is like the heart of your bibshorts. It is an additional fabric sewn onto your bibshorts. It is comprised of multiple fibers that help to absorb the shock and pressure while on the saddle. Twisting the chamois endangers tearing the fibers and stitching from the shorts.
- Laundry bag, zips and hooks
- When using the washing machine, it’s always good to use a laundry bag. This is to protect your kit from the hooks and zips in your other clothes that may snare the kit during the wash. Remember to zip your jersey if you are putting all in the same bag! Also try not to stuff your washer full of laundry. Half or three quarter load is optimal so that the detergent gets to properly wash your load.
- For white or light coloured kits
- There’s no way out of this. You’ll need to wash it separate from colors. This will keep your whites longer and prevent them from “greying” or “yellowing” out.