You’ve been out for a long ride, you’re tired and all you want to do is take a hot shower and collapse in front of the telly. Without thinking, you chuck our sweaty kit in the laundry basket where it remains, still damp, sometimes for days, certainly long enough for microbial growth and odours to develop.
To avoid the damaging effects of a damp laundry basket on your kit, here are some tips on how to look after and wash your cycling kit.
Dry your kit. If you’re not planning to wash your kit straight away, hang it up to dry. Human sweat contains ammonia and salts that can damage the internal fibres. Drying will crystallise the salts and help prevent any damage.
Keep it separate. Try to wash your cycling kit separately from the rest of your laundry, especially from garments made from natural fibres. They don’t mix well in your washing machine and can damage your kit.
Wash it inside out. Washing your kit inside out protects the colours and your detergent will penetrate the fibres and chamois more effectively. We also recommend you do up all the zips to avoid snagging anddo notwash with velcro straps or similar abrasive material. We quite often see damaged garments that have clearly lost the battle against the Lycra killer that is VELCRO.
Caps - we recommend handwashing cycling caps and have written a specific blog on this topic that you can read here.
Always read the label. Most manufacturers' care labels give specific instructions and warnings for washing, including maximum water heat recommendations.
Use the right programme. If your washing machine doesn’t have a specific sportswear setting, we recommend you use a short programme, cooler water (30ºC max) and avoid spinning. Your kit will thank you for it.
Use a sports specific detergent. These products are more effective in combating stains and odours. They also contain an antibacterial and antifungal formula. And they’ll work better at low temperatures.
Don’t use fabric softener. Cycling kit doesn’t need it, and it will clog up the fibres and the prevent sweat wicking properties of your kit.
Don’t tumble dry. The high temperatures used by tumble dryers will damage your kit. Just don’t! It’s far better to hang your kit and air dry it.
Don’t iron. We shouldn’t need to say this, but please don’t iron your cycling kit. It doesn’t need it and the heat will damage your kit.
A profile of the TI-Raleigh team’s Henk Lubberding. For 15 years Lubberding worked in the engine room of manager Peter Post’s teams; first with TI-Raleigh, then with Panasonic. He was the perfect team man, a super-domestique and more.