Editor’s Note: We continue our recent series of QTs from the RBR Crew this this week’s submission from Sheri Rosenbaum. Sheri offers some time-honored advice on laundering your cycling clothes, both to get out the stink and to make sure your clothes are best-positioned to clean them adequately. I add a couple of comments to Sheri’s, including a recommendation for a workout clothing detergent I recently started using. —John Marsh
Here’s what Sheri writes:
1) If you have smelly gloves, wash them as normal but add a cup of vinegar to the wash to make them smell better.
2) To get your chamois clean, always wash your shorts/bibs inside out. This allows the detergent and water more surface area to clean. Always wash in cold and never dry.
To which, I would add:
Re: 1) For years, I used vinegar not just to wash gloves, but to wash the entirety of my cycling apparel (along with my wife’s running gear). Vinegar works just the same on all stinky stuff; the shortcoming is that, if you use too much, your apparel takes on that distinct aroma of vinegar.
Re: 2) I agree that turning bibs and shorts inside out is a must. I also turn my jerseys (and anything with a zipper, including vests and jackets) inside out when washing. The reason is two-fold: It prevents the zipper from getting snagged on something and potentially bent or torn off. And, it helps such applications as reflective elements and logos/decals that are often “stuck” on stay in place longer.
However, unlike Sheri and others I’ve talked to over the years who never dry their cycling apparel in a clothes dryer, I always have. I wash the gear on the active wear setting and dry it on the delicate setting. (I’ve been told by apparel companies not to use dryer sheets, which can affect the breatheability of garments – but truth be told, I do that, too, and have never noticed the difference.)
I feel even more comfortable drying my gear since I upgraded to a modern dryer a couple years ago (which features moisture-sensing and other technology) to more gently dry garments.
New Workout Gear Detergent
Finally, I have actually stopped using vinegar to wash my gear – because I no longer need it. (I used to use it, along with my normal detergent, to ensure that the stink was removed from my cycling gear.) Now, I use Defunkify Active Wash, a detergent made specifically to remove the stink and stains from active wear.
The product uses “green chemistry,” and contains “only non-toxic, sustainable, plant-based ingredients and enzymes, minerals and biodegradable synthetic ingredients listed on the EPA Safer Choice Chemical Ingredient List.” You can see more details at www.defunkify.com (they’ve got a couple of other “defunkifying” products, as well.)
Whether or not you’re eco-conscious about your detergent, here’s the most important thing to know: This stuff works.
I started with a few of the individual wash packets as a test, then bought a jar of the product, which I’ve now been using for a couple of months. No more need to mix in the vinegar; Defunkify active wash knocks out the odor and gets my gear clean and ready to go the next time out. —J.M.
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—John Marsh & The RBR Team
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.