Caring For Cycling Kit

12 February, 2018

Kits are an investment made to last through our most epic adventures and plenty of miles. If your legs can handle it, your kit should be able to handle it too. Keeping up your favorite jersey with just the right amount of pockets, bibs with leg bands that do not squeeze too tightly, and gloves to match with a comfortable grip – the perfect cycling apparel, is priceless. While cycling kit can be pricey, just like your favorite pair of jeans or shoes, cycling kit comes with plenty of rules when it comes to caring for it. Follow these tips to ensure your kit looks sleek forever.
Check the labels first -  Read washing instructions on the labels in cycling clothing as each brand has a different set of instructions depending on the type of material they have. If you follow the directions given with the garment, it will have the best chance of living a long and productive life. 

Detergents - Do not use heavy detergents, fabric softners, dryer sheets with heavy perfumes or dyes when washing kit. Residue's from detergents or softener's can interfere with the fabric technology from doing their job like wicking moisture away or repelling rain. I tend to lean on cleaning my kit with Dr. Bronner's so that detergents on kit don't irritate my skin.

Machine Wash - I actually recommend machine washing kit since nothing gets rid of trail grime and sweat, and sanitizes like machine washing. Wash all your kits together. Bulky items like jeans, velcro, towels can destroy delicate fabrics like mesh. To keep the color and fabric in good shape, zip up kit and turn inside out to wash with delicates in cold or lukewarm water. In the long run, machine washing will actually help your apparel function better.

Hand Wash - If you can't get to machine cleaning your kit right away, hand wash or rinse and hang them inside out to dry when you get home. Even kit with great anti-bacterial material will stay damp with sweat if not able to breath and the longer cycling shorts and jerseys stay damp with sweat, the more likely, they are to grow odor-causing bacteria.
Drying - Again be sure to check your kits labels. Synthetic fiber garments and durable water repellent finishes on your kit have a “memory” that shapes to your body. Drying them in low heat will bring them back to their original state and may damage some of the material. Always best to air dry, especially items like gloves or shoe covers that have velcro and other material that may damage jersey's or shorts.
What if I'm touring? - Do not re-wear your bike clothes the next ride without a good wash. It may be tempting to throw on the same kit without a wash for a second day if you only have a few kit items. Even some high performing fabrics designed to transfer moisture away from the body and dry quickly can turn rancid on the surface if not washed after each use. Even worse, wearing the same bibs or shorts for a second day could result in rashes, chafing, and even infections in extreme cases. Always best to wash by hand with a natural soap and air dry overnight.
Other Tips: Check your pockets for extra money, snacks, or gels. Mesh lingerie bags also come in handy for washing cycling gear if they have delicate fabrics.

When you purchase good quality kit you're already one step ahead. Once you consider the garment specifications when checking out new cycling gear, keeping in mind the type of material and care of your kit to keep it in good shape and always looking like new.

Image Courtesy: 1. @andcarmelasays
Melicious said...

Is it weird that I actually enjoy caring for my kit? I'm super precious with it since I've spent an arm and two legs on it all. After a long, hard ride my pretty kit gets super gross and I love making it like new again - washing it separately in cold water on the delicate cycle, then hanging it up to dry. Tip: I add a bit of plain white vinegar to the rinse cycle (in the drawer where the fabric softener is supposed to go) and it helps kill germs and odors without having to use softener which breaks down the fabric.

christina said...


I do confess that you have great ideas for all kinds of cycling related things. Haven't tried white vinegar but it sounds like a good idea to try. Does it leave a vinegary smell?



Melicious said...

No, not at all! I know it sounds strange but the rinse cycle gets it all out. Just use a bit, like 1/4 cup.

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