Cycling garments–jersey, shorts, socks, gloves, arm and leg warmers, etc.–are probably the most delicate articles of clothing you own. Just how to do go about caring for them so that they last long and look their best along the way?
Cycling Garments and Their Care
To be sure you are getting the most from your investment in cycling garments, follow some basic precautions for longer product life.
After returning from your ride, it is best to get out of your clothing and allow them to dry. This would mean avoid dropping them off in a pile while moist from sweat. Hang or lay your clothes somewhere to air dry. If your clothes are dirty from mud or something like that, it would be a good idea to rinse the clothing out before allowing them to dry.
It is very important to clean this properly as it is nestled closely to the skin and collects bacteria. To help avoid saddle sores, wash your shorts–or, at least, rinse this area thoroughly– after every ride. It is a good idea not to stay long after your ride in moist and damp shorts–this is especially crucial for those of us that ride commando style.
Closing all the velcro, zippers, buttons, and turning the clothing inside-out–which helps to preserve the logos and prints–are good for reducing unnecessary wear. Washing these articles of clothing with like materials that require a delicate process is an added safety measure.
Detergents should be mild and preferably lacking fabric softeners, conditioners, stain removers or bleaching agents. These will only affect the garment performance negatively shortening life cycle.
Although most of us will likely choose the washing machine to clean our garments, you may find that impractical as you are likely to only have a handle full of items that require washing and can’t justify running the machine for that. Hand washing is a much better approach and more economical.
Some care tags suggest that the dryer can be used on low settings for drying your garments. However, air drying offers less agitation and slow drying with natural air temperature will greatly extend the life and appearance of your clothes.
In the end, cycling garments can be pricey particularly if you are interested in better than average quality and style. While higher quality products may not always mean better. With this in mind, the care of these garments is essential to maintain and protect your investment in quality cycling garments.