Dangers of Cycling are not Always on the Road
If your kit looks like this,
Or smells like this
IT'S TIME TO CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
Laundering Your Kit
The dangers of cycling are not always on the road but on your back. Your kit/jersey/shorts are a great breading ground of bacteria. There are as many ways to clean your cycling clothes as there are tablets in a large bottle of aspirin. Each kit or individual piece of cycling clothes you buy comes with its own instructions for cleaning written on the tag on the back side of the collar. You might want to read that before doing anything. Take a few extra precautions, your kit can last a long time. Here are some tried and true tips.
WASHING There are a few choices here. Some riders like to wash their kits exclusively by hand claiming it’s easier on the fabric therefore making it last longer. But a washing machine works well too.
WASHING MACHINE TIPS Some riders prefer to throw their kit in the washing machine, use these tips to keep from ruining your expensive cycling clothes
DRYING AFTER WASHING More choices here. Clothing can be air dried outside or on a drying rack or use a dryer. There are proponents of each method. When using a dryer choose a low temperature setting or a no heat air fluff.
A quick word about oil & grease stains. Sooner or later this will happen. If caught in the rain, the “stripe” up your back is largely from grease & oil that’s deposited on the road by cars. A good, almost foolproof way to get the stain out is to spray it until the spot is soaked with full strength “Simple Green.” Let it sit for a minute or two, then toss it in the washer.
One last important thing...Don’t forget gloves, skull cap, sweat bands, etc. Those items can get foul and stinky really fast.
Cleaning Your Helmet
Okay, your kits are clean but when you put your helmet on it smells like a pile of dirty socks in a locker room!
This is easy. See those soft foam pads inside your helmet? They are held in there by Velcro. Just peel them off by hand, put them in a saucepan filled with warm or hot water. This is easy to do in the kitchen sink. Use Dawn or any liquid dish detergent, swish them around a bit, let them sit in there for a few minutes. Take them out of the pan, wring them out and let then air dry.
But wait! There’s more. What about the straps? Fill the saucepan with HOT water and dish detergent. Set the helmet on the pan and let the straps dangle in the soapy water. Use a brush like a nail brush, scrub the straps, wipe with a paper towel and you’re finished.
Cleaning Your Water Bottles
The bottle itself is no problem. Bottles can go in the dishwasher on the top rack. It does a better job than washing them by hand. The lids are more likely to harbor mold and germs.
There are a few types of lids. One you pull up to open it, and the other type is like a nozzle.
The soft nylon spout on a Camelback comes off with a firm pull making it easy to clean. Use the same method as with the pull up. A toothbrush will fit inside the nozzle. Rinse it with water and you’re finished. Do not use bleach. It’s a very harsh chemical and there’s a good chance you’ll never get the smell out of your bottle.
One last thought for anyone who is getting bored staying at home or simply wanting a dedicated machine for bike clothes. Take a look at this bicycle powered washing machine.