How To Care For Lycra Cycling Clothing
Before you just throw those new bib shorts and that new jersey into the washing machine, stop and think about what you’re about to do.
Lycra clothing, especially some of the newer, mesh-ier stuff, can be easily damaged in the wash.
Most manufacturers recommend you hand wash your clothes to avoid damaging them, but who really has time for that?
Just follow these simple steps below, and you’ll save some time and get more life out of your new investment.
Don’t just throw your cycling clothing in with your everyday laundry. Cycling clothes need to be washed on a more gentle washing setting than your jeans and t-shirts.
2. Bag ‘Em and Zip ‘Em
Always put your bib shorts into mesh laundry bags (aka lingerie bags) and zip up your jerseys.
Washing machines are notoriously hard on bib shorts, especially machines with a center spindle. The bib straps can wrap around the spindle or get wrapped up with other clothing, which not only causes a tangled mess, but will stretch them out and tear them. Putting them in a laundry bag will ensure they get clean, but won’t get all tangled up in everything else. We also always zip up our jerseys, to prevent the zippers from damaging other clothing items or getting damaged themselves (and always check the pockets for tools, wrappers, etc…)
3. Set It Right
Cold water. “Delicates” setting.
Cold water is easier on clothing, and the delicates setting uses a lower spin speed and gentler washing motion that won’t damage meshy panels or stretch out lycra shorts.
4. Pre-wash and Extra Rinse
Using the “pre-wash” setting on most washers can help get that truly funkadelic smell out of your clothes. And the extra rinse helps really wash out any detergent residue that can clog up the clothing fibers, ruining the breathability of space-age fabrics.
5. Air Dry
If you do nothing else, never, ever put cycling clothing into the clothes dryer. That is the fastest way to ruin your new investment. Instead, hang them out on a clothes rack. Thanks to the quick drying material most cycling clothes are made with, they should dry in about a day. In a pinch, they’ll also air dry fairly quickly on your body.
6. Warmers, Vests and Accessories
You probably don’t need to wash these every time you ride. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. The more you wash them, the more stretched out they’ll get. We usually wash our warmers every 3-4 rides, depending on how hot we get.