You’ve just gone and bought some great new riding clothing, and it’s looking all new and tidy. But how do you keep it looking that way and extend the life of your new pieces?
Riding clothing can get a bit of a hard life. It gets muddy and sweaty and therefore needs to be washed more frequently than other items of clothing. Many technical riding tops and pants are made from a polyester fabric that’s great for breathability and odour management, and the moisture wicking fabric helps to keep you cool. Polyester is a more delicate fabric than your regular denim or cotton, so it’s important to ensure you are looking after your gear correctly. Here’s a few tips on how to look after your riding gear that we at Bike Otago swear by!
Wash it Straight Away
While it can be tempting to get home from a ride, and sit down to relax, it’s important to get your gear in the wash quickly. Dirt and bacteria can build up on the clothing causing those nasty lingering odors. If the clothing sits around at the bottom of the wash basket for too long, not only will it not smell too flash, but the bacteria actually begins to break down the structure of the clothes. Just another reason to wash straight away!
Zip Everything Up
If there are any zips or velcro fastenings on your gear, make sure you do these up before popping them in the wash. This ensures any sharp edges can’t catch, creating pulls in the fabric. If you are washing tops and pants together, it can be a good idea to invest in a wash bag to keep the items separate while they are in the wash.
Wash it Separately and on a Delicate Setting
Separate your riding clothes from your regular gear, and ensure you always wash in cold or cool water. If the water is too hot, it can damage the fibres in the clothing and begin to break down the elasticity in the fabric. If you can, also opt for a delicate setting and make sure you skip any fabric softeners.
Don’t Put Riding Gear in the Dryer
As tempting as it might be to get your gear dry quickly by tossing it in the dryer for a few minutes, this really is a no-no. Too much heat around the delicate fabric of the garments can cause them to break down quicker, shortening the length of their life. It’s best to dry your riding gear outside on the line or indoors on a clothes rack. If you really really must dry it in the drier, make sure you are doing so on the lowest heat possible (or choose the delicates setting), and don’t make a habit of drying your gear this way.
Of course it’s always important to read the tag on each item of clothing, as different fabrics require different wash cycles. Always make sure you never iron or use bleach on any of your gear!