Bike clothes & mixing your laundry

Ron the Spinengineer ponders the question, “Does everyone mix their cycling clothes with the rest of their laundry?”

Cleaning instructions

How about it, athletes? Do you launder your disgusting, sweat infused workout wear with all of your normal laundry? Or do you segregate and wash them on their own?

[poll id=”4″]


  1. Its not just the stink, but the difference in fabrics. I never use fabric softeners with hi tech athletic wear.

  2. My “bike clothes” are regular clothes. I don't race or pretend to. I just ride to work, store, pub, etc.

  3. We separate out “workout clothes” (my bike kit, my wife's dance kit, swimsuits, etc.) into it's own wash, referred to as a “lycra load”, if only for the alliteration.

    It's less about the stink, though. Most of this stuff–coolmax and lycra blends and what-not–are tagged as “don't wash with fabric softener.” The lycra load was created for those things, but other things have been known to make their way in (if there is something we need clean and the lycra load is the one we can best justify doing…).

  4. In my case I wash all technical clothing together. I care more about my bike clothes than my regular street wear and treat them better and with more care. Smaller loads, low impact washing, special detergents.

  5. In addition to the technical fabrics, I have a lot of wool bike stuff… so it all goes in a special load, super-gentle cycle (my machine actually has a “sport” cycle) with gentle cleansers — either Woolite or Sportwash. The bike clothes seem to last longer with this treatment.

  6. I throw 'em in with the regular wash…I don't have any stink issues to worry about, and I don't use fabric softener. The only concession I make for my lycra-warrior ware is to put them in one of those mesh “delicates” bags. This keeps all that high-tech fabric from getting chewed up by zippers and velcro strips on the rest of our clothes.

  7. I wash everything together in cold water with Woolite and hang-dry everything not cotton, which keeps my athletic socks looking their greyest but who looks at my socks anyway.

  8. I wash my high-tech synthetic fabrics by themselves, partly to avoid fabric softeners, but mostly so that when necessary I can soak them in a vinegar solution for a while, which does a decent job at killing the stink (at least temporarily).

  9. Yes, of course I sweat…come summertime, I get sweaty by the end of the block. Nothing ever stinks, though. I'm like the main character in Suskind's “Perfume”…utterly devoid of bodily odors.

    Regular clothes for the commute, warrior-ware for the really fun athleticky stuff.

  10. Soak your plastic ware in 70/30 Isopropyl alcohol. The osmotic pressure difference kills the bacteria. (100% won't do it.) Then soap and water to remove the polysaccharide biofilm.

    Check to see if the clothes dye is safe in the alcohol first.

  11. It all goes in together but most of my synthetic riding clothes air dry. I used to be a plain clothes mountain biker but have come around to believing in my riding gear. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age?

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