How to Keep your Cycling Clothes Clean

A favorite jersey with just the right amount of pockets, cycling bibs with leg bands that don't squeeze too tigthly, and gloves to match with a comfortable grip – the perfect cycling apparel is priceless. But, just like your favorite pair of jeans or a silk blouse, biking gear comes with plenty of “do and don’ts” when it comes to keeping it clean. Read on to learn how to wash and care for your cycling garments.

Hand wash or machine wash?

If you read the care tags attached to your cycling apparel, most will recommend hand washing. Washing cycling clothes by hand will allow you to use minimal amounts of detergent while being super-gentle on garments with synthetic fibers, including durable water repellent finishes. But, we also know that sometimes the convience of using a washing machine is necessary. If you opt for machine washing, make sure to follow the tips below.


Wash in cold water (30° C / 85° F at most). Cold water will keep clothes looking brighter and retaining their shape longer.

Use low spin setting. Make sure to set your washer to delicate mode. This will extend the life of clothes.


Use detergents with heavy chemicals, perfumes or dyes. Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Bleach can destroy cycling clothing fibers. Residue from some detergents and softeners can cause buildup that keeps cycling apparel fabrics from doing their job: moving moisture away from your skin or repelling water.


Wash all your kits together. Bulky items like jeans and towels can destroy delicate fabrics.

Turn cycling shorts inside out, as well as any screenprinted jerseys.

Use mesh lingerie bags for washing cycling gear.

Zip up. If your jersey has zippers, zip them up. Ensure any other fasteners are closed, as well. These could get snagged on delicate mesh and other materials in cycling clothes.


Wash cycling clothing with anything that has open hook-and-loop fasteners. Open hook-and-loop fasteners will shred mesh and will pick the fabric of jerseys and shorts! Make sure any hook-and-loop fasteners are closed on gloves and other items or wash separately to be safe.

Forget to check your pockets. Energy gels and other snacks can make a big mess in the wash and ruin clothing.


Hang your jerseys and shorts when you get home. If you are not able to wash your garments right away, hang them instead of throwing them in a pile. Even with great cycling apparel technologies, the longer cycling shorts and jerseys stay damp with sweat, the more likely, they are to grow odor-causing bacteria.


Re-wear your bike clothes. It may be tempting to throw on the same kit for a second day if you only rode a short while the day before. Even though cycling apparel fabric made specifically to transfer moisture away from the body and dry quickly while riding, your sweat can turn rancid on the surface if not washed after each use. Even worse, wearing the same bibs or shorts for a second day could result in rashes, chafing, and even infections in extreme cases.

Use the dryer or hang to dry?

Most care labels will recommend laying your cycling garmets flat to dry. This is always the best method to ensure longevity and the best fit. But, what if you don't have the space or time? Hanging your garmets to dry is also acceptible. And, if you have to use the dryer, just make sure you use the lowest heat setting available.