Ride Bikes

Why pre-wash lycra with salt?


Why pre-wash lycra with salt?

Congratulations, you’ve bought a brand new riding kit. You pull it out the packaging and cut off the tags.

You think for a second, debating whether or not to wash it before you wear it. Then you notice something strange written on the tag:

“Pre-wash with a tablespoon of salt before wear.”

“Hand wash in cold water.”

“Do not tumble dry, line dry in shade.”


Why does something that is designed to be hard wearing and tough need to be and pampered during wash time?


Pre-washing with salt

Have you ever wondered why cycling gear needs to be washed with salt before use?

Apparently, by washing separately in cold water with salt it prolongs the colour intensity, so it doesn’t fade overtime. It makes the material colourfast and prevents staining (where colour bleeds onto other parts of the item or stains other clothes it comes into contact with).

I have done this before, and didn’t experience any fading or staining. But there have been plenty of times that I haven’t used salt during a pre-wash and I didn’t experience any problems then either…

If you are worried about the colour fading or staining, grab the salt shaker from the pantry and sprinkle it in water to pre-wash your kit before wear.


Hand washing bike clothes

The tags say that it should be hand washed separately in cold water. I confess, this is one thing that I never do.

You get home from a ride; the bike gear gets chucked into the wash pile covered in sweat and mud. The last thing you want to do is fill up a bucket with water and carefully hand-wash your clothes.

Sometimes the tag states it can be cold machine washed in a delicate items bag or on the delicate setting.

To be safe and not destroy your expensive new kit, it’s a good idea to machine-wash it on the delicate setting.

Drying bike clothes

The one rule that I do follow is “Do not tumble dry”. The dryer and I do not have a good relationship. I would never put expensive lycra or jerseys in the dryer, except if you want to shrink it for your kids to wear.

Hang it to dry on the clothesline in the shade. The elastic on lycra or the bottom of jerseys can become brittle if left in direct sunlight for too long.

How many tag instructions do you follow?


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