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The Ultimate Guide for Washing Cycling Clothing

June 27, 2023

Cycling is not only fun but it’s an excellent form of exercise. For one thing, it comes with several health benefits. Not only will it increase your flexibility, but it’ll also help you build muscle strength.

If you do it regularly, it’ll also lower your risk of certain diseases such as obesity, arthritis, and diabetes.

Popular Cycling Gear Brands


Pearl iZUMi is a Japanese brand that manufactures sports apparel. Most of their products are geared towards mountain biking, road cycling, and triathlon.


how to wash cycling clothesBontrager develops cycling components for the bicycle manufacturer, Trek Bicycle Corporation, a company that acquired Bontrager Cycles in the late 90s.


Giant, aka Giant Bicycles, is the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles. Based in Taiwan, the company also has facilities in China and the Netherlands.

Louis Garneau

Louis Garner is a well-known manufacturer of cycle wear. As of 2024, the company operates a number of boutiques across Canada.


Shimano is a manufacturer of cycling components. Based in Japan, they have a history that extends back to the 1920s. Aside from cycling gear, they also sell fishing and rowing equipment.


Giro is a subsidiary of Vista Outdoor. Headquartered in California, the brand sells a variety of cycling equipment including shoes, apparel, helmets, and more.


Specialized is a U.S. company that sells bicycles and cycling components. Over the years, they’ve collaborated with many professional cyclists including Loic Bruni, Lea Davison, Jaroslav Kulhavy, and Sam Gaze, to name a few.

How to Wash Cycling Clothes

Cycling clothes, such as jerseys, are typically made of synthetic fabrics, which can be machine-washed or washed by hand.

Machine Washing Your Cycling Clothes

Turn your cycling clothes inside out before washing them. That will prevent the colors from fading and make it easier to wash away the sweat and dirt that’s trapped on the inside.

how to wash cycling jerseysWhile you can wash them with other clothes, avoid washing them together with items that have zippers or velcro as those types of hardware can snag and damage the fabric. We also recommend putting your cycling clothes in a mesh wash bag as it’ll offer another layer of protection.

Add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder to the tub and wash your cycling garments on a cold cycle on the gentlest setting (most modern washing machines have a delicate or gentle cycle).

Avoid fabric softeners – they will affect the fabric’s ability to pull moisture from the skin.

Take your clothes out of the machine once the wash cycle is complete and hang them on a clothesline to dry. Do not put them in the dryer – the fabric will quickly deteriorate in the high heat.

Hand Wash Your Cycling Clothes

Turn your cycling clothes inside out and set them aside.

Fill a sink or basin with cold water. Add a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder and mix it with the water. Once the detergent is dissolved, put your clothes in.

You can easily wash several items at once – just try not to overload the sink and make sure that all of the fabric is submerged in the detergent mixture. Allow everything to sit and soak for at least 15 minutes.

Gently rub the fabric with your hands to loosen any debris and rinse off the detergent with clean water (either under the faucet or in a separate container).

Place the cycling jersey on a clean surface and pat it with a towel to remove the excess water before air drying on a rack of clothesline.

How to Wash Your Bike Jacket

Putting Your Bike Jackets In the Washer

cycling jacket washing instructionsYes, you can put your jacket in the washer. Before you load it in, though, make sure to zip it up fully – that will prevent the zipper from snagging and damaging the rest of your laundry. You also want to secure any velcro.

We also recommend turning the jacket inside out to protect logos and graphics.

Pro-tip: For the best results, avoid washing your cycling jacket with coarse items such as jeans.

Add a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent to the washing machine tub and run a delicate cycle. Choose a delicate cycle with cold water. Avoid hot water – it can cause the fabric to shrink.

Avoid fabric conditioners – they will hinder the jacket’s ability to pull perspiration from the skin. White vinegar is a better option if you want to soften your jacket. Do not use bleach as that can damage the clothing material.

Take your cycling jacket out as soon as the cycle is finished and let it air dry on a clothesline; you can also use a drying rack. Do not tumble dry – the direct heat from the machine can damage the technical fibers.

Hand Washing Your Cycling Jacket

You can also wash your cycling jacket by hand in a tub. Start by filling it with cool water and mix in a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent.

Turn the jacket inside out and place it in the solution – the entire thing should be completely saturated.

Allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes, longer if it’s excessively dirty.

Gently wash the jacket by massaging the fabric with your fingers. When you’re finished, remove the dirty water and rinse the jacket under the sink until all of the soap suds are gone. Hang it up on a clothesline to dry. Do not put it in the dryer – even the low heat setting can damage the materials.

Easiest Way to Clean Your Bike Helmet

how to clean cycling helmetsThe outer part of your helmet is easy to clean – simply wipe it with a damp cloth or sponge. If necessary, use a little bit of mild soap.

Cleaning the inside requires a bit more work. Mix a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent with warm water in a tub or sink and place your helmet in.

Using your hands, gently scrub the surface, paying extra attention to the pads and straps. Do a few extra rinse. Allow it to air dry afterward in a clean, dry location. Do not put it under direct sunlight – the rays can deform the material.

Note: You should never machine wash your helmet. The inner pads, however, can be removed and tossed in the washer (preferably in a laundry bag).

How to Clean & Deodorize Cycling Shoes

Fill a container with warm water and mix in a small amount (1/2 to 1 scoop) of ACTIVE Detergent. Dip an old toothbrush into the solution and use it to remove any dirt or mud from the surface.

how to wash cycling shoesWipe dry with a clean cloth or paper towel before rinsing the brush with clean water and using it to clean the soles. Avoid putting your bike shoes in the washing machine.

Depending on the model of your shoes, you might also be able to remove and wash the insoles separately. If that’s the case, be sure to put the insoles in a mesh laundry bag before washing.

Best Laundry Detergent for Cycling Clothing

ACTIVE Detergent is ideal for cycling gear. It’s specially formulated for athletic clothing and contains plant-based enzymes that are capable of eliminating oils, sweat, and debris all of which can get trapped within the technical fibers.

Not only that but it also comes with chelating agents that will extend the life of your items. On top of all that, it’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, making it the ideal choice for your cycling kit!

Washing Your Cycling Kit – FAQs

Can you machine wash your cycling clothes with white vinegar?

You can add white vinegar to the washing machine for extra deodorizing power. Simply pour one cup into the tub – run an extra rinse cycle if necessary.

What’s the best way to dry cycling clothes?

We highly recommend air drying your cycling clothes – that includes jackets, bib shorts, and other garments. You want to avoid using the dryer as the high temperatures can cause the fibers to deteriorate prematurely.

Since the garments are made of synthetic fabrics, the drying time shouldn’t be too long even if you air dry the items.

Is it better to hand wash your cycling jackets and tops?

Yes, hand washing is gentler than machine washing and is less likely to damage your clothes. For the best results, let the items air dry afterward.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

Comment (1)

  • Sarah Packer Reply

    My son is an avid biker, so I wanted tips on cleaning his jerseys and work out clothes. I didn’t know handwashing your jerseys with cold water will make them last longer. I’ll have to keep that in mind, so when I find him quality biking apparel that he likes, I can wash in the right way that won’t fade the color, thanks to this post!

    August 8, 2019 at 9:07 am

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