Win Detergent, specifically designed for performance synthetic fabrics, works very well in cutting the dirt, grime and oily residue that bactieria feed on to create that “synthetic clothing stink” that we all loath…
$200 Jerseys… $400 Bib shorts… And you’re washing them like $3 underwear? Get a clue!
We’ll drop thousands on a bike, and it’s pretty hard these days to not wear $500 – $1000 worth of kit as we roll around town. We all know that if we don’t maintain the bike properly, it winds up working poorly. The same holds true with kit as using the wrong products on your clothes will not only damage them, you’ll plainly smell bad as well.
I like top flight kit as it tends to last. The bulk of my older bike clothes are from the Swiss folks as they build with a priority on quality that’s lacking in many “fashion” brands. But new or old, expensive or cheap, you need the proper care.
Regardless of the quality of your clothing, if it’s not properly maintained, it will last a fraction of the time it should.
Using fabric softener on most modern chamois for instance and you’ll cut the life of the product by half or more depending on the manufacturer. Even without it falling apart, the foam cells break down and the pad will not be as springy or supportive in short order.
The same goes with the detergent of choice. Use something too harsh and you’ll break down the fabrics, the elastics and the gripper materials.
Simply put, you have no business washing your synthetic bike or active wear with the same stuff that you wash the rest of your clothes.
That Group-Ride Smell
Also worth mention is that your work out kit can not only physically break down using the wrong cleaning solutions, it will also simply smell bad.
Every group ride I’ve been in has the same odor. It’s like a rolling hockey locker-room.
The reason for that is simple and the reason Win knocks this out is simple too, so to save us both a crap-load of time, watch this…
That’s a fairly simple explanation… Oil gets trapped by synthetics and regular detergents don’t break the oil bond. Bacteria eat the oil and you smell the gas they expel.
But does this Win stuff work?
Yep. I wound up digging into some older, well used kit and frankly it didn’t take long for me to pull out a pile of “clean” kit that smelled like bacteria-fart… (really, I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing what that smell actually is.)
I pulled out a large amount of both cycling and running/workout clothing and split it into two loads of similar size and virtually identical smell.
The first load went into the washer with the Win Blue “Fresh Scent” stuff.
After hang drying, a “Fresh scent” permeated the load versus the clean stink/bacteria-fart scent they had before washing (again, these were clothes that had been washed since their last use).
Before washing the second load, I compared the scent of the first to the second and there was a big difference in smell between the two loads. One good / one bad.
The second load went in and I used my everyday clothing detergent (I don’t use any fabric softeners with active wear) and the same drying.
This time after hanging dry, the second load kept the bulk of their bacteria fart smell.
I decided to let the two loads sit for a couple of days and see if the smells would change over time and to see if the Win Detergent load would revert back to the old stink. The first load’s “fresh scent” diminished somewhat but it was still easily present and none of the bad odor had crept back in. Note that the “Fresh Scent” is not a strong scent to begin with but it was still there, just a little less pronounced.
The second load that was washed with normal detergent gained more of the same bacteria-fart odor it had prior to washing. It basically smelled the same as it had before washing.
With that odor coming back, I tossed the second load back into the wash, this time with Win’s Fresh Scent detergent and the results were the same as the first load. A light, fresh scent rather than bacteria fart.
I repeated the test with a third load of smelly kit using Win’s Green Fragrance and Dye free version.
The result for the fragrance free wash was better than expected.
I assumed that the “Fresh Scent” version might mask some of the bad odor but that a “Fragrance Free” option might not mask the smell.
In this load, a few of the items were extra smelly (especially a couple of skull caps) but after washing, everything came out with almost no scent.
The scull caps only had a very faint odor and I had to stuff my nose into them and inhale in order to detect it. The rest of the load had no scent at all except for the material smell that some new kit has when you first buy it. Basically the fragrance free detergent left the load without any smell at all.
Any secrets to washing?
Nope. Nothing special here… I just did a cold water wash. But note that the low temps here in Phoenix right now are in the 70-80 range so my “cold” wash is likely to be similar in temp to “warm” water wash cycles for a lot of areas.
I simply tossed in the clothes, measured off the detergent and added it to the washer’s auto dispenser, pressed “normal” cycle and let the machine wash the clothes.
Regardless of what your clothes cost, it was likely too much to shorten their life span using harsh detergents that can harm the fabric’s elasticity or color or damage the foam in your chamois.
Another good article on the dangers of washing workout clothes is found over at Shape.com: Washing Workout Clothes. But it’s not exactly practical to soak your clothes in Vinegar or go through many steps, and standard detergents just don’t do the same job of getting the oil out, so while your washing machine might smell better, your workout clothes are still not getting as clean as they should be following that articles advice.
There are other active wear cleansers out there, but Assos cleanser (that has maintained some cycling kit very well for many years) costs almost 4 times what you’ll pay going to Amazon and buying Win.
There are a couple of other products that I’ve tried and they range from less effective results (using a product called “Sport Wash”), to working well but costing twice what Win does (Sport Suds).
It’s available now at Amazon and you’ll spend between 29 and 33 cents a load for Win buying either a 4 pack of bottles for $38, or a single bottle for $10.95. You’ll use an ounce per load and a bottle contains 32 OZ.
At those prices and given Amazon’s ease of use, I’ll be washing all of my workout gear with better care using this stuff.
You can see more detail at WinDetergent.com
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