How to Clean Bicycle Shorts

How to Clean Bicycle Shorts
Proper bicycle shorts are critically important to your comfort in the saddle, whether you're a commuter, racer or intense, two-wheeled weekend warrior. When good bike shorts can easily cost upwards of $100, taking good care of them is both good sense and good hygiene. Remember, bike shorts are meant to be worn directly against the skin and are subject to as much sweat and condensation from the effort of biking as your bike jersey is.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Remove any inserts or padding from the bike shorts if possible. Turn the shorts inside out.
Step 2
Add a residue-free detergent to a washing machine set on the cool setting, or to a tub of cool water. Use baby detergent or a household detergent that has no additives like fabric softeners or perfumes.
Step 3
Place the cycle shorts in the washing machine and let them launder through the full cycle, or agitate and knead them briskly in the tub of water. Do the same with any inserts you removed from the shorts, washing them after the shorts themselves if you're working by hand.
Step 4
Hang the bike shorts, still inside-out, to drip dry. Once the insides are fully dry, reverse them so that they're right side out and let them dry further. You can speed drying by setting up a small fan to run across the bike shorts as they hang. Washed inserts can similarly be put on a baking rack, if you've nothing else at hand, to let air circulate as freely as possible around them as they dry.

Tips & Warnings

Wash bicycle shorts after every significant use. This means that regular commuters or frequent bikers will need at least two pairs of shorts so that one pair can be worn while the other is hang-drying.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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