TANDEM  Diversity



                            Lycra and the Washing Machine

This may seem to be a pretty simple and boring subject, but it is one that has occupied me off and on for years - specifically how to deal with lycra cycling garments and, to state it bluntly, the sweat stink that gets into them and won't come out. I think you all know what I mean. No matter who you are or how delicate you might be, your cycling jerseys are likely to get pretty rank pretty quickly. Other clothes, too, like shorts and arm warmers, etc. Personally, I've tried all sorts of remedies over the years. I started off by hanging jerseys to dry out in the sun. That theory was that uv light would neutralize the odor of the sweat. No dice. Next I tried all sorts of detergents and additives like Oxyclean. Better but not satisfactory. Next I tried washing the clothes in vinegar. Nope. Next I tried a product specifically designed to launder lycra garments, specifically to get the sweat odor out. There are several brands available, online and at running stores, at least in our area. I tried one I bought online at Amazon. Interestingly the product smelled really bad, but it did do a better job than laundry detergent and additives alone. Better but still not good enough. Next I tried washing the clothes with laundry detergent and Oxyclean, on a regular cycle, followed by drying, in the dryer, with a dryer sheet from Full Circle. This seemed to have worked ok for a while, but really not, and soon enough the clothes were stinking again, usually after just one use and sometimes during the first wearing.

I might note here that I also had been having similar problems with sport shirts from Columbia, purchased at REI.

So, it was back to the drawing board and back to doing lots of research on the web. Here's where things stand now, and I must say this seems to be working ok. Here's what I do:

1) Wash the garments, turned inside out,  in cold water, with cold rinse, and with an extra rinse.

2) Use sport specific detergent, and only the amount specified by the manufacterer.

    I have tried two sport detergents: Sport Suds, and Nathan's Sport Wash (both are available from Amazon).



3) Hang up to air dry - no dryer.

This procedure so far seems to be working pretty well, better anyway than anything else I tried in the past. It may take several washes to get the smell out, by the way. As always, your results may vary, and be sure to share any secrets you have found over the years!

By Mark Owings, updated August 7, 2016