The clothes off a homeless person probably smell better than your riding gear after a day of riding. Make it a hot day and you'll not only happily remove all the gear but never want to put it back on.
Not to worry. All riding gear washes just fine but following a few pointers ensures a thorough cleansing and regular use for many rides in the future.
Riding gear comprises anything you wear while riding and anything worn riding gets sweaty and dirty. Pants, jersey, helmet and even goggles rack up the filth and need cleaning before heading out for the next ride. Of course, you can leave as is but don't expect a pleasant afternoon the next time out. Even premix won't overpower the odor from what emanates out of your helmet. So let's run down the line of what to wash and how to wash it.
Pants, Jersey and Gloves
Your "uniform" probably consists of a blend of fabrics but mostly polyester and perhaps some leather for the flex zones. So follow the instructions on the tag but it's a good bet you can clean the pants, jersey and gloves in a washing machine along with your regular street clothes. If you've had a muddy day, wash off the chunks and heavily soiled areas before throwing in the washer.
It's up to you on whether you toss them in the dryer but the fabric is so light and often mesh for breathability that an hour or so on a clothes line is likely enough to get them dry. You won't risk fading or shrinking by air drying, either.
Throw this into the washing machine too. Kidding, kidding. The helmet is where many riders fall short in terms of cleaning. Remove the liner! This laps up all your sweat. Use a mild detergent and water and wash like an air filter. Let it air dry. Wash the inside and outside of your helmet with soap and mild detergent. Don't use anything harsh, it could ruin the helmet.
Some riders like waxing the outside which isn't a bad idea, either. It gives it a layer of protection and keeps it shiny too. Helmet Fresh or Helmet Care Spray on the inside is also a good idea to kill residual bacteria and keep your lid smelling clean.
Use simple green or other mild detergent with water. A scrub brush works well for heavily soiled boots. Remove anything on the inside like the footbed or inner booties for hand washing. Once clean, place your boots upside down to drain or use a boot dryer for a quick and thorough drying.
The easiest of the bunch. Pop the lens out and wash with mild soap, rinse the frame and strap. Towel off and let the strap air dry.
Other Protective Gear
Most additional protection like knee braces and chest protectors have plastic construction so a simple hosing off works well after riding and letting them air dry. Protection like ankle braces, shoulder support or anything made of fabric probably work OK in the washing machine but check the label first. It might be best to hand wash or hose off well to remove sweat build-up rather than risk damage in a spin cycle.
As you can see, cleaning riding gear is much easier and faster than getting your dirt bike ready for the next ride day. And if you neglect this aspect of "maintenance"? Well, it's hardly like forgetting to change the oil but the next time out you probably won't soon forget.
Written By: AndrewT