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  1. #1
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    How often should I wash my bike shorts?? and gloves??

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm new to cycling and have 3 pairs of bike shorts. Is it ok to use them more than once before washing for short rides?? 10-20 mile rides

    Also wondering how often I should wash my gloves... I'm riding 80-100 miles a week and wash them once a week

    don't know if there are infection or bacteria issues that I should be worrying about

    I'm cleaning out my bike once a week

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtySanchez View Post
    Hey Everyone,

    I'm new to cycling and have 3 pairs of bike shorts. Is it ok to use them more than once before washing for short rides?? 10-20 mile rides

    Also wondering how often I should wash my gloves... I'm riding 80-100 miles a week and wash them once a week

    don't know if there are infection or bacteria issues that I should be worrying about

    I'm cleaning out my bike once a week

    Thanks
    Young people with thick skin might cheat a few times, but I can't risk it anymore. If I don't keep my chamois clean, I'll get pimples in places that'll put a crimp in my cycling regimen.

    So I wash the shorts out after every ride, summer or winter. Amazing how much dirt comes out of them in the water after only a 15 or 20 mile ride! I just throw em in the sink and let em soak while I take a shower. Drip dry. Takes another five minutes. I always have clean shorts for the next ride.

    Also wash headsweats and skull caps every ride. Dirty ones give me dandruff.

    Gloves? Meh. When they start to smell funky. Sure, about 80-100 miles. Bike clean and chain lube 100-150 miles, depending on what kind of weather it went through.

  3. #3
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    If possible, get extra shorts for everyday of the week. After most rides,I usually throw my gear in laundry along with other items, hang dry and rotate. If it was an easy 20 miles, I dont mind wearing the shorts a second time. I have about 3 pairs of shorts I really like. I use the others when I havent done laundry.

    As for gloves i wash mine once a month unless they get really dirty or after a ride in the rain.
    2012 Specialized Tarmac SL3 - Race Black HTC2

  4. #4
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    Yeah, don't skimp on the glove washing - they can harbour germs and mould and get just as disgusting as any other piece of bike clothing.

  5. #5
    DL1
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    I am a bit sceptical that there is any connection between washing cycling clothes (or not washing them) and any sort of health risk.

  6. #6
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    infection or bacteria with shorts is def. possible.. most common is jock itch, which is fairly gross and uncomfortable. some chamois cream (assos) has some antibacterial properties, but why risk it. I can't afford more than a few pairs of bibs so they get washed often. gloves i don't sweat really, unless i'm using them to wipe a runny nose. my reasoning is the hand have harder. dryer skin and don't seem prone to infection.

  7. #7
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    Wash shorts after every ride. Your crotch has it tough as it is,
    Just ride.

  8. #8
    Lincolns!
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    Relax... Wash them when a stripe appears. Or, just turn them inside out. Why should only one side of your chamois have all the glory of rubbing against your crotch?

  9. #9
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    I wash mine right after every ride so they are ready next time. Its so frustrating when you are loading up to ride and something isnt clean. Oh and believe me, even if its a short ride you can tell it.....we had a guy that everyone avoided since the stinch was so bad haha.

  10. #10
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    Depends if you wear your briefs on the inside or outside of the shorts.

  11. #11
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    Question: What is the diff between wearing your shorts for a single 6 hour ride and wearing them for four 1.5 hr rides? One difference is they get a chance to dry and air out between the 1.5 hr rides. YMMV

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tindrum View Post
    infection or bacteria with shorts is def. possible.. most common is jock itch, which is fairly gross and uncomfortable. some chamois cream (assos) has some antibacterial properties, but why risk it. I can't afford more than a few pairs of bibs so they get washed often. gloves i don't sweat really, unless i'm using them to wipe a runny nose. my reasoning is the hand have harder. dryer skin and don't seem prone to infection.
    however, jock-itch is not a bacterial issue it is fungal, which has zero bearing on the original question at all. I wash my shorts when they are dirty, one ride, or three.......If you are NOT washing them after each ride, make sure you allow them to air out and DRY properly between rides.....putting wet shorts on at 6 o'clock in the morning for another 7 hour ride just plain SUCKS...HOWEVER wet from being washed is far superior to being wet from the sweat and salt absorbing moisture from the air!
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right......

  13. #13
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    Wow... never realized it was even a question up for debate. There are some things that just get washed after a single use - socks, underwear, bike shorts, jersey or base layer. I guess personal hygiene is just that - a personal thing.

    Regarding the "What is the diff between wearing your shorts for a single 6 hour ride and wearing them for four 1.5 hr rides?" When you get out of the shower, do you decide if you're going to rewear yesterday's underwear based on how many hours you were awake?

    "Funk" (bacteria, odor, etc.) does not develop in a single 6 hour ride. Over 4 days of 1.5 hour rides, well... give it a shot and see what ya grow down there.

  14. #14
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    I wash my shorts and gloves by how many miles Iíve ridden. Like the original poster I ride 70-100 mi per week. I wash my shorts and gloves every 100 mi or so which is generally about once a week. If I do longer rides they get washed more often. I have never had any butt problems doing this (after about forty years of cycling). Iím actually more concerned about the gloves since Iím always wiping my nose with the glove.

  15. #15
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    Let's clarify - you guys are going commando under the shorts, right? And you're wearing them multiple times without washing?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    When you get out of the shower, do you decide if you're going to rewear yesterday's underwear based on how many hours you were awake?
    Sort of. The decision whether or not to re-wear underwear is complex and depends on a number of factors. This shouldn't be approached lightly however, as it is a learned skill developed over many years of experience living in college dormitories and subsequent post graduate bachelorhood.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    "Funk" (bacteria, odor, etc.) does not develop in a single 6 hour ride. Over 4 days of 1.5 hour rides, well... give it a shot and see what ya grow down there.
    Perhaps. For me, one 6 hr ride generates more funk than four 1.5 hr rides...I suspect this is due to the previously mentioned drying and airing out periods the separate rides provide. A lot probably has to do with an individual's skin chemistry and personal flora as well.

  17. #17
    Darling of The Lounge
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    Washing my shorts, jersey, socks and gloves after every ride is standard practice for me. I also will spray Ozium air sanitizer inside my sweaty helmet for good measure.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Let's clarify - you guys are going commando under the shorts, right? And you're wearing them multiple times without washing?
    Yep, nothing underneath. 20 mi rides for multiple days (four or five rides) with no problems (including smell and I have a good nose). I also wash my helmet pads every two weeks or so to keep it from getting stinky. When younger I did a lot of bike touring (with wool shorts with real chamioux) and would put 500 miles (five days) before washing and again I had no problems. No jock itch, no saddle sores, just a tough butt I guess.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DL1 View Post
    I am a bit sceptical that there is any connection between washing cycling clothes (or not washing them) and any sort of health risk.
    your knowledge of microbes is sorely lacking.

    ever heard of 'jock itch'?

    Tinea cruris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    eff all y'all...

  20. #20
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    This topic is always fun when it comes up!
    I'm firmly in the wash shorts/socks/jersey each time I ride camp. I wash helmet pads and gloves every week or two, depending on time of year.

    SHOES are my big question- yes, I dry them, but they don't really get *washed* (except for my CX racing shoes)... and they certainly get sweaty- what do people do for their shoes?

  21. #21
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    I wash shorts after every ride, with this exception: I commute, and I wear the same shorts going home that I wore in the morning. The ride is only 1/2 hour, and I let the shorts air out during the day. I have enough pairs to wear a clean pair each day and then wash them all on the weekend.

    I really can't fathom the idea of wearing a pair of cycling shorts for a long ride, letting it sit for a day, and then putting it on for another ride. Letting the germs multiply and then grinding them into your skin again just seems like a bad idea.

    Gloves, I wash when they seem dirty. That depends on conditions. In the heat of summer it might be weekly, but they might go several weeks in cool weather. Same with helmet and pads.

  22. #22
    DL1
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Letting the germs multiply and then grinding them into your skin again just seems like a bad idea.
    Agreed, but I know people who have done some pretty extreme tours, where they haven't been able to wash themselves or their clothes for weeks on end, without suffering any skin problems.

  23. #23
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    Good grief, is it really that tough to wash your shorts? I have half a dozen pairs of bibs and wash mine after every wearing. Who wants saddle sores? Gloves are a little different--I came of age in the era of leather gloves and was not habituated to washing them...ever. Now I handwash my gloves with a little antibacterial soap every few wearings.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DL1 View Post
    Agreed, but I know people who have done some pretty extreme tours, where they haven't been able to wash themselves or their clothes for weeks on end, without suffering any skin problems.
    Undoubtedly true. Skin condition, resistance to infectious agents, immune system performance, etc. vary from one individual to another. The risk of infection for a given individual may be very low. It seems prudent to go the wear-and-wash route, given the low cost, but if circumstances made that difficult, many or most people would probably get away with it most of the time.

    I heard some expert on the radio the other day talking about the recent outbreak of listeria infections from cantaloupe. More than a hundred got sick, more than twenty have died (the toll will likely grow). But tens of thousands of people ate bacteria-laden fruit and didn't get sick.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DL1 View Post
    Agreed, but I know people who have done some pretty extreme tours, where they haven't been able to wash themselves or their clothes for weeks on end, without suffering any skin problems.
    Nothing is black and white. Always exceptions. I've known friends who have pushed the boundary on everything and survived just fine. Others not so much. I'm sure one could wear the same shorts for multiple rides with no ill effect, but why take the chance? Why ignore basic hygiene in todays world?

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