General Cycling Discussion - Fabric softener, shorts and wicking properties of tech synthetic material. . .
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Just a couple of months ago I purchased some "wicking" synthetic t-shirts and fleece overshirts, and a Polarfleece jacket. They all say to NOT use fabric softener (because it may mess up the materials' wicking abilities).
Now, thinking about this, I realize that I have not used fabric softener on my cotton towels for years for precisely this same reason. I like towels to "instantly" suck water off my body when I am drying myself and fabric softener on towels inhibits this action.
Pondering upon this, a light came on! BINK! I have stopped using fabric softener on my cycling shorts and have noticed that the chamois in each keeps me much more dry.
I respectfully suggest you each try this and let me know if it works for you, especially with the upcoming "sweaty season."
04-23-05, 05:10 PM
I've wondered about that, too. At first I thought that the fabric softener might damage the material. However, I've noticed that the fabric seems to work better with no softener. It feels less "chalky" without the softener, too.
I Read the fabric softener reduces the life of most fabrics - so i tend not to use it.
Also I prefer not to use a dryer - so dryer sheets do me no good.
04-23-05, 11:49 PM
i use no fabric softener, and no dryer sheets. my clothes will last forever! HAHAHAHAH!
I DO use the dryer though, but not for my cycling clothes. They are usually already dry or almost dry just by going through the spin cycle in the washing machine! Hooray for synthetic material!
Just wondering - if fabric softener hurts the wicking properties, what about the various stuff, like bag balm, etc, you but on to reduce shorts chafing? Wouldn't that affect wicking any place it contacts the short material padding?
I've been using a very good Woolite like product, Sport-wash. They've had some tests done by Clemson University regarding their product vs detergents. Some boring stuff, but the bottom line is:
" Washing Performance Fabrics with ordinary laundry detergents destroys the very properties that you are trying to restore. Detergent residue is the chemical scum deposited on the fabric with every washing. In about 10 washings it reaches 2 % of the weight of the fabric. It consists of Perfume, Ultra-Violet Brightening Dyes, Salts, Surfactants, Processing Aids, Washing Machine Lubricants, and a variety of Oils, Fats, and Polymers to glue it all to the fabric. This stiffens the fabric by binding the fibers together. Now Fabric Softener is added to reduce stiffness adding more residue."
I've also been using a no name substitue for Woolite from the supermarket with good results.
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