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Thread: Smelly clothing

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    Smelly clothing

    Just started cycling long distances and I've noticed that my clothing stinks after a mile or two. I mostly wear cotton clothing. Right now in NYC its chilly and I wear a tee and a hoodie to school.
    The odor coming from the clothing during a ride smells "static-y" as my sister calls it, and lasts until I wash them.

    I'm pretty sure it's not my sweat because I work out and run on treadmills and I never have had this smell before doing those activities.

    Only other times I've had this smell was when I was young and I would run and play outside. Sometimes I could smell it on my sister when she did the same thing.

    I'm guessing wind and the sun is a big factor to the smell as I can also smell it on my jeans and sometimes my hair. My friend calls the smell "fresh air" but don't seem too fresh to me..

    I haven't bought any cycling clothing yet so don't know if it's the same deal with them too.

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    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Wool clothing, wicking clothing and adding vinegar when you wash your clothes will all help.

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    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Read this thread. It may help. --> http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-end-of-a-ride...
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  4. #4
    billyymc
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    Switch to synthetic fibers. That way you clothes won't smell after a mile or two. They'll smell all the time. Even after you wash them. Assuming you do.

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    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    So long as we're not talking about plain ol sweat... laundry detergents, softeners, dryer rags all leave a scent behind. If you want totall non-scented (smelly) clothing, start washing ALL your clothes in just vinegar and baking soda. There are actually non-detergent web sites out there that will give you the details.
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    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Synthetics are much better at avoiding the odor. I can use the same bibs three or four days before the need a laundry.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

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    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    If it doesn't smell like sweat or any other body odor, who cares?

    I know what you mean though. Biking sweat smells different from running or tennis sweat. It must have something to do with the fact that it is being air-dried as soon as it gets wet. The extra tricky part is that the rider often cannot smell it, but others can.

    Bring a change of underclothes, deodorant, and some baby wipes to clean up after the ride if others find it offensive. (minimum)

    Everyone here recommends wicking clothing, but it is not always practical for a commuter who wants to travel light and not change when he gets where he's going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    I can use the same bibs three or four days before the need a laundry.
    :facepalm:

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    Senior Member motomurphy's Avatar
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    I've had good luck using Penguin sport wash

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    Synthetics are much better at avoiding the odor. I can use the same bibs three or four days before the need a laundry.


    Gotta wonder what's growing in that chamois by then...

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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post


    Gotta wonder what's growing in that chamois by then...
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    Thanks for the tips guys. I haven't thought about the smell coming from detergents I've been using. Also I have never heard of washing your clothes with vinegar, sounds like a joke lol, but I will try it.

    @JeremyZ: Yeah that's my theory too. I have only had this smell when I'm cycling.
    I can definitely smell it though. Sometimes when I stop and breathe it in a little it kind of makes me sick (in combination with exhaustion).

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    Vinegar can help get the sweat smell out. I don't do this every time, but once in awhile I'll soak my workout clothes in a weak viniger/water solution for a few hours before doing the laundry. It really helps get rid of the musty-sweat smell. If I use too much vinegar, there is a bit of a lingering smell just out of the wash, but more of a 'fresh' smell, but it fades pretty quickly.

    I tend to just sweat a lot in general, so I'll even do this with normal under-shirts after they start getting a bit musky.

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    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Don't think cotton is a decent wicking agent.. You want less smell, you'll have to seek out bike specific materials.
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    Wash your clothes with Borax and add vinegar to the rinse and air your clothes to dry.

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    WOOL (merino wool) is the way to go. Wicks wonderfully. In the winter months I'd wear Icebreaker sweater and rain jacket/wind breaker 5 days a week (30+miles a day), washing it only once a week or less. I only had to change my bike shorts and rain pants when I got to work. Kept the sweater on because it looks presentable (I'm a commercial truck driver) and didn't smell like anything. Before getting it (wool sweater) I had to change out of my jersey due to the smell after just a few miles. I'm sure I'll use them for long summer rides, when its hotter, but I'm in love with merino wool. I'm going to be picking up some bottoms soon enough too for hiking and climbing.

    I sweat quite a bit so I need all the help I can get removing that stuff with out smelling.

    You'll still be paying the same for wool as with synthetic bike apparel, but can use the wool in other setting far more easily.
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    They don't even get a funk till several days of use. Maybe it's my body chemistry.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

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    Truck Driver Totaled108's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    They don't even get a funk till several days of use. Maybe it's my body chemistry.

    I'm naturally stinky. or for the folks around me when in synthetics.
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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    for detergents this is the ONLY thing I can tolerate. everything else makes my clothes smell funny and when they heat up from my body when i exercise it annoys the heck out of me. especially jeans. this detergent doesn't do that.

    Arm & Hammer Free of Perfume & Dye Laundry Detergent
    http://www.buythecase.net/product/95...ry%20Detergent

    sometimes clothes will get into into a funky state and may require several washings before using again. it doesn't help to let clothes wet with sweat lay around for more than a few hours. heaven forbid days. ha stank will bond with fibers and you'll have a horrible time getting it out.

    I also shower before most training sessions so there's less bacteria being transposed to my clothing
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Good news guys. I stopped using my old laundry detergent, Tide, and switched to using Arm & Hammer with activating Baking Soda. After 2-3 hour long rides in warm weather my clothes still smell fresh (lucky genes, sweat doesn't smell plus I shower with soap before I go riding). I do add vinegar when I remember. I'm always sniffing the clothes after I use vinegar though and I can smell the vinegar very very slightly, but it doesn't smell when I go cycling.

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    I use a laundry sanitizer that used in MMA (mixed martial arts) - kenshield. It kills bacteria like MRSA and Staph and does the same for odor bacteria. even better it doesn't leave a smell in my clothes. I wash with my regular detergent and add 1 to 2 oz of ks to the rinse cycle (I put it in the dispenser for fabric softener).

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    I use Simple Green in the washing machine! Works great, and smells good too!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    Synthetics are much better at avoiding the odor. I can use the same bibs three or four days before the need a laundry.
    says you.....





    edit... dang zombie post. I should have looked at the date.
    Last edited by Joemess; 08-03-10 at 03:41 PM. Reason: I am a goober.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    Synthetics are much better at avoiding the odor. I can use the same bibs three or four days before the need a laundry.
    That's just nasty!

    There are a ton of people out there that don't know how bad they smell!

  25. #25
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    My cycling stuff after my first multi-day ride is smelling rather ripe after 1 day of use each. Even when put away dry they are very smelly, I had to double-bag them at the hotel I was staying at because the room was starting to smell like my shorts.

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