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Thread: Dirty Laundry??

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    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Dirty Laundry??

    I was just reading another thread where people were talking about carrying dirty laundry, and I thought, ¨Huh? Why carry dirty laundry?"

    So - do you carry it? Why?

    We rarely, very rarely, carry dirty clothes with us. We tend to wear the same clothes until we get someplace where we can wash. Then we change into clean clothes and wash the old ones. Yes- that means we might (possibly) be wearing the same stinky clothes for ten days, but that doesn't happen very often!

    Really, the only time I carry dirty clothes are those days when I haven't been able to find water to wash out my shorts ( I was them every day and strap them on the bike to dry), or if the kids got their feet wet and insisted on a new pair of socks. Otherwise, we just wear the dirty clothes and carry the clean clothes.

    What do you do?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I wear the same clothes for up to about 5 days, but then I'll start swapping items out for other things in my bag until I'm down to one semi-clean outfit (usually a bathing suit and a sarong). Then I do laundry.

    I figure carrying my dirty, smelly laundry inside a pannier, on the top of the pile could also be a theft deterrent.

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    I just carry an air tight laundry bag. Personally, I can't stand wearing a dirty shirt for a second day. I do try and wash out my jersey/rash guard every night and they're usually dry enough to wear the next day.

    To keep the laundry from stinking too much, I throw in some soap -- that way when it comes time to wash, I just take it out and add water.
    Last edited by kitchissippi; 05-20-09 at 08:56 PM.

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    Most days on a tour, I spend five or ten minutes each evening doing hand laundering. And if I am lucky and my timing is good, I use a washing machine every five or seven days. This system allows me to minimize the amount of stuff I have.

    I carry few non-cycling clothes. Usually I have two shirts, one pair of long pants, one pair of short pants, two pairs of socks, two or three pairs of underwear. A shirt that I wear in the evenings remains "reasonably" fresh for four or five days. As a trip draws to a close, I stop doing laundry, and try to return home with my panniers filled with stinky stuff!

    As for cycling clothes, I carry one cycling jersey, one pair of padded shorts, a few pairs of cycling socks, and that's about it. This is the main focus of my daily laundering ritual. Plus I have items for cold and wet weather, a belt, a pair of lightweight shoes, a pair of sandals, and that's about it for clothes.

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    I hand wash my clothes every evening in the campground.

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    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I would much rather wear my stinky clothes cycling than carry them! If I can't wash them, I wear them. (I do try to wash them every chance I get, but there are days when I simply can't for one reason or another)
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    I would much rather wear my stinky clothes cycling than carry them! If I can't wash them, I wear them. (I do try to wash them every chance I get, but there are days when I simply can't for one reason or another)
    See with my method, by the end of a week or so everything I've got is "dirty" ... or used at least once. I can't wear everything I've got with me all at once (although I have encountered conditions cold enough that I've worn most of what I've got all at once), so I have to carry some of it. Except for immediately after laundry day, my clothes are in varying degrees of "dirty". I figure if I'm carrying around a pannier full of clean clothes, I've got too many clothes with me.

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    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I figure if I'm carrying around a pannier full of clean clothes, I've got too many clothes with me.
    I totally agree. We only carry two sets of clothing, and I want something clean to put on when I get a shower!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    It's a bad plan to wear dirty shorts/bibs. Bacteria is the primary source of saddle sores, and washing gets rid of the bacteria.

    I can't stand wearing dirty socks either. I assume you'd get athlete's foot if you do, but am not 100% sure on that.

    As far as I can tell, other clothes can be re-worn without harm. Well, not to you, although it might not be good for those around you.

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    what about undies/socks?

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    We don't always have access to water or the time/energy to wash our clothes every day. Dirty clothes on top of the pannier are a great theft deterrent
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

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    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I do change my shorts every day and try really, really hard to wash out the dirty ones every day. If, for some reason, I can´t get them washed I´ll carry them dirty. As for socks and shirts, we just wear the dirty ones until we get someplace where we can wash them before changing into clean ones. That way we always have a set of clean clothes to put on after a shower!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I use two sets of cycling clothes. I try to hand wash them every evening and wear that one until I can't stand it. They are rarely dry the next morning. Putting on wet clothes is something I couldn't do before but I went passed that and found that after 15 minutes of riding, I didn't care if they were wet.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n8tron View Post
    what about undies/socks?
    I wear shorts with a mesh liner. Actually all summer long that's all I wear, cycling or not, except when I'm on my road bike. As for tops those synthetic materials do fine with just a rinse and they can dry out on your body. Socks I wear smartwool and rotate pairs. I only ever wash a pair of socks after they've been worn 4-5 times.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yes, you're not instantly going to develop athletes foot if you don't wash your socks every day. And take it from a girl who has been wearing her cycling shorts more than one day in a row without washing them in between for almost 20 years now ... you're not going to develop saddle sores because you don't wash your shorts after every single wear. The only saddle sore I've ever had was a friction sore caused by wearing loose shorts on a rainy 600K while using a gel saddle.

    The whole washing your clothes after every use thing is an "old wives tale" perpetuated by our mothers who didn't want us to go out and possibly get in an accident and end up in the hospital with dirty underwear.

    Yes, it is important to keep your body clean. It's a very good idea to stop mid-ride and give yourself a wash in a convenience store washroom or whatever ... or if you don't have water available, baby wipes work. Doing this washes away sweat and particularly the salt in sweat. And it's a good idea to give yourself a wash at the end of the day. But as for your shorts, if you hang them up to dry out overnight, they should be good for at least one more day ... maybe 3 or 4 or 5 days.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    It's a bad plan to wear dirty shorts/bibs. Bacteria is the primary source of saddle sores, and washing gets rid of the bacteria.
    That's why I don't wear the dirty shorts. I also hate doing laundry every night so I carry each day's clothes in ziplock bags. Each day's dirty clothes go back into a bag at the end of the day. Every 3 or 4 days, I find somewhere to do laundry and read a good novel...or even a bad novel

    In a pinch, I'll wash some clothes in the shower at the end of the day.
    Stuart Black
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yes, you're not instantly going to develop athletes foot if you don't wash your socks every day. And take it from a girl who has been wearing her cycling shorts more than one day in a row without washing them in between for almost 20 years now ... you're not going to develop saddle sores because you don't wash your shorts after every single wear. The only saddle sore I've ever had was a friction sore caused by wearing loose shorts on a rainy 600K while using a gel saddle.

    The whole washing your clothes after every use thing is an "old wives tale" perpetuated by our mothers who didn't want us to go out and possibly get in an accident and end up in the hospital with dirty underwear.

    Yes, it is important to keep your body clean. It's a very good idea to stop mid-ride and give yourself a wash in a convenience store washroom or whatever ... or if you don't have water available, baby wipes work. Doing this washes away sweat and particularly the salt in sweat. And it's a good idea to give yourself a wash at the end of the day. But as for your shorts, if you hang them up to dry out overnight, they should be good for at least one more day ... maybe 3 or 4 or 5 days.
    This is a gross subject but... women don't have quite the same problems with saddle sores as men. We guys have larger, stiffer hair around our nether regions. We are much more prone to breaking those hairs off at the skin's surface through pedaling. Once broken off, the hairs may grow under the skin and form a rather nasty, and incredibly painful, cyst. Wearing dirty shorts everyday...into which we guys sweat more then the average woman...can cause these cysts to become highly infected and even more painful. I get them regularly even with clean shorts. I don't need to make them worse by adding a bacterial garden.

    There are other, grosser, reasons that I don't want to wear yesterday's shorts but I'll just let your imagination run wild.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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    After 3 (2 done with local anaethetic, one with a general) surgeries for a saddle sore gone horribly wrong, I will NEVER again wear a pair of shorts for more than one day. Probably my reaction is a bit extreme, but my 'pain in the ass' kept me off of a regular bike for about 4 years.

    To me, it's just safer washing my shorts every day, or failing that, carrying 3 or 4 pairs. They weigh next to nothing and compress prety well, so I'm not going to risk infection again.

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    Bike touring webrarian
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    women don't have quite the same problems with saddle sores as men.
    +1

    I carry 3 pairs of shorts when I tour so that I always have a dry, clean pair to put on. I try to wash my shorts by hand every day.

    I have found that I can wear a cycling jersey more than once without too much trouble, but, I carry three of those, as well because I wear them for "off-bike" clothes. I carry jerseys that have no logos and are "normal" looking. This saves me from carrying separate "off-bike" shirts.

    Ray
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    eternalvoyage
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    Some clothes are much easier to clean than others. Nylon running shorts, for example, make great swimming trunks; you can also ride in them; and they clean very easily (just going swimming, or showering with them does it). They also dry quickly. Wearing them for a short time does it.

    Some clothes also seem to hold less dirt than others.

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    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    This is a gross subject but... women don't have quite the same problems with saddle sores as men.
    It's funny to hear you say this... I (the only female of our bunch) am the one who religiously washes out her shorts. My husband and sons will wear theirs for weeks and weeks and weeks - until I demand they take them off so I can wash them out!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    I was just reading another thread where people were talking about carrying dirty laundry, and I thought, ¨Huh? Why carry dirty laundry?"

    So - do you carry it? Why?

    We rarely, very rarely, carry dirty clothes with us. We tend to wear the same clothes until we get someplace where we can wash. Then we change into clean clothes and wash the old ones. Yes- that means we might (possibly) be wearing the same stinky clothes for ten days, but that doesn't happen very often!
    Ten days does anyone really want to talk with you?

    I carry just as much as you (2 sets) but I wear my rain gear when I do laundry. I go about 8 days.

    If you didn't want to due laundry then buy your t-shirts at a thrift store. Rinse your socks and shorts.
    Last edited by wheel; 05-24-09 at 01:22 AM.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    It's funny to hear you say this... I (the only female of our bunch) am the one who religiously washes out her shorts. My husband and sons will wear theirs for weeks and weeks and weeks - until I demand they take them off so I can wash them out!
    Let them get one of those nasty cysts and they'll change their minds...Eww! I'd rather talk about changing diapers if you don't mind. Eww!
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel View Post
    Ten days does anyone really want to talk with you?
    I doubt it! I don't even want to talk to myself when that happens! Actually, I think ten days has only happened once - in a very remote part of China. We were sooooo looking forward to a shower and clean clothes when we finally made it to Tashgurkan - but the hotel was out of water!!! Durn! From there, we had to go up and over the Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan before we would find any water at all.

    Mostly, the most we have to go would be three or four days - which isn't all that bad.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  25. #25
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    I doubt it! I don't even want to talk to myself when that happens! Actually, I think ten days has only happened once - in a very remote part of China. We were sooooo looking forward to a shower and clean clothes when we finally made it to Tashgurkan - but the hotel was out of water!!! Durn! From there, we had to go up and over the Khunjerab Pass into Pakistan before we would find any water at all.

    Mostly, the most we have to go would be three or four days - which isn't all that bad.
    Small microfiber towels can do a pretty good job when used for sponge bathing -- not like a good, thorough shower or a swim, but much, much better than nothing, even with just a little water. You don't need much water at all. When they are just damp rather than sopping wet, they seem to clean up dirt and oils exceptionally well.

    The ones that have 20% poyamide seem to work better than the ones that are 100% polyester. And the ones that have a mildly abrasive texture or effect seem to work better than the softer ones.

    They are also very durable, and dry quickly.

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