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    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    Washing and Drying padded shorts on tour

    I have just purchased my first set of cycling short wiggle.com.au | dhb Aeron Pro Cycling Short | Lycra Cycling Shorts and I was reading the care instructions for them, which got me thinking how do you go about washing and then drying them if your constantly on the road?

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    Carry more than one pair. One of the first things I do after ride is wash the shorts, in my world that takes priority over a lot of other things to do. If they don't dry over night, simply wear pair #2 .

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    I have just purchased my first set of cycling short wiggle.com.au | dhb Aeron Pro Cycling Short | Lycra Cycling Shorts and I was reading the care instructions for them, which got me thinking how do you go about washing and then drying them if your constantly on the road?
    Their washing instructions are all wrong. While you don't want to put the shorts in a blast furnace to dry them, they can be tumbled dried. I wash my bike shorts in a machine and dry them in a dryer without problems for the better part of 20 years...some of my shorts are even 20 year old Lycra can even benefit from (gentle) heat in the dryer. From the Clothing Dictionary

    f the other fibers in the garment are machine washable and dryable, this should be the recommended method for cleaning. The heat generated by machine drying will help recover any lost stretch that occurred during the wearing of a garment. Thorough washing, rinsing and drying in machines brings out the best in Lycra.
    I machine wash and machine dry my lycra shorts all the time on tour. Laundromat dryers can be harsh so use the lowest setting and don't dry the lycra to bone dry...some water keeps the temperature down. The material is a lot tougher than most people think.
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    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    at what temperature what they dry over night?

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    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    Agree with gerryl. You need more than one pair - two minimum and three is often best.. If I'm staying where there is a shower, I take a shower while wearing my cycling clothing. I suds them up in the shower and rinse them off there. One trick is to first twist out the water as much as you can then put the washed shorts in a dry towel and roll the towel up. Then walk on the towel. Next hang the shorts and other clothing up to dry. It the Sun is out, have it shine on the pad.

    If you can't get the shorts properly cleaned, pouring some rubbing alcohol or even using something like Baby Wipes will help kill off the nasties.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    at what temperature what they dry over night?
    It depends on how much water you left in them, how warm the night air is, how humid it is, whether you leave them hanging outside in the rain, etc. I've had to do the hand washing thing a few times and I've never been able to get the shorts to dry overnight and I've had a few times where the hanging laundry has gotten wet due to rain. There are few things worse then getting out of a nice sleeping bag in the middle of the night to gather wet laundry.

    Quote Originally Posted by JerrySTL View Post
    Agree with gerryl. You need more than one pair - two minimum and three is often best.. If I'm staying where there is a shower, I take a shower while wearing my cycling clothing. I suds them up in the shower and rinse them off there. One trick is to first twist out the water as much as you can then put the washed shorts in a dry towel and roll the towel up. Then walk on the towel. Next hang the shorts and other clothing up to dry. It the Sun is out, have it shine on the pad.

    If you can't get the shorts properly cleaned, pouring some rubbing alcohol or even using something like Baby Wipes will help kill off the nasties.
    While I agree on having more than one pair of shorts...I carry three and wear one...I don't agree with the rest of your post, at least not as a regular way to deal with laundering bicycle shorts. In a pinch, yes, but not every night. First is that most care instructions state not to wring lycra. This makes a lot of sense based on the chemical and physical characteristics of the polymer. Lycra can stretch several times it's length and snap back but heat is needed to refresh that stretch. The lycra polymer chains relax and get elongated when stretched. Wringing the material stretches the polymer and leaves them elongated. In other words, the lycra loses its stretch.

    Heat (gentle!) causes the polymer chains to bunch up again which restores the snap to the fabric.
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    Often the drying prohibitions are tied to what type of pad the shorts have. I.e., gel vs terrycloth chamois vs "real" chamois, etc. I'll dry my biking shorts that have the synthetic chamois, but we've had bad luck drying my wife's shorts that have a gel pad in them.

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    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    at what temperature what they dry over night?
    if you hand wash them, and if you have access to a cotton towel like at home or in a hotel, squeeze as much water out of them by hand, then lay the towel down, place the shorts pad out onto the towel, roll up towel and then step barefooted on the towel a bunch of times and this will get a whole bunch of water out of the pad.

    hang to dry.

    also leaving clothes out to dry overnight usually ends up with them getting dew all over them making them more wet in the morning than when you hung them up.

    as with many of your other questions, use these shorts, wash them in the sink at home and try drying them out over night and see what happens. Try diff techniques and see the diff, hang them outside, inside, wring them out vs towel technique.....

    bottom line is especially in a very damp environment, getting the most water out of a piece of clothing is the key to the fastest drying, and cycling shorts with their padding can end up still with lots of moisture in them depending on how you do it. Having a second pair just takes care of if they are still rather wet in the morning and riding with your damp pair securely held on your panniers will mean they will dry out eventually.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
    Often the drying prohibitions are tied to what type of pad the shorts have. I.e., gel vs terrycloth chamois vs "real" chamois, etc. I'll dry my biking shorts that have the synthetic chamois, but we've had bad luck drying my wife's shorts that have a gel pad in them.
    Bad luck with gel pads isn't a glitch...it's a feature Never seen one that didn't have problems no matter how you treated it.
    Stuart Black
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I always machine dry my shorts at home and have some that were dried scores of times if not hundreds and are still fine.

    On tour I have started taking only one pair. I wash or rinse them out daily when it is convenient. If I miss a day or even a few days I don't worry about it. If I have to put them on damp I don't worry about that either.

    I find that avoiding issues with saddle sores is quite possible even without being obsessive about washing shorts or body. There are a few key things to have found help with that.
    1. Airing yourself out is key. I find that getting out of my bike shorts and into loose fitting mesh brief running shorts once off the bike for the day is key.
    2. Cleaning the your body where it contacts that saddle area by wiping up with a damp cloth is sufficient when better washing up isn't convenient.
    3. Turning shorts inside out and laying them out in the sun does a good job of killing whatever grows there.
    4. If you do get any minor chafing, Balmex or other zinc oxide based diaper cream worn overnight works like magic. It doesn't work well as chamois cream, which I do not use.
    5. Having plenty of saddle time in before a tour or else keeping the mileage short for the first week or so also help immensely.


    I have found that works well for me.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I brought 3 pair , synth 'Shammy' .. washed me, down there with surgeon's scrub .

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    Garlic
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    My cheapo stealth camping method of travel usually means washing clothing by hand, usually in a lavatory sink, during the warm part of the day and wearing them dry during the afternoon. On all but the wettest days body heat works fine. I've found that cleanliness is more important than dryness and I don't mind putting damp clothing back on. (My wife, on the other hand, absolutely hates it.) So for me, one pair of padded shorts works fine on tour.

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    ^That's ultralight and ultra-damp. I'm pretty impressed, and a little grossed out.

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    Carry two pairs and wear a third. My experience is that bike shorts will usually dry overnight west of central Kansas. If you can strap a damp pair on the top of your rack, they'll dry the next day if it's sunny most anywhere.

    Unlike Pete and cyco, I've had bad luck tumble drying shorts. Both times I've tried it, the shorts lose their elasticity and become baggy -- and I remember why the manufacturers' recommendation is not to do that! (I really hated those $60 and $90 experiments!) Better to roll the shorts in a towel, squeeze tightly, hang the shorts and dry the towel.

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    Senior Member intransit1217's Avatar
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    fwiw, I machine wash mine with like clothing, my machine spins them near dry, then i hang in the closet with space between them and close the door. my closet has a heating vent in it so it gets softly warm to dry mine overnight plus a couple hours. If I do them at ten and put them on at six am, they're a little damp.

    Keep in mind, most lubes are sterile and help sterility. bacteria are organisms that need air. greases tend to smother them. not a be all end all but it helps.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    We usually carry 2 pairs of shorts, and wash them when we can. I do not think shorts need to be washed daily. It is more important to get out of them when I quit riding and put something else on. As was suggested above, airing and sunlight do wonders. We also dry them in a dryer, but remove them from the dryer when they are slightly damp. If conditions don't allow hanging to take the rest of the dampness out, I place the shorts inside my sleeping bag down near the foot. They are usually dry by morning. I also do the same for other garments. Not a real good technique with a down bag.

    Hand washing also works, but drying can be a problem in humid areas.

    While I have my favorite make and model of shorts, I carry 2 different brands/styles of shorts. If I start to develop a "hot" spot, I'll ride in the other pair the next day. This seems to help.

    This technique does not work with CF bulbs.
    Last edited by Doug64; 03-06-15 at 12:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    I have just purchased my first set of cycling short wiggle.com.au | dhb Aeron Pro Cycling Short | Lycra Cycling Shorts and I was reading the care instructions for them, which got me thinking how do you go about washing and then drying them if your constantly on the road?
    Washed mine when I took a shower..No shower just used the sink in a restroom.
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    A lot of people do not wear underwear with their bike shorts, but I do. Change the underwear every day. Bike shorts, change or wash them less frequently.

    I have started using cycling pants with removable liners and zip-off pant legs. Last trip brought one pair of the pants but two liners. I like the pockets on them for touring. The pant legs were nice for cold mornings.

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    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Washed mine when I took a shower..No shower just used the sink in a restroom.
    the shower routine is good because you get it over with, at least its been like for me, and you dont need a ton of soap either. I leave them at my feet for when I wash myself, so they get a presoak and soap from my shampoo, then takes only a few mins at end and you're done. Only problem is if you are in a campground with timed showers and you have to put in coins or whatever.

    side story of hand washing--not sure if I've told this already--last summer on this supported trip my wife and I do, I was riding in a group of faster riders and it was raining for a few hours. The whole group stopped at one point for a break and one of the guys obviously didnt rinse his shorts well enough when he washed them by hand the day before (or used too much soap) because standing there, he had soap suds coming out of his rear. Very funny and he laughed it off stating that "the rinse cycle mush have been broken" or something to that effect (was in French).

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    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I usually wash them on the shower (wash them, not just wear in shower) and dry them overnight. I carry a second pair but I put back the damp shorts in the morning. I forget they're wet in a minute.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    Senior Member Lou Skannon's Avatar
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    As any English boarding-school boy will tell you. You need three pairs of everything. One clean, one dirty and one to wear.

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    nun
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    I take 2 pairs of padded underwear and one pair of MTB type shorts without a pad.

    I wash my underwear, socks and shirt in the shower (or hand basin) every night and wring them out well and hang them out to dry. They are usually dry by morning and if not I hang them on the bike to dry while I ride. Here is my saddlebag in use as a clothes horse for underwear and socks.....they were dry 30 miles down the road when I stopped for lunch.

    Last edited by nun; 03-06-15 at 03:41 PM.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    Unlike Pete and cyco, I've had bad luck tumble drying shorts. Both times I've tried it, the shorts lose their elasticity and become baggy -- and I remember why the manufacturers' recommendation is not to do that! (I really hated those $60 and $90 experiments!) Better to roll the shorts in a towel, squeeze tightly, hang the shorts and dry the towel.
    I wonder if you were just too aggressive. Pearl Izumi says

    You can use the dryer, carefully:

    If you use a dryer be sure to use a lower/ warm heat setting (Do NOT use a commercial dryer or a "Hot" setting). This will often restore the fabric and help the water and wind repellent qualities.
    If in doubt, hang the clothing to dry.
    Lycra shows up in all kinds of fabrics...some that you don't even suspect...and they don't get special treatment. You don't hand wash and line dry your socks and underwear, do you?

    At home, all of my bicycle clothes get tumble dried. I use way too many clothes per week to line dry them all. While on tour, they get tumble dried as often as possible.
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azza_333 View Post
    I have just purchased my first set of cycling short wiggle.com.au | dhb Aeron Pro Cycling Short | Lycra Cycling Shorts and I was reading the care instructions for them, which got me thinking how do you go about washing and then drying them if your constantly on the road?
    Carry 2 pair.

    Wear 1 for 2 days.

    Wear the other for 2 days.

    Put on non-cycling specific attire and take clothes to laundromat ...

    Toss into washer.

    Toss into dryer.

    And repeat as necessary.


    And you can lengthen this cycle by wearing non-cycling specific bottoms like basket ball shorts or beach shorts or something for a couple days in there as well.

  25. #25
    Senior Member azza_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
    Often the drying prohibitions are tied to what type of pad the shorts have. I.e., gel vs terrycloth chamois vs "real" chamois, etc. I'll dry my biking shorts that have the synthetic chamois, but we've had bad luck drying my wife's shorts that have a gel pad in them.
    Excuse my ignorance, but what type of chamois are these wiggle.com.au | dhb Aeron Pro Cycling Short | Lycra Cycling Shorts

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