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stinky gloves

Old 09-21-16, 12:33 PM
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stinky gloves

My gloves have a tendency to accumulate a horrible smell of FEET. It's disgusting. I've washed them in the laundry, I've washed them in the sink with dish soap, and they still stink. Last night, I washed them in a mix of dish soap and bleach. I realize this reduces their longevity, but it's already tempting to toss them. Well now they don't smell like feet, but they do smell like bleach. I used too much bleach.

How do you clean your gloves, and how long do you keep them before replacing them?
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Old 09-21-16, 12:51 PM
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Thus far, I've just tossed mine in the wash, normal detergent....they smell and look fine. I've only been using this particular pair for just under 2 years though, and only retired the previous pair because they had leather palms that never would quit leaching dye onto my hands whenever they got sweaty, lol.

I've seen others recommend oxyclean or borax to take the stink out of jerseys and shorts....maybe give that a try?
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Old 09-21-16, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
My gloves have a tendency to accumulate a horrible smell of FEET. It's disgusting. I've washed them in the laundry, I've washed them in the sink with dish soap, and they still stink. Last night, I washed them in a mix of dish soap and bleach. I realize this reduces their longevity, but it's already tempting to toss them. Well now they don't smell like feet, but they do smell like bleach. I used too much bleach.

How do you clean your gloves, and how long do you keep them before replacing them?
I only wear a pair of gloves once and throw them in with everything else to wash.

If not, they stink like dead animals.

I don't see any reduced life, all the mats are synthetic and washable. I usually get Louis Garneau and have several pairs.

Pro tip: if you end up with 2 lefts or 2 rights, you can turn one inside out in a pinch.
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Old 09-21-16, 12:56 PM
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Ah, so you treat them like underwear or socks. That makes sense. By the way, I'm trying to avoid fungus on my feet, so I am extra vigilant about changing my socks every day. Sometimes I'll travel unexpectedly, and I don't mind wearing underwear two days in a row, but I try not to let that happen with socks. I also won't wear cotton socks, because the moisture is the breeding place for fungus.
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Old 09-21-16, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Ah, so you treat them like underwear or socks. That makes sense. By the way, I'm trying to avoid fungus on my feet, so I am extra vigilant about changing my socks every day. Sometimes I'll travel unexpectedly, and I don't mind wearing underwear two days in a row, but I try not to let that happen with socks. I also won't wear cotton socks, because the moisture is the breeding place for fungus.
After every rides, I immediately wash my headband or headsweat (depending on the season) and gloves in the sink with a mild dish soap, then hang them to dry outside or in the winter, let them hang dry indoors. My gloves don't stink and this regimen has extended the life of my cycling gloves, as I have not had to throw away a pair of gloves since starting this 5 years ago. (before that, I seldom if ever washed gloves and just threw them away when they got too nasty, which was about every 6 months to a year.) Now I have 4 short finger, and 2 sets of long finger gloves.
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Old 09-21-16, 01:28 PM
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I see three options:
1. Breathe deep and learn to like the smell.
2. Throw away your smelly gloves and replace them with something that you can wash (nice plain cotton gloves are excellent).
3. Throw away your smelly gloves and do not replace them.
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Old 09-21-16, 01:31 PM
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Odormute is a great product for laundry - I discovered it years ago when my dog had an extended encounter with a skunk and was sprayed four or five times. About a teaspoon in a pint of warm water, soak the gloves for about 10 minutes, then wash and dry as normal. It costs about $15 on Amazon for enough to do your gloves for at least a year if you're washing them every day or so.

I have my 1991 Specialized leather gloves, and I've worn them a couple of times this year. So they can last a long time.

Overall, I'd say most of the gloves I wear in heavy rotation, a couple of times a week, probably last about 2 years. Eventually either seams come unsewn or they just look shabby and I ditch them.
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Old 09-21-16, 01:43 PM
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If I cared about how my cycling gear smelled, I probably wouldn't be riding. Embrace the odor.
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Old 09-21-16, 01:46 PM
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@rhm:

Thanks for all the tips, folks. I don't know if you missed it, but @greg3rd48 has a source for 30- or 40-year-old NOS gloves from his shop in Yonkers. I got a pair, and they're totally groovy. You're right, they don't stink as much as modern fabrics. If you don't have a pair, definitely get one.

I think I'll be washing my gloves and my helmet liner more often now.
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Old 09-21-16, 02:35 PM
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I have some leather gloves that don't get stinky. The regular kind you can find in the bike shop - I give 'em a year and toss them. They get smelly. Then my hands get smelly.
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Old 09-21-16, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@rhm:

Thanks for all the tips, folks. I don't know if you missed it, but @greg3rd48 has a source for 30- or 40-year-old NOS gloves from his shop in Yonkers. I got a pair, and they're totally groovy. You're right, they don't stink as much as modern fabrics. If you don't have a pair, definitely get one.

I think I'll be washing my gloves and my helmet liner more often now.
Yeah! I have two pairs of those and they work really well
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Old 09-21-16, 03:11 PM
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That's odd. I've never had that problem with my gloves with each ride. They get worn out before they get stinky.
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Old 09-21-16, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
That's odd. I've never had that problem with my gloves with each ride. They get worn out before they get stinky.
I find it odd, too. Maybe my hands pick up more microbes than other body parts, because I'm a bit light on body odor. I can't tell you how bad my gloves were last night before the moment of bleach.
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Old 09-21-16, 07:05 PM
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I just toss mine in the laundry, probably only about once a month or so.

Actually it was mainly the ones that had cotton in them that got stinky. I don't think the poly stretch with fake leather ones that I have now have ever gotten the trenchfoot.
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Old 09-21-16, 07:27 PM
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Yeah, I've noticed my summer weight Garneau gloves get vinegary after a week of sticky summer use. So I wash 'em about once a week. So far, so good. They've held up well. I also wash my Bontrager winter gloves the same way, although the material doesn't get the same vinegary odor.

I use Tide or Gain gel flings for cleaning my bike apparel, including gloves. A single gel fling in a large mop bucket. Hand agitate in lukewarm to warm water. Let soak for at least 20-30 minutes. Agitate some more. Rinse twice. Hang to dry.

But if you have access to a washing machine with a soak cycle, or long gentle wash cycle, that's much easier than hand washing.

Soaking gives the enzymes in good quality detergents like Tide and Gain time to work.

If that doesn't do the trick, try those enzyme sprays for pet odors and stains. Spray 'em about 5 minutes before washing.

Soaking in water with baking soda will help too. It neutralizes most acidic odors, from pickles to human sweat. But Tide and Gain seem to make this step superfluous.
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Old 09-21-16, 09:32 PM
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Because of hand issues I pad my bars with foam pipe insulation. Not needing padding in my gloves anymore I just buy cotton work gloves for a buck a pair. I cut the fingers off for warm weather and leave 'em on for colder riding. In the winter I put mittens on over them. I throw the cotton work gloves in the wash every month or so, or when I notice a smell. If they get too gross I toss 'em and pick up another pair for a buck. I also use a black shoelace as a glasses strap. That gets washed with soap in the shower when I get home and dries overnight. If still damp, I have a backup. Being mostly bald for a decade or so I need a sweatband. Again, the dollar store is my friend, where I had been buying textured nylon headbands. The headband gets washed and rinsed in the shower and dries overnight. If not I have a backup.

But this summer, based on what I read here on bike forums, I bought a Halo headband...it's the one with the rubber strip to channel sweat away from your eyes. It works as advertised, and I am sorry I didn't buy it sooner. It gets washed in the shower and dries overnight. If not, which hasn't been the case, I'd just throw on one of the older nylon headbands.

One morning last month I walked out to the shed to get my bike and realized I left my gloves in the house. I remembered I threw an old pair of bike gloves in my miscellaneous bike parts box. They had a small terrycloth patch for nose wipin', but there was also a seam that roughed up my nose. The cotton work gloves excell as nose wipers when needed.

Regarding the smells of cycling...if you can smell yourself you're not pedalling fast enough.
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Old 09-21-16, 09:57 PM
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Oh, yes, I think the gloves are so much stinkier than shirts/shorts. When mine start getting stinky, I wash them in the sink in warm water and laundry detergent. Let them soak a while. Rinse, put into washer spin cycle with the rest of hand washed cycling clothing and hang to dry. This works for both pair of mass market popular brand gloves I buy. I think they are fake leather palms. I've never had to use bleach to get the stank out.
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Old 09-21-16, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
Oh, yes, I think the gloves are so much stinkier than shirts/shorts. When mine start getting stinky, I wash them in the sink in warm water and laundry detergent. Let them soak a while. Rinse, put into washer spin cycle with the rest of hand washed cycling clothing and hang to dry. This works for both pair of mass market popular brand gloves I buy. I think they are fake leather palms. I've never had to use bleach to get the stank out.
I hadn't thought of that, but I also didn't know what @canklecat said, that detergents need time to do their work.
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Old 09-22-16, 03:13 AM
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I haven't had a problem with biking gloves. Had a pair of hockey gloves that weren't washable. Dumped baking soda in them, dumped it back out and they they were fine.
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Old 09-22-16, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by baldilocks View Post
I haven't had a problem with biking gloves. Had a pair of hockey gloves that weren't washable. Dumped baking soda in them, dumped it back out and they they were fine.
Baking Soda works on everything, even old smelly jeans. Put them nasty gloves in a bag with a cup or 2 of baking soda seal it over night and the sting goes away. Afterwards just wash them by hand or in the machine and they'll be good as new, or just clean.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I hadn't thought of that, but I also didn't know what @canklecat said, that detergents need time to do their work.
Yup, that may be the best kept secret to getting the most from a good laundry detergent. Give it plenty of time to work on extra stinky or grungy fabrics.

Tide is cagey about their formulas, and don't list enzymes on the MSDS because these aren't hazardous materials. And they don't always provide a complete list of ingredients on the product labels. I noticed the Livestrong site erroneously claimed some Tide detergents don't include enzymes, but Tide's own website contradicts this. Apparently all Tide detergents (and many other brands) have contained at least amylase since the 1940s or '50s, and most Tide detergents contain four enzymes, each aimed at a particular washing challenge. Reportedly their cold water and high energy forumulae contain more enzymes and cost a bit more. (Incidentally, this stuff still interests me because I learned as an OSHA inspector years ago that MSDS's aren't complete listings of ingredients, and trade secrets may be exempted from MSDS and labeling regulations if the withheld ingredients are not considered hazardous materials.)

But the enzymes, surfactants and deodorizers all seem to work better with longer wash/soak cycles, even without hot water. As long as the fabric won't be harmed by soaking, I prefer longer cycles. I was a bit concerned about my Garneau gloves soaking but they've held up fine. No problems with the faux-leatherette, gel pads, Velcro, etc.

That's why I like the machines at the nearby laundromat -- all the wash cycles are at least 20 minutes, with gentle agitation that doesn't beat up the clothing. The washers in my apartment complex run only about three minutes, not nearly long enough to be effective, and both the washers and dryers beat the heck out of clothing, wearing 'em out prematurely.

Yesterday I unintentionally left my cycling duds soaking for several hours. I had neck spasms and took a nap that lasted several hours. The two pairs of white socks I'd worn a few times that week were extra grungy, but came out nearly perfectly clean just from soaking in a 5-gallon mop bucket with Tide. The shorts and jersey had some grease stains from tweaking the bikes while not wearing a shop apron, and the bandannas were stiff with dried salty sweat. Everything came out cleaner than usual. I just sloshed the stuff around inside the mop bucket several times, probably not as effective as a good washing machine.

Also, Tide and Gain rinse out very easily and effectively, better than any other laundry detergent I've tried. They use very low suds surfactants that rinse clean with very little water. Great for energy saving clothes washers, or laundromats with short wash and rinse cycles.

The only time I use vinegar and/or baking soda now is for my hands after cooking strong smelling stuff in the kitchen, or to deodorize kitchen sponges and washrags. A little baking soda on wet hands will quickly remove odors from garlic, onions, fish, or from handling mildewed sponges and dishrags. But it's not necessary for clothing with good quality laundry detergents.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
My gloves have a tendency to accumulate a horrible smell of FEET. It's disgusting. I've washed them in the laundry, I've washed them in the sink with dish soap, and they still stink. Last night, I washed them in a mix of dish soap and bleach. I realize this reduces their longevity, but it's already tempting to toss them. Well now they don't smell like feet, but they do smell like bleach. I used too much bleach.

How do you clean your gloves, and how long do you keep them before replacing them?
I let them air out after use by hanging them up. Do you cram yours into a bag or something? That might explain it.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:50 AM
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I use lemon scented floor cleaner in a bucket. Put in the gloves and helmet pads. Let soak, rinse well.
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Old 09-22-16, 09:05 AM
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@canklecat, you just said a lot. It's very informative, and I'll be getting things cleaner from now on, thanks to you.
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Old 09-22-16, 09:31 AM
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@noglider, glad it helped. I was afraid I was repeating myself or getting into tedious detail, because I'd written something similar elsewhere recently, but couldn't remember where.

The laundry chore became ridiculously interesting to me after doing a safety inspection of a manufacturer of industrial strength and sized laundry facilities for hospitals years ago. Would you believe some health care facilities use washing/drying machines large enough to walk into? It's a long, continuous, enormous pipeline with an auger that moves the stuff from end to end, dirty in, dry out.

Also, in their waning and ailing years, my grandparents and mom couldn't get good domestic help with laundry. I was a part-time and eventually full time caregiver for all three, and became very picky about laundry, since the home health aides couldn't seem to get it right.

Weird, I know. And I still hate folding fitted sheets.
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