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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

I stink

Old 11-21-21, 08:05 PM
  #1  
Symox
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I stink

Literally
after any strenuous ride in my cycling jerseys I am surprised how pungent my jersey’s underarms get (yet my underarms don’t seem to smell much at all). This never seems to happen with cotton T-shirt’s.

is this peculiar to me or to synthetic materials?

anyone else surprised by their post ride aroma?
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Old 11-22-21, 06:03 AM
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I found using softener in the washer actually enhancing the problems with those dry fit sport clothing
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Old 11-22-21, 06:10 AM
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Eat less Red meat. Red Meat tends to make some cyclist "smell" after their ride. I'm not sure why this happens but I have experience some bike riders after they ride. Man, that smell is "special".
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Old 11-22-21, 07:33 AM
  #4  
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The short answer is synthetic fabrics tend to smell worse. Fabrics that do not absorb water still absorb body oils during exercise. They also are harder to clean. Lots of good articles on this on the interwebs.
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Old 11-22-21, 08:32 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
Eat less Red meat. Red Meat tends to make some cyclist "smell" after their ride. I'm not sure why this happens but I have experience some bike riders after they ride. Man, that smell is "special".
That's never been conclusively proven. Articles cite one small study (only 30 men) that suggests eating red meat can produce increased body odor. There are other causes, like fish and cruciferous vegetables.

5 Foods That Can Increase Your Body Odor | Next Avenue
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Old 11-22-21, 08:35 AM
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you're not alone. been there, done that

odor comes from decaying bacteria. your current clothing may be a lost cause. shower more or better & wash your garments immediately after rides. I have a small spray bottle of liquid laundry detergent which I sometimes use on armpits. one doesn't need expensive stain removers unless you are trying to salvage ruined clothing. I had a shirt one time that I really liked but it got to a point where I couldn't wear it w/o it smelling. it required repeated special treatments to unlock & remove the bacteria & dried deodorant that built up under the arms. I got it better but eventually moved on to other shirts. I have since figured out how to avoid the problem. 1 tip, if you can't do a load of laundry immediately after a ride, at least take some soap & water to the armpits before tossing in the hamper. but try to wash it the next day
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Old 11-22-21, 09:37 AM
  #7  
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Use some oxyclean or other non-chlorine bleach that has Oxy in it's name. The sodium percarbonate is also a sanitizer as well as a color safe bleaching agent.

I actually only use oxyclean when I wash my cycling clothes and I've never noticed that odors hang on to my cycling clothes. But maybe that's because odors tend to hang on me when I sweat for long periods. <grin>
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Old 11-22-21, 09:55 AM
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Agree with synthetic fabrics stink.

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Old 11-22-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
Literally
after any strenuous ride in my cycling jerseys I am surprised how pungent my jersey’s underarms get (yet my underarms don’t seem to smell much at all). This never seems to happen with cotton T-shirt’s.

is this peculiar to me or to synthetic materials?

anyone else surprised by their post ride aroma?
Bacteria like synthetics..............nasty smelly ones

https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128...rmanently=true
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Old 11-22-21, 10:33 AM
  #10  
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I suffer from the smellies as well. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes but when I shower after a ride I toss my cycling gear into the shower and wash as much of the salt and sweat out as I can. Squeeze out excess water, roll in towel, hang on drying rack.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:08 AM
  #11  
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They do sell sleeveless cycling jerseys.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:22 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I suffer from the smellies as well. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes but when I shower after a ride I toss my cycling gear into the shower and wash as much of the salt and sweat out as I can. Squeeze out excess water, roll in towel, hang on drying rack.

I did that for quite a long time as well, but determined that things were not getting clean enough, contributing to smell, & even crotch funk.

Getting better results with normal machine wash & dry, permanent press cycle.


+1 on the oxy bleach to hopefully get back to baseline of no smell.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:26 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
They do sell sleeveless cycling jerseys.
What are we, some god-forsaken triathletes?
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Old 11-22-21, 11:34 AM
  #14  
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When washing my cloths I found that a good full second rinse helps allot. Modern day washers are designed to conserve water. If you look closely at your modern day washer cycle you will notice that the level of water in your rinse cycle is at a bare minimum to take the soap out. The soap has the oils and sweat locked into it. My solution was to go for not just a second rinse but a full wash cycle to get all the soap out.

I start the wash cycle with soap. After the wash cycle starts I wait a few minutes for the soap to do its stuff, about 3 min of churning. I then drain and spin then start again with a full wash cycle. This has been the only way for me to get all the soap out of my clothing without beating my cloths to death.

Synthetic clothing that has elastic and can be extra hard to clean because the relaxed spandex traps the oils and sweat. The problem is if you use stronger detergents or bleach you kill the elastic fibers too. If this is the problem then hand washing the item in a solution of BORAX and gently stretching the clothing to get the solution deep into the material will do the job.

Here's another one. Had a guy leave his kit outside on the lawn chair to air out after a ride. It was promptly nailed by a male cat then followed by his dog who actually tried to bury it afterwards... Ha. Anyway, he could not get the cat smell out. He finally soaked the items in a dish pan with 1/4 cup solution of Enzymatic Cat Urine treatment. He said it worked excellently and he also uses it for the inside of his salt water fishing shoes.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I suffer from the smellies as well. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes but when I shower after a ride I toss my cycling gear into the shower and wash as much of the salt and sweat out as I can. Squeeze out excess water, roll in towel, hang on drying rack.
Those of us who tour often do that. I actually start the shower with my bibs on. Jersey I take off first because it can be more difficult to do so when wet.
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Old 11-22-21, 12:35 PM
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Tide Plus Febreze Sport. You can't just do a rinse every time.
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Old 11-22-21, 01:29 PM
  #17  
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I always hang my jerseys and bibs up to dry as soon as I get home from a ride. Once dry, I hang them in the closet, separated so I know which have been worn. Then once a week I wash everything. Bacteria don't thrive in dry anything.
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Old 11-22-21, 03:31 PM
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Yep, it probably was funky when you put it on, and the heat and moisture turned up the smell. Put in a bucket, add some water, and then enough ordinary white vinegar for at least a 50/50 mix. Soak overnight, then wash as usual, extra rinse no softener. I usually do this about twice a season.
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Old 11-22-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
When washing my cloths I found that a good full second rinse helps allot. Modern day washers are designed to conserve water. If you look closely at your modern day washer cycle you will notice that the level of water in your rinse cycle is at a bare minimum to take the soap out. The soap has the oils and sweat locked into it. My solution was to go for not just a second rinse but a full wash cycle to get all the soap out.

I start the wash cycle with soap. After the wash cycle starts I wait a few minutes for the soap to do its stuff, about 3 min of churning. I then drain and spin then start again with a full wash cycle. This has been the only way for me to get all the soap out of my clothing without beating my cloths to death.
Definitely at least a second rinse cycle or even a second full wash cycle without laundry detergent, then hang dry immediately after cycle ends.
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Old 11-22-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I always hang my jerseys and bibs up to dry as soon as I get home from a ride. Once dry, I hang them in the closet, separated so I know which have been worn. Then once a week I wash everything. Bacteria don't thrive in dry anything.
But this still means that the bacteria and other microbes thrive while your jerseys and bibs are drying.
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Old 11-22-21, 04:08 PM
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Fire is the best tool for removing dork discs and BO. 🔥
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Old 11-22-21, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
But this still means that the bacteria and other microbes thrive while your jerseys and bibs are drying.
As opposed to being tossed in a hamper or left in a pile someplace.
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Old 11-22-21, 04:50 PM
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You might find being clean & showered before beginning any exercise will help.

A lot of commercial detergents are overpriced with the ingredients maximally stretched for "value" and an added innocuous scent to cover up the absence of clean. About 3/4 to 4/5 bar of Fels-Naptha or a full bar of Zote, 2 cups of washing soda & a cup & a half of Borax will make 5 gallons of HE non-sudsing laundry detergent & cost about $0.02/load.

IME: It's safe to use double in the machine. Setting the machine to "heavy soil" also usually adds an extra rinse cycle. For problematicly stinky funk from improper care, any funky item can be run through 2 wash cycles before setting aside to hang dry. That seems to dislodge any stuck funk.

Machine dry seems to "lock in the flavor," so to speak.
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Old 11-22-21, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Fire is the best tool for removing dork discs and BO. 🔥
My butane torch is reserved for cooking. Perhaps hanging cycling gear inside out to dry in the sun's UV rays for a few hours is sufficient.

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
You might find being clean & showered before beginning any exercise will help.
Nice dig!

Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Machine dry seems to "lock in the flavor," so to speak.
There is no need to machine dry any sweat wicking synthetic fiber athletic wear.
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Old 11-22-21, 07:06 PM
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Shower before a ride. It helps with clothes getting smelly, saddle sores forming (less bacteria to start the party) and so on and so forth.

I have a small dedicated hamper for cycling/triathlon kit and try to wash it as soon as possible. Some guys I know rinse their kit in the shower after a ride.

If your kit has absorbed the smell, it's probably beyond saving. Better materials do seem to be more resistant to starting to smell, I have some free dry-fit running shirts which you get on various races and they are far more prone to starting to smell than quality triathlon kit.
​​​​​​
I wash all the kit in the washing machine on the default sportswear setting and hang in the sun to dry.
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