Your Cart is Empty

Dirty Laundry - Technical Clothing

01 June 2011

Ground Effect cycle clobber is constructed from a range of technical fabrics mixed and matched to (depending on conditions) keep you warm or cool, repel wind and rain, deal to sweat, minimise odours, and look sharp (always). Garments generally don't require any special treatment down at the Laundromat but there are a few tricks that help preserve the imbedded technology.

Industrial Revolution

All Ground Effect clothing enjoys a warm machine wash at around 40°C. Hand washing is therapeutic and often the only option on tour, but machines (especially front loaders) are gentle on your gear, tough on dirt and rinse really well. Soap or detergent residue is not desirable, especially for HydroFoil™ rainwear and Softail™ pads.

Not the Chemical Brothers

Avoid cold-water detergents and those with bleach or oxygen whitener (sodium percarbonate) - they contain enzymes that are super-charged to brave the cold but can damage technical fabrics and cause skin irritation. Bleach rots natural fibres like merino and cotton and strips the dye. With shorts in particular chemicals may result in 'nappy-rash'. If you're experiencing issues in that department try a change of cleaning brew. Fabric softener is unnecessary and will destroy HydroFoil™ rainwear. As a rule of thumb, plant based soaps that are touted as easy on the planet are also easy on your gear and your body.

Hangin' Around

Most Ground Effect garments emerge near-dry from the spin cycle. A quick spell on the line will finish the job. If you must use the dryer then select the warm (not hot) setting. UV rays naturally dull stubborn marks, kill bugs and generally invigorate your clothing. They also accelerate the decay of lycra - the stretchy component of ShockWave™ fabric. The fabric is knitted so the lycra lies on the inside - shielding it from the sun when you're out riding. So it's best not to dry them inside-out. It's not a bad idea to do so occasionally as the sun does help keep the Softail™pad hygienic - although it is treated with an anti-bacterial finish anyway. Best practice is not to wear underwear with your riding shorts so you need to wash them daily.

Heat Treatment

The exception to this wisdom is rainwear. Keepyour rain jacket or pants clean, but don’t wash too often. General wear along with washing progressively removes the water repellent treatment from the outside the fabric. This treatment helps rain to bead and run off - and enhances the overall performance of the fabric. Dirt, body oil, sunscreen and sweat also attack the water repellent treatment and can cause the waterproof-breathable membrane to delaminate. Wash frequency depends on how often and how hard you use your garment. We suggest washing after a particularly grubby ride or after say half a dozen sessions in the rain. Use your judgement - if the garment looks dirty, the fabric is 'wetting out’ too quickly, or feels clammy then it's probably time for a clean.

You can help restore the water repellent treatment after washing by line-drying your jacket, then chucking it in the dryer using a warm (not hot) cycle. This 'recharges' the treatment so it lasts a bit longer. When this trick no longer does its magic you can beef up the original treatment to some extent with a product like Nikwax TX Direct - $39 from Ground Effect. A bottle is good for two or three rounds with your jacket. The effectiveness of this process depends on the age and condition of your jacket. Note that while the fabric's wetting-out impairs performance, particularly breathability, the HydroFoil laminate should still be waterproof.

Fur Balls

Best not to wash your WindFoil™ fleece with socks, fluffy towels or flannelette sheets. Lint clings to the fleece and your top will suddenly look very old. Wash inside-out to resist pilling.

Michael Lives

Wash gloves separately - the synthetic suede can cause havoc staining other clothing. And air dry only - no dryer for these puppies.