Ride, Rinse, Repeat – how to keep your kit clean during multi-day cycling trips

In the third instalment of our Hannah Reynold’s serieswe look at the age old dilemma of trying to keep your kit clean whilst traveling by bike. Read for squeaky-clean kit advice

Cycling every day of your holiday means washing a lot of cycling shorts. Here are our tips for getting the job done quickly so there is more time to relax and explore.

Wearing clean shorts every day of your trip is essential; not only will it help you to look and smell good it is the most important step in avoiding the dreaded saddle sores! Few of us can carry enough shorts to last a whole trip so washing them is inevitable but it needn’t be a chore.

Shower or sink
A super quick technique is to jump in your shower still wearing your kit. Lather up some soap and rub it over the outside of your kit before stripping it off and lathering the inside paying particular attention to the pad inside your shorts. Wash yourself and let the soap you have used rinse through your garments and then give them an extra good rinse with the shower head. Gently wring out the water and stick them in the sink to drain.

I have been doing this for years and even the experts agree with me that it works! Simona Febbi – R&D Textiles Officer at Assos, makers of very fine and very expensive kit, told me “using what you have available is better than leaving your shorts sweaty, even entering the shower with your garments on and rinsing them is a good compromise. Ordinary bar soap is ok to use. Kit can also be washed by hand, if a label says wash as 30 degrees this can be done by hand. Our body is 35.5 degrees so we need to use water that feels cold, if it feels warm to your hand it is already more than 30 degrees.”


Washing liquid or plain soap
The product you use to wash your best cycling kit needs to be very mild otherwise it can damage technical materials. Your Lycra will become baggy, its colour will fade and any technical coatings will be removed. You should never use fabric conditioner as this destroys the breathability and wicking properties.

Plain bar soap, conveniently provided by most hotels, will do the job absolutely fine and is much better for your kit than cheap biological detergents. However if you are really protective of your expensive cycling outfits then specialist wash such as Halo Sports Wash, Assos Active Wear Cleanser or Odo Revive will look after the technical fabrics as well as being anti-bacterial to ensure that no bad smells follow you around on your next ride.

Drying your kit
When packing for a trip the best plan is a minimum of two pairs of shorts so you can alternate them just in case they don’t fully dry out overnight. Lycra dries fast but you can help it along by squeezing out most of the water before hanging them up, however to keep your kit in good condition you should avoid wringing or twisting fabrics.

My favourite technique is to lay out the bath towel on the floor, after you have dried yourself, then arrange all your kit on it. Roll the towel up and then walk up and down on it so you are pressing the water out of your clothes into the towel. Think of it like treading grapes!


Drying Lycra is easy in a hot country but do consider your neighbours and the hotel owner. There is a belief that drying your shorts chamois pad outwards in direct sunshine can help to kill bacteria but be sensitive about where you hang up your undergarments! We were once asked to make sure that everyone in the hotel dried their kit out of sight and that shorts were turned inward so no offensive chamois pads were on display!

Eager to put these top tips to the test? Check out our holiday range to inspire your next cycling adventure.