Think about how often you clean your bike. Now think about how your kit is subject to just the same splattering of road grime, bugs and filth. Reckon it might be time to give your textile kit a trip through the washing machine? OK, here’s how…
Remove any detachable thermal linings and take the armour out of the pockets. These are usually accessed by Velcro closures, though some back protectors can only be reached by undoing interior zips at the base of the spine. Do up the main zip, pockets and any vents or adjustment straps.
Put the kit in the washing machine and add a dose of specialist fabric cleaning product such as this one from Nikwax. Do NOT use powder detergents or add fabric softeners, stain removers or bleach. Set the cycle to 40℃ and wash. At the end of the wash cycle, give the kit a second rinse.
You can tumble dry on a warm cycle, or leave it to dry on the line. If you go for the line option, tumble dry the kit afterwards for 20 minutes on a gentle cycle to reactivate the outer shell’s water-repellent coating.
The iron option
If you can’t tumble dry it, use an iron. Put a towel between the iron and the kit and set the iron to warm, without steam. This is to try and reactivate the water-repellent treatment on the shell.
Spray some water on the outer surface. If it runs off your attempt to reactivate the repellency worked. If it soaks in, the water-repellency coating needs renewing. In this case, retreat the clean, dry kit with a reproofing spray like this one from sDoc100 to give your kit the best chance of keeping you dry.