How to wash your cycling clothes in a sustainable way
Washing that laundry basket that you have at home represents a greater impact on the environment than we would like to accept. Between 75 and 80% of the impact on the environment from the life cycle of our clothes comes from washing and drying, and this is because a lot of energy is needed to heat the wash water and run the drying cycle.
So there is great potential to reduce our personal consumption of energy and water, and therefore, reduce our environmental footprint when we take care of dirty clothes. Just keep in mind certain washing habits that will do less harm to the environment.
No matter what you wear in lycra, cotton, casual or formal clothes to go to work , getting dirty or staining your clothes with grease while riding a bike is something that has happened to all of us and, if it has not happened to you, it is because not you have pedaled enough, but soon it will happen to you.
That outfit that makes you look so good on your bike, only needed 12,000 liters of water to be manufactured. Have a closet full of clothes, makeovers, follow trends, always be in style. A maddening race that will inevitably lead us into the void.
Lots of clothes in our hands
Whatever the reason for shopping, many of us have too many clothes on our hands. According to a report by the Council for Textile Recycling , it is estimated that the average citizen in first world countries throws 32 kilograms of clothing into the trash every year, which is equivalent to approximately 191 T-shirts or about 35 jeans per person.
This crazy consumerist race not only generates a social model that preys on the lives of the maquiladora workers that manufacture your tennis shoes in Vietnam, your jacket in Bangladesh, or your jeans in Tehuacán (Puebla). They are also looting natural resources. And to show a button is enough.
How much water is used to make cloth?
In Mexico, the National Consumer Institute (INCO) has determined that for every kilo of cotton fiber manufactured in the country, 7,000 liters of water are used. Vital liquid that once it was used for the manufacture of textiles, is unusable for human consumption. And if it is lycra or synthetic fabrics, the figures and the ecological damage increase exponentially.
Be sustainable in your outfit
It is not about running anguish to the closet to burn your clothes and never stop in a store again in your life, or that you dress in raw blanket shorts and walk down the street dressed in newspapers and old cardboard.
Do you want to be sustainable in terms of the outfit you wear? Yes there are options, and they are simpler than you think. Responsible consumption, reuse, recycling of clothes and, of course, and not least: the care you give to the clothes that you already have in your closet to extend their useful life and consume less.
Solutions to wash your cycling clothes
Because who can say that he rides a bicycle every day and has never got his skirt or pants dirty with grease?
But just because the transmission chain of your bike tattooed your pants with grease or dirt has left the indelible mark of the skunk on your butt, it does not mean that you have to get rid of your clothes and go out to buy new.
For this purpose, I want to share with you a series of tips that will make your outfit last longer. And once it has been stained, you can easily clean it, extending its useful life in order to become sustainable as far as our wardrobe is concerned.
If you are one of those who use the bike because you are concerned about the environment, you can well make a little effort and also be sustainable with your outfit.
How to remove grease stains from your cycling clothing
Getting grease on your clothes while pedaling to your destination is a shame, but that doesn’t have to mean goodbye to that garment. Most of the time, that stained garment is salvageable.
I am not very given to recommending specific brands of products, and to remove dirty clothes should not be the exception, but in this case I will give you old advice: use any type of degreaser, as long as you follow this golden rule: wash the Turn on while the fat is fresh.
Home remedies are the best
But if for some reason it is not possible, use Pinol , a household cleaning product, made from natural pine oil that has saved me from terrible stains on more than one occasion.
The way I use it is very simple: I pour a little cleaner directly on the garment, then I scrub a little; If the stain is persistent, I use an old toothbrush and then put it in the washing machine, and voila, when it comes out it is clean and without stains. It has never failed me and I always have a little of this cleaner on hand at home.
Now, there are products such as degreasing wipes (which I personally do not use because of the fiber that compose them that generates waste), but if you want to use them they are also good, just make sure they are not chlorine-based, because that will do It will discolor the fabric and leave an even worse stain on the garment.
Another remedy that works, but is less efficient with more stubborn stains, is dish detergent, but it generates a lot of suds, which causes you to use more water for washing.
Vinegar as a fabric softener and other functions
Another remedy that is very effective and that has many functions in washing is vinegar. It is kind to the environment and very cheap.
You can substitute the vinegar for the fabric softener. Pouring half a cup of white vinegar into the washing machine will boost the detergent you use without damaging your clothes or the environment.
Due to its acidic properties, vinegar is excellent for fading the marks left by your sweat and deodorant in the armpit area, especially on cotton clothing.
If your clothes retain unpleasant odors, even washed, you can use the vinegar in the next wash and the smell will disappear.
There are many ways to extend the life of your clothes. However, it is always best to avoid the stain from the beginning. And how can you avoid it? In the case of fat, you can start by rolling up your pants; fasten it with clips for that purpose; remove excess grease from your chain, use chain guards, fenders, and even wear clothing – from casual and fashionable to very elegant – with Teflon.
If you are going to make repairs on your bike, try to use an apron, gown, or clothing that you do not mind staining, and if you do repairs on the road, just pay attention to where you recharge and not to touch your clothes with dirty hands. grease.
How to make the clothes you wear on the bike last longer
This seems redundant, but reading the washing instructions on clothing labels is something that very few of us do, but what do you think? They are very important. If you follow the instructions given with the garment by the manufacturer, it will have the best chance of living a long and productive life.
Bagging your clothes
When you mix different types of fabrics such as: denim with thinner fabrics, it is recommended that your more delicate clothes be placed in mesh laundry bags (also known as lingerie or underwear bags). This will prolong the life of your clothes, as washing machines, especially machines with a central rotor, are extremely rough on clothes, which can cause clothes to get tangled up with the blades, other clothes and stretch them, and even tear during the wash cycle.
Putting your delicates in a laundry bag will ensure that they get clean, but they won’t get tangled in everything else, or rip.
When you wash your cycling jerseys or any other garment that has zippers (zippers), be sure to close them. Unzipped zippers can tear other items in the washing machine. And over time, you will deform the design of your garment. It is also a good idea to turn the garment inside out before putting it to wash to take care of its shape.
Separating Your Clothes
Don’t just throw your cycling wear with your everyday wear. Cycling garments should be washed on a gentler wash cycle than jeans and T-shirts. This will give them a longer shelf life.
Hand washing versus using a washing machine depends on personal preference. Personally, I like to wash sweaters and socks in the washing machine and hand wash shorts, because this way I can take more care in those areas more prone to bacteria, but to tell the truth, there probably won’t be much difference, always and when you use the delicate cycle in your washing machine. Regular or heavy settings in the washing machine will likely damage delicate fabrics.
If it doesn’t smell….
If you only took a short trip and did not sweat much, hang your clothes in a ventilated place before opting for the wash. The more times a garment goes through the washing machine, the shorter its useful life will be. Try to wash your clothes only when necessary. But beware … if you’ve sweated, wash it, your health and your skin will thank you.
Lastly, if for some reason you cannot wash your clothes as soon as possible, I recommend that you put the very sweaty ones to dry, hanging them on a hook before putting them in the laundry basket. In this way you will prevent all your clothes from being impregnated with bacteria from your sweat.
Thing to avoid
Never, but never put cycling clothes or synthetic fibers in the clothes dryer. This is the quickest way to ruin your outfit, as these types of fibers were designed to dry quickly, and using the heat of the dryer will ruin their properties, in addition to leaving your garment with burned fibers – although at first you will seem imperceptible.
Thanks to the quick-drying material from which most cycling garments are made, they should be dried outdoors. If the weather does not allow it, you can hang it on your own bike one night before you use it, if for some reason you want to use the clothes dryer, make sure that the cycle is for delicate clothes and without hot air.
Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets when washing or drying your cycling outfit. The residues of some fabric softeners will damage the technology of their synthetic fibers, causing damage to the texture and protection against water and sweat that many of your garments have.