Tuesday Tip: Cleaning Your Riding Gear

If riding is the most enjoyable part of the sport, cleaning up your bike and riding gear afterward has to rank as the least favorite. But if you’re like us, you’re not like a factory rider who puts on a brand new set of gear every time he heads out for a national moto. That means laundry time.

We hooked up with Fox’s Warren Johnson to get some tips on making sure your gear looks its best even after you eat a few stone spray sandwiches. Take it away Warren¿

“You spend money on pants, jerseys and glove, and you want them to last and look good. There are certain techniques that you can use to keep your gear looking good wash after wash.”

“Today’s motocross gear is very durable. Jerseys are polyester sublimated graphics. No silkscreens and they’re not going to fade or shrink. They’re colorfast. They’re going to last, so you don’t have to worry about that stuff too much. Same with the pants. You can throw in your dark gear with your light gear and you’re going to be fine.

“First of all, when you’re peeling off your gear at the end of the day, most people roll it up into a ball. All that sweat and grime is going to saturate your gear. Getting it out of your gear bag and into the washer before it gets all dry and crusty is the first step. I recommend using a laundry bag. That way it keeps it all in one place, it allows it to breathe, and it makes your clean-up that much easier.

“When I get gear to the washer, one of the things I do is lay out my items out over the washer for prep. That way if there’s extra dirt, it falls into the washer, instead of all over the laundry area.

“If it’s been a muddy race and it looks like there’s going to be stains, I use Spray ‘n Wash to saturate it and let it sit for a little bit. Besides detergent, I always add a scoop of Oxi Clean to the washer. Oxi Clean is the miracle worker¿like Honda Brite for clothing. It works awesome. (Note: Check the tags in your riding gear to see if they recommend avoiding oxygenated cleaners.) Oxi Clean gives your detergent a little boost, and the Spray ‘n Wash itself really penetrates the deep stains. I spray it and let it sit for at least 30 seconds to a minute, and I’ll oversaturate the areas that were heavily roosted so that those stains will come out.

“I do the same thing with the pants. Front and rear, and I put that everywhere that there’s mud. The rubber, Kevlar, leather, nylon, spandex, everywhere. It’s important to let it sit, because the longer you let it sit and saturate the material, and penetrate that stain, the cleaner your stuff’s going to come out. It just takes a little time and patience.”

“The actual washing part is pretty basic. I do recommend securing the waist buckle, and the Velcro on your gloves. When the strap and buckle are flying around, a corner could catch a jersey and pull the material. The pants also hold their shape better when they’re closed. Also, removing your hip pads if you keep them in your pants.”

“I typically put it on a regular cycle, and always use a cold wash and cold rinse. It’s not too rigorous, but it churns enough that you’ll get the proper sudsing and washing.

“You don’t have to do anything special on the leather knees. They’re good as long as you don’t spray any harsh cleaners on there, and really allow the air to get to them and dry naturally. Cows get wet when they’re standing around in pastures, right? In a worst case scenario, check the labels inside for special care instructions.

“After the washing’s over and you’re pulling your gear out, this is equally important. You pull out your stuff and everything’s all balled up because it’s been spinning around. Shake it out, and head for the hangers. You want to hang-dry stuff, and never put it in the dryer. There are too many different materials utilized. Rubber, spandex, leather, that if you try to dry something like that, you’re just going to mess up those materials. So always hang-dry the items you wash.

“I recommend using plastic hangers for your jerseys, or stainless steel. The regular hangers that you get from a cleaners, they’re going to rust, and transfer to your pants and jerseys. Definitely hang-dry the jerseys. If you notice when you pull them out that there are still some stains, repeat the process, just use the Spray ‘n Wash, let it saturate, and the next time it’s going to come out.

“For the pants, our pants have a loop in the back that doubles as a hanger, and as a way to help pull them up. You want to try to separate your clothes enough that the air can circulate through them.

“As far as gloves, they use synthetic materials and some natural materials like leather, you don’t want to put them in the dryer, and lay them out flat when they’re done so that they’re not wadded up and are in a more natural position when you go to put them on.

“I recommend putting together a wire shelf like the one shown in the photos for drying items. You can get them at any home improvement store. They’re perfect for holding helmets, hanging jerseys and gloves. The mesh allows air to easily flow through.

“For chest protectors, instead of taking the hose or your power washer and spraying the heck out of it, just hose it down lightly to get the surface dirt off. If you hit it with your power washer, you’re likely to blow the stickers and graphics off. After you’ve used a hose to get off the bug chunks of dirt, take a rag with a little non-abrasive cleaner like 409 or Simple Green to clean it up. If you try to use the wash rag with the big chunks of dirt still there, all you end up doing is scratching it. On the inside, be sure to get the dirt out from in between the Bio-Foam and shell, before wiping down the inside. Shake off the excess, and hang it to dry. The Bio-Foam is like a sponge and will soak up water, so it’ll take a while to dry. To give it some brightness after it’s been scratched up, give it a shot of silicone spray. That’ll bring back some luster to the Lexan. 

“In closing, your gear is meant to take care of you, so take care of your gear and you’ll have long-lasting enjoyment out of it.