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How To Clean Textile Motorcycle Gear

how to clean textile motorcycle gear

You take a great deal of pride in completing long-haul treks or riding through particularly challenging conditions. After all, part of being an avid motorcyclist is putting both your skills and your motorcycle to work to accomplish hard-to-achieve goals. Still, if you do not regularly clean your textile riding gear, you are apt to look, feel and smell a bit funky.

The textile gear you wear is optimal for protecting your skin from road rash and wind shear. It also has an iconic design that looks as great on your motorcycle as it does in a bar or restaurant. You can’t take that fact for granted, though. Routinely cleaning textile gear ensures you get full use out of your jacket, vest or pants.

How do you clean a motorcycle textile jacket?

Some General Warnings

High-quality textile riding gear is not exactly cheap. As such, you want your protective garments to last as long as possible. Regular care and maintenance is an important component in extending the useful life of the items you wear. When cleaning your gear, though, you must be careful not to damage it. For example, the waterproof layer on the outside of your jacket may not hold up well to laundry detergents, fabric softeners, heat or scrubbing.

To ensure you do not do more harm than good, you should keep a few general warnings in mind. Most importantly, you should always read the care label attached to your garment. This label is likely either on the inside of the back collar or band or sewn into an inside seam. After reading the label, you should be certain you follow its instructions to the letter. Remember, because gear waterproofing and other features are often delicate, you can ruin them with incorrect cleaning.

Many modern pieces of riding gear have instructions that require them to be cleaned by hand. While this may seem like a pain, it allows you to be careful with your riding gear. Even washing by hand, however, presents some challenges. For example, you must be certain you are using the right kind of detergent. If your garment’s cleaning instructions recommend not using bleach, you should check your detergent to see if it is bleach-free. Finally, never use fabric softener on textile motorcycle gear.

Your First Step

If you are wondering how to get the smell out of smelly MC gear, you will be relieved to know the process is pretty simple.

Whether you are cleaning gear that is or is not machine washable, your first step is always to check for spots. When you are flying down the highway, a juicy insect may splatter across the front of your jacket. Or, you may drop a glob of mustard when eating a hot dog at your favorite roadside stand. Either way, spots can quickly turn into stains. As such, you should regularly inspect your riding gear for spots. If you see them, you should attempt to remove them as quickly as possible, regardless of whether you are cleaning the entire garment.

To spot clean, use a wet towel to wet the stained area. Then, use a clean section of towel to dab at the stain. The goal here is to lift the particles out of and away from the textile. You do not want to grind them further into the fabric’s fibers. Patience is critical when spot cleaning. That is, you may have to repeat the dabbing process several times to work the stain free.

If the stain is stubborn, you may need to be a bit more aggressive. If the stain persists after trying to dab it out with a wet towel, you may need to use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently dislodge it. Do not over scrub the textile, however, as doing so may damage sensitive fibers. Before attempting the procedure, you should test it on a hidden part of your jacket.

Once you have removed the stain, be sure to wash all remaining detergent from the fabric. If you leave some behind, it may cause long-term damage to your gear.

The Cleaning Process

After you have removed as many stains as possible, you are ready to clean the garment. If your gear has a hand-wash only instruction, washing the entire garment in a sink or basin of water is technically the right way to complete the cleaning process.

Before beginning, make sure all pockets are empty. Then, zip up the garment, snap it together or otherwise complete all closures. Next, simply submerge the garment in a solution of water and detergent, gently agitating it with your hands to be sure the entire piece is fully soaked. Swishing the garment around is a good way to ensure water and detergent are able to reach every part of it.

Textiles have a remarkable ability to hold onto detergent. Therefore, after you have fully cleaned the piece, you need to rinse it a few times. When you no longer see bubbles or suds in the rinse water, you know the garment is ready to dry.

Even if you have a garment that has hand-wash instructions, you may be able to use a modern washing machine. If you have access to a front-loading, agitator-free washing machine with a hand-wash cycle, you are probably safe to use it for your textile gear. Note, though, you may need to rinse the garment a few times after the cycle to remove built-up detergent.

How do you clean textile motorcycle gloves? The process is the same as cleaning a jacket, pants or vest: check the care label and follow the instructions.

A Finishing Step

After you have thoroughly cleaned your gear, you need to dry it. To do so properly, you must once again refer to the cleaning instructions. If your gear’s label says to tumble dry, do so. After all, some gear features require a bit of heat to reactivate. On the other hand, if your gear requires air drying, you should hang it up until it is completely dry.

To get the most out of your textile riding gear, you need it to be clean, fresh and smell-free. Fortunately, with a bit of care and some effort, you can ensure your gear looks and smells as good as it performs. Now that you know how to clean your gear, you are ready to tackle the project with confidence.

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