Nikwax manufactures high quality cleaning and waterproofing products. Nikwax prolongs the life and enhances the performance of clothing, footwear & equipment. Whether you work or spend your leisure time outside, Nikwax keeps you dry.
Nikwax products are EASY to use. The products go exactly where needed; less product is wasted, saving you money. You can treat gear with Nikwax in your washing machine, by hand or by using their spray-on products.
Nikwax products are SAFE to use. No propellant gases, non-toxic, no fluorocarbons, environmentally safe. It’s WaterBased. By using Nikwax you can renew your gear and reduce the impact on the earth's resources.
Nikwax products keep you DRY. Nikwax ensures you get maximum performance from your gear so you stay dry, warm and comfortable in wet weather. Enjoy your time in the outdoors (even if it is work!!)
1. How should I wash my bib shorts and how often?
Anyone who has had to expose themselves to their doctor to get saddle sores or boils treated because they wore dirty shorts will back me up when I say that you should wash your shorts after every ride. Never wear dirty shorts with dried in sweat and body oils as that’s just asking for trouble.
When it comes to cleaning you’ve got two choices, either in a washing machine or by hand. Using the washing machine at home is convenient and will ensure that your shorts come out clean. With regards to choosing the wash cycle and water temperature always follow the manufacturers washing instructions inside your shorts. If you want your shorts to last and to perform at their best you should avoid using household detergents and never use domestic fabric softeners as these will ruin your shorts wicking properties by causing the fabric to retain moisture. Cycling shorts are made out of materials that wick sweat away from the body in order to keep your skin as dry as possible. This is really important as damp skin is one of the main reasons why we can develop saddle sores and let’s be honest, wet shorts feel horrible to wear as well.
So if you can’t use household products what product can you use I hear you ask! Luckily for you we have just the stuff. Nikwax Base Wash will not only clean your shorts of any dirt or nastiness but will actually decrease drying times and increase wicking. In both real world and laboratory tests Nikwax Base Wash has more than doubled the wicking capabilities of some shorts! Just use Base Wash in your washing machine instead of your normal detergent.
But what if you haven’t got access to a washing machine, like say after a commute to work, what can you do then? Don’t worry as Nikwax still has your back. Base Wash is also available in a convenient Travel Gel formulation for hand washing. Nikwax Base Wash Travel Gel comes in a tube that’s small enough to fit in a jersey pocket and it takes less than 5 minutes to clean your kit in a sink, so there’s no excuse for wearing dirty shorts! Also as Base Wash drastically cuts drying times your shorts will be dry and ready to wear in next to no time.
2. Does every waterproof jacket need to be re-proofed and if so how regularly?
If you want your waterproof jacket to be breathable so you don’t become a sweaty mess when you wear it then you will need to use some aftercare products on it every now and then.
The majority of waterproofs made for cyclists work on the same principal, they will let water vapour (sweat) escape but won’t let water droplets (rain) through. When you’re on your bike a waterproof garments ability to let sweat escape, or breathe, is just as important if not more so than its ability to repel rain as there’s no point keeping dry from the rain if you are going to get wet from sweat instead.
There are hundreds of different makes and models of cycling waterproofs available but they nearly all share a similar construction, a delicate membrane or laminate that’s both breathable and waterproof that’s protected from damage by a face fabric. It’s the face fabric (the material you can see on the outside of the jacket) that will occasionally need to be re-proofed. A new waterproof garments face fabric will have a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment applied to it, this is what makes water bead up on the surface and not soak into the fabric. This beading up of water is essential if your jacket is to be breathable. If the face fabric on your jacket soaks up water (this is commonly called ‘wetting out’) then the water becomes a barrier that stops sweat escaping, therefore you get wet from sweat rather than rain and although DWR has the word ‘durable’ in it it’s anything but, most factory applied DWR’s will wear out in less than a year’s use!
Don’t panic though, your expensive waterproof jacket can breathe like new again with the use of Nikwax products. First clean your jacket using Nikwax Tech Wash. It’s important to clean your jacket regularly as dirt on the outside and body oils on the inside will soak up water and stop breathability. Don’t wash your jacket in household detergents though as they will make your jacket soak up water rather than repel it! Once your jacket is clean use Nikwax TX Direct to restore the water repellent finish. There are two versions of TX Direct one for a use in a washing machine and a spray-on version. I nearly always use the wash-in version; I only use the spray-on version on jackets that have a wicking layer that you wear next to the skin and there aren’t many of those about. After applying TX Direct let it dry (you can air dry or tumble dry, it doesn’t make a difference) and your jacket will work like new.
You only need to re-proof a jacket when it wets out when it’s clean. To give you some idea of how often that will be, I ride 150-200 days a year and re-proof my jacket 2-3 times per year.
3. How do I remove sweat stains from my cycling wear?
Sweat stains could be either the white staining you get on clothing that’s caused by salt in your sweat or the yellow-ish stains that you can get on clothing under your arms that’s a result of a chemical reaction between your skin and antiperspirants. It doesn’t matter which type of ‘sweat stain’ it is as I’d recommend the same method to remove them both.
If you have some really heavy stains on your cycling kit you can remove them by gently scrubbing a small amount of the relevant Nikwax Travel Gel (Tech Wash for waterproofs, Base Wash for everything else) into the stain before washing. Travel Gels are highly concentrated so when used like this they are great at removing stubborn stains without damaging technical fabrics.
4. My gloves have turned all crusty (?) and solid is there a way to get them back to looking and feeling fresh?
Nearly all cycling gloves are now made out of synthetic materials so the ‘crusty’ feeling will be the result of salt in sweat setting the material solid rather than leather that needs conditioning. A good clean is all they need to bring them back to life. If your gloves are wind or waterproof then clean those with Tech Wash, for everything else use Base Wash. Personally I clean my gloves in the sink with a small blob of the relevant Nikwax Travel Gel as they don’t take long to get clean and then after rinsing and wringing out the water I wear them for a bit as they dry. Yes I do look a bit mad wearing cycling gloves indoors but I find they mould to my hands as they dry and then guess what, they fit like a glove!
5. I love my base layers but they can be super delicate – is there something I can do to make sure they stay durable?
All base layers are essentially designed to do the same thing, maintain a consistent body temperature by regulating heat loss and moisture management. I could go into an enormous amount of detail here as base layers are made out of a huge range of materials all with slightly different properties. I’m going to resist the urge to geek out and bore you to death though and just get to the facts on the best ways to look after them.
Base layer materials come from two main categories natural (wool, silk, etc.) and synthetic (polypropylene, polyester, etc.). Both categories have their advantages and disadvantages. Synthetic fibres move sweat effectively away from your skin and dry out quicker than natural fibres, they can really STINK though and offer little insulation when wet. Even when wet, natural fibres can help the body to maintain a consistent temperature and have a natural resistance to smells. They can be really delicate though and when wet can take ages to dry. So with two very different and distinct types of base layer it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that there are two different recommendations for looking after them.
Synthetics are best cleaned with Nikwax Base Wash. Base Wash will dramatically increase the wicking and decrease the drying time of base layers while at the same time deodorise any existing stinks and inhibit the build-up of new ones.
Natural fibre base layers should be cleaned with Nikwax Wool Wash. Wool Wash will hugely increase your natural fibre base layers wicking capabilities and massively decrease its drying time. Washing natural fibre base layers, especially wool, will result in them losing some conditioning that will lead to the fibres becoming damaged. If you use conventional household softeners or even wool specific conditioners they will ruin the base layers ability to absorb sweat. Wool Wash also has some really clever conditioning agents that won’t stop the base layer wicking but will add softness and help strengthen the fibres.
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