How To Wash Bike Shorts?

Long rides on your favorite bike wearing your favorite bike-wears are moments you look forward to every now and then. But as much as you enjoy those bike rides in your comfortable cycling outfit, there is no way to like the sweat and dirt that come as a package along with those rides.

You can always wash and get rid of the dirt from your biking jersey and shorts. But of course, you want to know about them all, but let’s learn how to wash bike shorts from this article.

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How To Wash Bike Shorts?

Are you the person who is extra conscious about the longevity of your clothes, and hence prefer using hand wash technique till this date? If not, you must be among those who will shrug off this hand-washing idea and pace up towards the washing machine.

No matter what sort of laundry person you are, we will tell you how to wash your bike shorts for both hand and machine wash.


@benditsenditmendit How to clean your muddy mountain bike shorts. #mountainbike #mtb #mtblife #cleaning #lifehack #pressurewashing #mud #sendit ♬ Hard Work – U.S. Drill Sergeant Field Recordings

Hand Washing Bike Shorts

Many of you must be dedicated followers of this technique. Some might call you old school, but you may prefer hand washing because you care about your clothes and water usage. So let’s learn how to wash bib shorts using only hands.

Soak in a Sink

Fill up the sink with cold water and add some mild detergent or soap with no harsh agent, softener, or chlorine in the water. Mix up the elements, and you have just created a soapy solution.

Flip your bike shorts inside out and throw them in the solution. Squeeze and massage the bicycle shorts until the water foams up. Now let the shorts soak for 15 minutes at least. After 15 minutes, let the water drain and rinse your shorts until soap is thoroughly washed out. For your convenience, you can also use any container, bucket, or bowl.

Using soapy water is the best way to get rid of bacteria in a rapid time. This is because the soap molecules interact with the cell membrane of bacteria. So you are absolutely sure about the hygiene of your shorts.

Tap Water Wash

Simply put the shorts under a running tap, and your shorts are saturated with water. If you are too lazy to do a proper washing task, you can simply squeeze out the excess water and start the drying process.

Or you can put some soap on the shorts and then rinse the soap from the shorts under the running tap. But, again, make sure to rinse until the soap is completely removed from the shorts.

Rinse Under a Shower

Suppose you have no time to wash your bike shorts. At the same time, you cannot wear them the next day without washing them. In moments like this, it is rather smart to rinse the shorts under a shower. Let water saturate the shorts, and you can squeeze out the soapy water simultaneously.

After finishing the shower, just rinse the shorts again using cold water. Furthermore, a great time-saving hack to help you many times, plus you can save some water.

Related reading: Best Ear Warmers For Cycling Reviews & Buying Guide

Machine Washing Bike Shorts

We understand that you do not have all the time to clean your shorts by yourself. Sometimes, you have to take the back seat and let technology handle the labor for you. This is why you have bought that washing machine, right? But while your machine is taking care of the washing, you can take care of other measures.

Pre-Washing Measures

No matter how intelligent your machine is, it is still not sharp enough to understand why the bike shorts need extra care while getting washed. So make sure you do the following things before putting the shorts inside the machine-

Read Instruction

The more you learn about the garment, the better you know about taking care of the product. For example, cycling shorts are usually made of lycra or spandex. The material can be sensitive to some detergent components. Learning more about the fabric will help you to know what cleaning agents to use.

Separate from Other Laundry

The essential washing rule will tell you to separate dark color clothes from light color clothes. We want to remind you of this again. Prevent your shorts from getting shabby after they are washed with other garments.

Flip the Shorts

The inside parts of the shorts are in direct contact with your skin. So it makes more meaning to turn the shorts inside out and put them into washing. Also, there is cushioning inside the shorts to protect your groin from causing you aches after long rides. So flipping the shorts will expose the cushions and clean them well. It will also save the graphics and logos from fading.


We bet you will never want your favorite bike shorts damaged by the velcro of your other biking gear. But, at the same time, you will definitely want to prevent your unzipped jeans from tearing up the shorts. So take precautions before putting your bike shorts with other clothes inside the machine.

Wash Bags

Wash bags are not luxurious items. Instead, they are essential for keeping delicate clothes like biking shorts safe. Otherwise, your expensive shorts can get shredded by other garments or the metal drum of the machine itself. So get a wash bag that has smooth inside and use it to wash delicate clothes like bike shorts.

Machine Washing Tips

Now that you have taken the precautionary steps, you are ready to wash your bike shorts using a washing machine. However, a careful user will always take care of a few things.

Cold Water Wash

Heat can deteriorate the lycra and elastic of your shorts. However, you do not need to throw your shorts in lukewarm water. Cold water with mild detergent is sufficient to remove the dirt and debris from your shorts. On the contrary, using hot water will only reduce the longevity of your favorite shorts.

Delicate Setting

If your machine is smart enough to have a delicate setting button, then rest assured that your shorts are in safe hands. This setting varies from one brand to another. A delicate setting can be considered equivalent to hand wash. This setting can drop the water temperature, do 2 rinse cycles, and spin the clothing at 400 rpm. To be safe, you should cancel the spin cycle and let the bibs air dry.


Detergents with harsh agents can damage the synthetic fibers and elastic of the shorts. You can use additive-free mild detergents designed for sports clothing like Original Activewear Detergent or even Sweat X Sport Max Odor Defense Extreme Activewear Detergent to wash your bike shorts. Soap solution can also be used if you do not have activewear detergent. However, chlorine and fragrant-free soaps are a better choice here.

Drying Process

Most people will agree that it is always better to air dry bike shorts. The heat from the dryer can affect the shorts’ technical fabrics and chamois pad. So rinse the excess water from the clothes and hang them on the drying rack to air dry the piece of clothes. Or, you can place the shorts inside a towel and wring out the water to speed up the drying process.

How Often to Wash Cycling Shorts

It’s recommended that you wash your cycling shorts after every ride. This is a healthy habit as using sweaty and dirty cycling shorts can lead to bacteria buildup over time. However, it’s also true that washing takes some toll on the fabric.

So, you have to be careful and follow the recommended instructions. This will keep the clothing fresh for as long as possible.

However, if you use your shorts only for a non-intensive commute, then you can use it for a few days without washing them.

How to Wash Bike Shorts with Padding

When washing your bike shorts with padding, you can follow the instructions we shared for washing regular bike shorts. Take the shorts and handwash them with a cleanser. If you don’t have a cleanser made specifically for washing bike shorts, you can also use your shower gel.

If you only have a bar of soap at your disposal, don’t use it directly on the shorts. Rather, use it to make cold, soapy water in a tub or in a mug. Use that water to wash your shorts afterwards.

Can You Put Cycling Shorts in the Washing Machine

Yes, you can put cycling shorts in the washing machine. However, you must maintain some things like keeping the spin between 600-800 RPM, setting the wash on gentle, and keeping the temperature under 30 degrees. Remember, the colder the water is, the longer the shorts will last.

Can You Put Bike Shorts in the Dryer

No, you shouldn’t put bike shorts in the dryer. Dryers are known for reducing the lifespan of clothing, especially when it comes to delicate pieces like sportswear.

If you put your bike shorts in the dryer, you’ll soon find the screen-like prints on the shorts start getting brittle. Printed shorts can lose their color and fade over time. Finally, if there are rubber legs on your shorts, they’ll lose grip over time.

Things to Remember

Now that you know A to Z of washing your bike shorts, you can wash them whenever you want. However, for taking the best care of your shorts, remember a few notes,

  • It is better to wash the shorts after every long ride. The bacteria lingering on the clothes can damage the lycra and feast on the sweat. But anyway, you can wash your shorts after 3-4 rides if you find it troublesome to wash them daily. Just remember to air dry the shorts after a ride.
  • The chamois of your bike shorts are not necessarily made of suede leather. Manufacturers today mostly opt for chamois, which are 100% synthetic. So wash them carefully using mild agents.
  • Avoid fabric softener as it coats garments in a stain-blocking subtle film, which can clog up the synthetic fibers of your expensive bike shorts.
  • As mentioned earlier, do not use the dryer to dry the shorts. Opt for air dry instead.

Related reading: Tips For Cycling In Cold Weather

Final Thoughts

You do not have to be a cleanliness freak to understand how important it is to clean the biking gear every time after a long and sweaty ride. However, you must learn the perfect ways to clean your cycling gear so you can use them for a long time. Cleaning bike shorts, in particular, is a must-do task for both men and women riders.

You can wear bike shorts to protect your private parts from chafing from the saddle or hide wear marks after sitting on an oiled leather saddle for hours.

Your reason can be anything, but you must not give bacteria a reason to have a feast from the sweating agents in your shorts. It reduces the longevity of the shorts and can cause infection in your private parts. So do wash your biking shorts and do this more often. We hope our guide on how to wash bike shorts was helpful to you!

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