Smell good on your next ride when you clean your helmet and shoes
When was the last time you washed your bike helmet, your bike shoes, and your running shoes? If you haven’t done so in the past month, they probably stink. If you can’t smell it, ask someone else to, then look at their face; the truth comes without words being spoken. Follow the advice below when you clean your helmet and shoes.
Are the straps white with salt deposits? Are the little pads slippery from sunscreen and hair product? Is the outside stained with grime? I rinse my Rudy Project helmet after almost every ride. It is five years old and still looks brand new.
TO WASH IT
In a pinch you can use some Hand Sanitizer to get things clean on the go, but every now and then you need a thorough wash. Turn on your kitchen sink and let the water run lukewarm. Run the water on the helmet, the pads, and the strap. Take a tablespoon of shampoo, dish soap, liquid hand soap, or liquid laundry detergent. Rub it between your hands and fingers. Then apply it to all the surfaces that absorb water. Rinse it thoroughly, shake it to get excess water out. Place it in the sun to dry. Wipe the outside with any cleaner like Simple Green or Pedro’s Bike Wash. Stay away from stronger detergents. Any residual that is not rinsed will run into your eyes when you sweat in it again.
I train with socks in training shoes and race without socks in flats. A lot of my training is on the bea
ch and if the tide is high, my shoes getwet with salt water (life is tough in La Jolla, CA). So I wash them a lot. I know there are places where you get something like Vessi waterproof sneakers, but I enjoy running on the beach. Anyway, making sure you’ve always got Clean Kicks is important as nobody wants their favorite shoes to get dirty, which is why getting a shoe cleaner is definitely advisable.
TO WASH THEM
Machine wash them in cold water with some laundry detergent. Wash 4 or 5 pair at a time. When they are done spinning, immediately put them in the sun or dry-room to dry. Believe it or not, most quality running shoes can withstand about 20-30 washes. The midsole and outsole these days are glued so well that they can withstand this sort of care. For most of us that is about a wash a week before it is time to replace the shoes anyway.
I still can’t understand people that train without socks all the time (and I am no Felix Unger). You can do this now and then to simulate a race, okay, but not all the time. Bike shoes are a lot more resilient than I would have imagined first by racing NORBA during a few very wet and muddy seasons, but more recently by doing spinning workouts and indoor stationary bike interval workouts. I have a pair of SIDI Triathlon shoes that I have rinsed and washed with regular shampoo in the shower 100 times and they are still in good condition.
TO WASH THEM
Use the sink again. Get room temperature water, mild detergent, and an old toothbrush. Shampoo works too. Wet the shoes, clean as needed, shake really well, towel dry as much as possible, then set to dry in the sun. If the shoes have leather, saddle soap works well to preserve the softness. I am testing bee’s wax right now on a brand new pair of SIDI Triathlon Shoes so I will report later.
Keep your gear smelling and looking better when you clean your helmet and shoes. This will also reduce the likelihood of acne, infection in the eyes and ears, and promote healthier feet, toes, and toenails.
Emilio De Soto II
De Soto Sport Triathlon Company