The weather’s getting hotter and the cycling clothing’s getting, well, stinkier. We all wash most of our clothing, but what about helmets, gloves and shoes? They can all get rather “fragrant” if we don’t give them some attention. But here’s the good news: there’s a cheap and effective answer to your kit hygiene needs.
You can go crazy in any supermarket or store with the large number of choices of cleaning products and odour-eating sprays. But there’s a silver bullet. There’s a hero. There’s one product out there to suit your needs: good old baking soda.
It’s crazy, but it’s true. It’s pretty much all you need; it’s the hygiene multi-tool of your dreams, and you can get it at most stores.
Huh? So how?
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is mainly used to make bakery products fluffy and light. Baking powder is not the same. For cycling kit hygiene, we want soda—not powder (powder is a mixture of stuff for making cakes, including about 25% baking soda, but also other ingredients). The most famous baking soda brand worldwide is Arm & Hammer.
For us cyclists, there are a number of important non-baking related properties this stuff has. For example, it is a mild disinfectant and fungicide—so dust your shoes and helmet after that long ride, race or cyclosportive to get rid of foul odours.
You can safely add it to your washing machine containing ample amounts of Spandex, Lycra, and Elastane, without any ill effects. Also, if you have a stain on your favourite shirt, you can rub baking soda paste directly onto your garment to soak the stain out.
Especially stinky bike kit can be soaked overnight in a deodorising bucket of water containing a cup of baking soda.
OK, this is pretty amazing, considering how cheap the and relatively environmentally-harmless the stuff is. So, what else can baking soda do? It can kill cockroaches, put out electrical fires, cure bad breath, whiten your teeth, and it is often used to treat the eye infection blepharitis.
Anything else? You can clean silver with it, feed it to cows as a supplement, heal wounds from incendiary bullets, and even use it to soothe the effects of tear gas. You can drink a mild solution of baking soda to cure indigestion. If suffering from an overdose of aspirin, use baking soda. And lots of other stuff. Who knew?