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ADV PreppingQuick Tips: Are You Destroying Your Technical Riding Gear?

Quick Tips: Are You Destroying Your Technical Riding Gear?

The simple way to clean your waterproof riding gear without ruining it.

Published on 05.25.2018

After dropping a huge chunk of dough on a brand new adventure bike, you do everything you can to keep it running and riding in optimal form. Do you do the same thing with your (sometimes crazy) expensive riding gear? There are many different technologies working together in today’s waterproof, breathable, abrasion-resistant, padded jackets and pants and you don’t want to just hose them off. We grabbed Tracy Motz, Senior Brand Relations Manager at REV’IT! USA to talk about the proper way to get your gear clean without abuse and premature wear.

Put that Detergent Away

We’ve all washed our riding gear with Tide or Gain, but the official recommendation of gear manufacturers is to use a technical gear wash such as Nikwax Tech Wash. These sort of washes are designed to maximize the breathability of the waterproofing and not leave any residue that ‘normal’ laundry detergents do. The residue left behind is actually hydrophilic (attracts water) making the waterproof materials hold onto water at a molecular level rather than letting it roll off.

Adventure Motorcycle Gear Care
Photo courtesy of REV’IT!


“Remove all inner liners and armor, close all zippers and hook and loop fixtures to avoid damaging other fabrics on the garment. Use a specialty waterproof gear-wash formula– in Europe we produce our own REV’IT! Textile Wash, but in the US we strongly recommend Nikwax Tech Wash. Wash in a FRONT LOADING washing machine on the permanent press cycle (105º F). A top loading machine with an agitator can grab onto pockets, zips, etc and cause damage to the garment. Rinse twice,” recommends Tracy.

Reactivating Gore-Tex Is KEY

“The Gore-Tex coating is ‘reactivated’ with heat,” Tracy says. “So the recommendation is to tumble the garment for 20 minutes and then let it finish hang drying. If a dryer isn’t an option, Gore itself recommends ‘iron the dry garment on gentle setting (warm, no steam) by placing a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron. This will help reactivate the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment on your garment’s outer fabric.’”

Adventure Motorcycle riding gear cleaning
Photo courtesy of REV’IT!

But, if you burn/melt your riding gear, it will void the warranty. Unless you are rock solid with an iron, wait till you are home with your dryer. For other waterproof materials that are not Gore-Tex, there is no need for heat application, you can just hang them dry. Same with the thermal liners – just wash (tech wash) and hang dry.

Soak It Up

We’ve all had white gear that only stays that way on the first ride. Mud, dirt, and grime work their way into that pearly white material and stain it forever. While there isn’t much you can do about that since any kind of harsh detergent is NEVER recommended, if there is a fresh layer of dirt on your riding gear, try soaking before washing.

“Soaking in warm water overnight is a non-damaging way to loosen some of the dirt, then follow that up with Tech Wash. Stain removers are a no-no! They can degrade the quality of the fabric,” says Tracy.

Adventure Motorcycle Riding Gear Care
Photo courtesy of REV’IT!

Just Say No To Snuggles!

He’s a cute (and a little creepy) bear that wants all your clothes to be fluffy and irresistibly soft, just like him. Well, forget it! Very bad things can happen when fabric softeners are used.

“One thing to keep in mind is to NEVER use cleaning products that contain fabric softeners. A fabric softener works by leaving behind lubricating chemicals on the material, and this can quickly lead to the loosening of weaves and/or the decomposition of textiles that have been purpose-engineered for abrasion resistance.”

Author: Sean Klinger

With his sights set on doing what he loved for a living, Sean left college with a BA in Journalism and dirt bike in his truck. After five years at a dirt-only motorcycle magazine shooting, testing, writing, editing, and a little off-road racing, he has switched gears to bigger bikes and longer adventures. He’ll probably get lost a few times but he’ll always have fun doing it. Two wheels and adventure is all he needs. 

Author: Sean Klinger

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Theo Lübbe
Theo Lübbe
May 25, 2018 10:27 am

“Guuuuuuuurl, how’d you loosen that weave?”
“Oh, I got my Bear to do it for me!”

June 20, 2018 10:06 am

please stop perpetuating the myth that goretex needs to be reactivated.
DWR does need reactivation or a reapplication but that’s it

July 24, 2018 9:43 am
Reply to  richard

It looks like these instructions were pulled directly from the Gore-tex website wash instructions.
Myth or not, it’s probably best to follow their instructions if you ever hope to make a claim upon their lifetime warranty.


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