How to Clean Motorcycle Adventure Gear & Apparel | 5 Essential Tips
An ADV ride can be a messy thing. Swarms of insects, knee deep mud puddles, and hours of sweating can turn your riding gear into a pigsty.
Want to avoid the mess? You might as well stow your motorcycle away in the corner of your garage.
Getting dirty isn’t a bad thing, though. In fact, it’s part of what makes ADV riding such an experience. Venturing through water crossings and getting coated in mud with your riding buddies can be some of the most fun times of your life.
But really, don’t worry about keeping clean. With a few tips and tricks, washing your motorcycle gear will be less of a chore and it will come out as good as new.
Below are our five tips to properly washing your riding gear during and after the dirtiest of days.
1. Thoroughly Clean Your Gear Before Packing it Away
The typical rinse with the hose or high-pressure washer may be plenty fine for a quick cleaning, especially if you plan on using your gear again in the near future. Things should change, though, if you plan to pack your gear away for an extended period of time, such as winter storage.
Why would extra time matter? The dirtiness of your gear reaches far beyond what you can visually see on the outer surface. For example, the inner materials of your gear will absorb the salt and various oils from your body’s sweat, which if packed away, can make for some seriously smelly odors coming from your gear bag or closet. Even worse, those salts and oils can cause deterioration of the inner linings with enough time.
Save yourself the headache—and maybe a few dollars—by doing a deep cleaning of your gear at least once a year. The more often you ride, the more often all-out washing should happen. However, at a minimum we’d recommend doing this at least once per riding season, preferably as winter closes in.
2. Always Keep Your Visor Clean
We’ve all had that bug splatter right in the middle of our visor. No matter how hard we try to ignore it, it’s there and affecting our focus on the road in front of us. Having broken vision while riding is certainly annoying and most definitely dangerous.
Do yourself a favor by grabbing a soft, microfiber towel and a bottle of visor-specific cleaner. Coat the visor with the cleaner, then wipe it down until it’s spotless.
Most of these visor cleaners also promote offer anti-fog and rain-repellent finishes that will make your ride that more enjoyable. No room in your bags? Other companies offer small, disposable visor wipes that will get the job done.
3. Soak and Scrub Your Boots for a Like-New Look
There’s nothing like the look of a brand-new pair of boots. If you’re like us, you dread the thought of getting them muddy for the first time. Once they hit the dirt, they’re never the same. Smudges, stains, and scuffs are inevitable. Fortunately, there’s a couple tricks to cleaning boots that will keep yours looking fresh much longer than usual.
Got mud caked on your riding boots? Start with a high-pressure power wash to knock it all off. If you don’t have a pressure of your own, head to the manual car wash and use theirs.
Next, coat them top to bottom with a degreaser and let them soak while the cleaner eats into the muck. After a few minutes, rinse them off before using a soapy-water solution with a rag or brush to scrub every possible area. All done? Do one last rinse to clear all the chemicals you used, then place them in the sunlight and let them air dry.
4. Hand Wash Your Helmet’s Liner
There’s no getting around the fact that you are surrounded by and breathe in all the germs and dirtiness that’s inside your helmet. Especially on an adventure touring motorcycle.
You can spend hours or even days in that same helmet inhaling every bit of crud. Get rid of the odors, bacteria, and filth by giving your helmet a serious cleaning inside and out.
Almost every new helmet on the market comes with a fully-removable liner—take advantage of it. Spend some time removing the liner and washing it with gentle cleaners. Because the liner is typically made of very high-quality material, we prefer to wash it by hand rather than tossing it in the washing machine. You can never be too careful.
5. Wash your Gore-Tex Jackets and Pants Inside and Out
Like your helmet, the liners in your tops and bottom are often removable and should be deep cleaned. Pull out each piece of liner and toss them in the washing machine with a gentle cycle. These are pieces often come in direct contact with your skin, so there’s plenty of sweat build up within them. Wash these often.
Now, it’s time to clean the outer layer of the jacket or pants. First, make sure all the pockets are empty and zipped tight. Use a mild detergent to spray the dirty areas before using a light brush to scrub them clean.
Finally, throw them in the wash—again, on a gentle cycle—and tumble dry them afterwards, this will reactivate the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish on the outside of the material.