How to properly clean your motorcycle equipment

Maintenance and cleaning tips for biker clothing

Cleaning a motorcycle equipment requires many precautions depending on its type, material and constitution. A wash machine is not always the solution… Ready to clean and scrub?

Why cleaning your motorcycle equipment?

First, for the hygiene but also for the protection. Over time and weather, pollution, abrasive sand and traces of hydrocarbons, oil or grease can permanently stain, damage surfaces and equipment. It is also possible for the dirt to get deeper and tarnished all. Second, it’s because of the proliferation of skin particles, bacteria and other smells.

A regular washing

Whatever happens, a gentle wash is recommended. The more you use your equipment, the more you need to wash it even if you are not aware of it. For this step, precautions are necessary.

Read the labels

First thing to do: read the labels! They are not there by chance, even if we tend to cut them, They mention not only the origin of the articles , the constitution of the equipment, but also and especially the instructions of maintenance, often exclusive to the model.

The pictograms indicate whether or not it is possible to clean and how to do so (temperature, operating procedure, machine or dry washing, drying or not, etc.). Problem, labels sometimes fade or degrade over time. Or not always understandable. Or you have removed them.

Basic Clothing Label

The meaning of pictograms

Know your equipment

Your washing type depends on the technique and composition of your equipment. Motorcycle clothing, jacket and trousers, are for some made up of different layers. We find waterproof liners, hot or both. They may have built-in, laminated or removable (zip) waterproof membranes, windbreaks or both.

There are more or less technical external fabrics, more or less breathable, more or less waterproof (by construction or by treatment) and every item must have a specific washing and drying. Last point: hard, semi-rigid, soft or foam protections are not machine washable, but replaceable. Depending on the construction of your equipment, you must adapt the type of cleaning.

Jacket Lining Fabric

How to clean textile equipment?

Whether it is a jacket or trousers, the textile equipment involves the same procedures. A specialized cleaner should be sprayed beforehand or put in the washing machine.

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Manufacturers of equipment offer their own products, often detergents, but all have similar properties, which do not deteriorate the lining or protective treatments. Clothing with gore-tex in particular must be cleaned with a specific detergent in order not to clog the fabrics and reduce its breath ability or others.

Attention. Oiled cotton garments (Belstaff type), escape the rule and have a specific cleaning mode.

Maintenance of an oiled cotton garment:

Except in extreme cases, oiled cotton (also called waxed cotton) is not washed into machine. It would lose all its treatment and its sealing at the same time its natural protection.To clean your jacket:

  • Wash regularly your jacket. Brush the surface with a soft brush or rinse (cold water directly ) to remove deposits of sand and dust.
  • Store the garment and let it dry naturally.

Reprocessing the jacket for waterproofing and waxing:

  • Take a soft cotton cloth and with a circular movements start apply in a thin layer a heated wax ; There are also vaporizer waxes, less effective, but more suitable for certain waxed textiles.
  • Apply a little more wax to the most fragile areas.
  • Wipe the thickest wax.
  • Let the waxed garment dry overnight or for 12 hours.
  • Check excess oil for consistent color and protection.

Clean smart

Maintenance of a textile garment (excluding oiled cotton)

For synthetic garments, the process is different. Some offer an external sealing by treatment, so it is possible and recommended to renew it once the cleaning is done. A sealing spray treatment to apply.

Washing with soft soap

If you regularly clean your equipment, or for a localized stain, hot water (but not boiling), soft soap and elbow oil may be enough for the external surface. For deeper wash, you use wach-machine but carefully. However, a microfiber wipe is important to remove ink and retain impurities.

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Washing machine conditions

Fabric garments, whether natural or synthetic, wash at 30°, no more, on a delicate program without softener or additive other than as specified by the manufacturer. It could damage specific textile membranes and structures (mesh type). Be careful, do not spine your clothes, remember to turn off the function on your washing machine and choose the right program.

In advance:

  • Remove the covers. You can wash them with a brush and soap, or with a soft cloth and soap, or with water.
  • If possible, turn your garment over to expose the inner surface, if it is not too fragile (honeycomb type for example).
  • Detach removable liners. The liners should be cleaned following the recommendations found on their own label.
  • Close pockets to protect zippers.


Start washing following manufacturer’s recommendations. As per precaution, use less weight laundry than usual or laundry without aggressive products and no additives, softener or other.

After washing:

Hang your equipment without spinning. Let dry for one to three days. Do not attempt to dry with any form of heat source. Leave the garment in a temperate room or out side if it’s a sunny day.

Last point:

Do not iron your equipment or its lining. If you want to try the experiment, some equipment allows it. To do this, put the iron on delicate position. Reduce contact heat with a cloth and do not use steam.

How to clean a motorcycle jeans?

Whether it is a proper motorcycle jeans, a technical trousers or an over-trousers, the washing rules are relatively similar. Once again, reading the label is essential to have the instructions for use.

Motorcycle Denim Jeans with protection

The jeans or the like get heavily soiled and retain more dirt. It must be washed regularly and preferably in a machine not too loaded

  • remove knee and hip pads (if present)
  • Flip pants for better washing
  • Program the machine at 30°, delicate program and without spinning or with delicate one (minimal rotation). Classic laundry and without additives.
  • Dry naturally. The use of a dryer is too much of a hassle, but you can try it if your trousers are not lined or fitted with a waterproof insert.
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If you wish, you can apply a waterproof or durable water repellent (DWR) treatment on the dry trousers. It breathe less in summer, but be more considerate in autumn, winter and spring.

Wash technical trousers or trousers (excluding rain gear)

The fitness of these equipment is similar to that of the motorcycle textile garments we have already mentioned. To summarize:

  • No protection at the time of washing
  • No internal lining, must be cleaned separately
  • Soap washing preferred for routine maintenance
  • Machine washing at 30° on delicate program, no wringing for deep cleaning
  • Natural drying, hung in an aerated room at room temperature


The maintenance of a motorcycle equipment is special and subject to common sense rules to maintain its appearance and its properties. Each material has its own washing rules, most of the time written on the labels. Grandma’s recipes are also valid! We didn’t find better for a regular refreshment. Should we switch to leather? Next time we will mention leather care.

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