I am a self-confessed laundry junkie… I actually enjoy doing it. The smell of freshly laundered clothes or the Bounce infused smell coming from the dryer are worth living for. So I thought I would share my tips and tricks in making my riding clothes last.
1. The Key to Success: Preparation.
As the old adage goes, you should separate clothing by colours (ie. lights and darks). This will prevent darker colours from bleeding onto lighter clothes. These days manufacturers also recommend you wash fluorescent or bright colours together as while not dark the intense dye may also bleed.
Next it’s important that you turn your breeches inside out and make sure all Velcro is closed. This prevents the Velcro from sticking to parts of your breeches or other clothing in the washing machine. It also prevents lint from collecting on the Velcro rendering it useless. Turning your clothes inside out also prevents pilling and if Velcro does happen to stick to another piece being washed at least any damage won’t be noticeable when you wear it.
2. Laundry Detergent: Be Snobby, Choose Wisely.
I realize that there are detergents specifically for breeches but truthfully I’m not interested in paying twice the price for a bottle a quarter of the size of what the grocery store offers. For breeches and sportswear, Woolite is your friend. I’m sure any delicate detergent will work and while they cost more than your average Tide, in the long-term you will save by getting more wear out of your clothes. I suggest you buy a regular bottle and one made for dark colours. Since I’ve started using the dark colour detergent, my darks stay dark. Simple as that.
3. Water Temperature: Stay Cool.
Use warm water for brights and whites but cold for darks. Cold water prevents the colour from fading especially when combined with a dark colour detergent. Warm water tends to wash away some of the dye in apparel like jean breeches and dry out the full seats.
4. Laundry Cycle: Be Gentle.
Using the shortest possible cycle will reduce wear and tear on your clothes. In my experience the ‘delicate cycle’ is the best one for breeches and most sportswear as the reduced agitation doesn’t wear down seems or stretch the material. I find the ‘hand wash cycle’ often isn’t enough to get my riding clothes clean. If you had a particularly rough day at the barn you may need a longer cycle, such as a ‘normal cycle’, to get the mud off of your tush and the tears out of your shirt… it happens.
5. The Dryer: Don’t Use It.
A dryer is to delicate clothes like a poutine is to anyone over 18 – so delightful at the time but you will regret later (trust me). A dryer is the worst enemy of breeches, it makes the beautiful full seat shrivel and the seams pucker, so just don’t do it. The best way to dry your expensive apparel is to hang dry or if you must put them in the dryer choose a delicate cycle with low heat.
6. For those REALLY Bad Days….
If you happen to fall into the manure pile or you decided to be a hero and pick your horse’s stall… adding a couple of tablespoons of baking soda really helps get out that awful smell whatever it is. My personal favourite stain remover is Resolve Spray N Wash as a spot pre-treatment, I must say it’s quite talented (think pink smoothies/beige carpet, oil stains/silk, green tea/anything).