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Get Fit, Don’t Stink: Keeping Your Workout Wear Fresh and Clean

CrossFit_pull-up

Between mud season and daylight savings time, we’re finding more and more excuses to exercise inside these days. Don’t worry—we’re not checking out entirely. We’re just taking advantage of indoors cross training to bridge the gap between snow and summer.

And, as anyone who has ever sweated through a high-octane crossfit schedule or soaked their technical clothes during a spin class knows (we’ll ask again: why is riding a stationary bike so hard?), one of the biggest challenges is keeping workout wear fresh and clean.

Whether they’re bunched in the bottom of your gym bag, or diligently tossed in the laundry later that night, the funk of indoor workout wear is exacerbated by the inevitable byproduct of an indoors workout: sweat.

In a climate-controlled environment, sweat is almost guaranteed. Outside, there might be a breeze. Or fluctuating temps. Or something else to keep the wet at bay. (Or not, we’ve ended many a plein air workout drenched, and, truth be told, it is highly satisfying).

Either way, it requires TLC to take proper care of your apparel.

(Special note: when you’re working out indoors, your feet will likely be sweating up a storm too. If you’re going sockless—a popular trend these days—pull out your insole after a workout to let it dry. If you’re just using insoles that came with the shoes, rinse them with BaseWash.)

So what does TLC for gym wear look like? A special detergent that will get rid of the grime without compromising the gear. And by that, we mean Nikwax BaseWash—a great way to keep your shirts and shorts fresh and clean.

Why a special detergent?

BaseWash cleans, deodorizes, inhibits the build up of body odors, accelerates drying, and improves cooling efficiency of synthetic base layers.

We know that’s a tall order for a cleaner. But it’s true.

BaseWash cleans and conditions simultaneously. It help prevent odor build up, which keeps your duds fresh. It also enhances and revitalizes the wicking properties of synthetic base layers, which increases breathability and helps fabric spread sweat and dry quickly. Get where we’re going with this? Think positive feedback cycle.

Put simply, regular detergent just doesn’t perform as well. Sure, it can clean. But it won’t provide the same results.

Think of it this way: you take good care of yourself with exercise, so do the same for your workout wear.


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End of Season Care for Winter Gear

snowboarder-cartoon-thoughtThe days are getting longer and the powder days are soon going to fade into memories. As winter winds down, we here at Nikwax urge you to take advantage of the remaining snowy days. Make turns while you can! Skip work for a snowy backcountry adventure!

And then, when you’re ready to call it quits, be kind to your cold weather gear.

In other words, before stashing it away, give it a good cleaning so it will be fresh and ready to wear when the snow starts to fly next season.

How should you prep your winter gear for storage?

That depends on the gear. Read on for gear-specific tips:

Down jacket

Love your puffy?

Clean it with our Down Wash in front-loading washing machine. Make sure to follow the care label on your jacket!

To dry, toss your jacket in the dryer at low heat with two clean tennis balls (or “sock balls”) to help “refluff” your coat. Keep in mind that your jacket may take 2-3 hours to dry.

If desired, follow up with Down Proof wash-in waterproofing.

Shell pants and jacket

Got Gore-Tex? Your ski jacket and pants have likely seen some good action this winter, so before stashing them away, give them a cleaning in your washer with Tech Wash.

If the care label allows, dry in a regular dryer at a low temp, or hang out to air dry.

Softshell

Spring skiing and snowy adventures are often softshell weather, so take care of those pieces with our Softshell DuoPack, which contains Tech Wash to clean, followed by Softshell Proof to waterproof.

Close to the skin

Last but not least, don’t neglect those next-to-skin base layers and techy ski socks! Run them through a cycle with our BaseFresh then fold ‘em up, store ‘em in the drawer and bid them adieu until next winter.


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Saint Patty’s Shoe Care- the luck of the Dry-rish.

shamrockHappy almost St. Patty’s day! If you’re like us, and enjoy a pint (or two) out in the pubs, we have some advice to help keep your shoes in tip-top shape this year. Why shoes? Being veterans of this holiday, we know that anytime you combine a crowded bar with over-enthusiastic alcohol consumption, the danger of beverage spillage increases ten-fold. Of course we’re being optimistic and not considering other things that could, ahem, sully your footwear.

May we present, the three-step plan for taking care of your party slippers.

1. Proper footwear selection. We recommend something close-toed, preferably not mesh. If you don’t want soggy feet (or getting your toes mashed by a jigging maniac), wear something appropriate.

2. Pre-clean and waterproof. Prevention is key. If you can prep your shoes so that liquids roll right off, you’ll be happier than a gold-bedazzled leprechaun. Clean your kickers with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. Then, while they’re still damp, follow up with waterproofing. Which product should you use? Check out the chart below to pick the best one for you.

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3. After-party cleaning. A day or two after the shenanigans are over, when you’ve finally sobered up, give your shoes a good scrubbin’. All that sticky beer (hopefully just beer) isn’t good for shoes. Clean with Footwear Cleaning Gel. Let your shoes dry naturally (no heat) and voila! It’s like your weekend never happened… at least for your shoes.


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Down Revival: How To Teach Old Feathers New Tricks

850-Fill-Power-Goose-Down

Purchasing down gear is rite of passage for us outdoor types. Remember the joy of stuffing your first down sleeping bag into its impossibly small stuff sack after years of struggling with a monster synthetic bag? Or the first time you donned the down coat that you saved for years to be able to purchase?

You should. Buying down represents achieving the “next stage” of outdoorsiness. Anyone who spends time sleeping, skiing, hiking, or otherwise adventuring outside understands that a down coat (or bag, or booties, or gloves, or, yes, even hats) can mean the difference between basic survival and enjoyment. Down offers an unbeatable warmth to weight ratio. It’s perhaps the best insulator out there. Did we mention it’s cozy?

It also required care and attention to extend its lifespan.

or_trance_sweater_300Here’s the good news: Down care is easy, affordable and guarantees a long lifespan for your gear.

What’s the best way to take care of your down gear?

Wash: Gear performs better when closest to its original, pristine state. Case in point: the birdbath. Birds know that their down will best protect them when it is clean. Down, specifically, requires a gentle, detergent-free cleaner. We recommend our very own, Nikwax Down Wash, which is specially formulated to launder down feathers without weighing down the loft (also see Down Proof, below).

Rinse: So long as there isn’t a center-mount agitator, a special washing machine isn’t required for down gear. If the washer is large enough to handle the load, it’s good to go. Regardless if you’re hand washing or using a machine, the hard and fast rule is rinse, rinse, then rinse again. Ensure the effluent water runs clear.

Dry: Relax to the rhythmic sound of a tennis ball tumbling through the dry cycle. The down will be clumpy from its time in the washer, and drying it completely is critical. Tossing a clean tennis ball in the dryer provides a gentle “smack” to break up the clumps. Fair warning: this is not a short process and you will likely have moments of clumpy terror when you check on the progress. Keep resetting the timer until your beloveds are lump-free and fully dry.

Results: When you pull your newly revived jacket out of the dryer, not only will it be gleaming with cleanliness, it will also be puffier then when you began the day. By gently cleansing the delicate feathers, Nikwax Down Wash revives loft and reinvigorates the down’s ability to trap air once again. Voilà!

Store: Hang it all out there. Just say no to storing down gear in tight stuff sacks. Over time, perpetually “squished” down feathers will become more resistant to re-lofting to their original air-trapping excellence. Store down apparel and sleeping bags hanging freely with plenty of space or hanging in large, breathable bags.

Additional resources:

  • Cleaning instructions from http://www.shop-denali.com/down_care.aspx.
  • Always read and follow the label instructions for temperature and other considerations.
  • Down is only effective when dry. Periodically apply Nikwax Down Proof, which both revives the outer fabric’s DWR, AND adds water repellency to the down itself, without adversely affecting the insulating properties.