Two things about me: I sweat a lot; and any combination of jersey, base layer, bibs, and socks that I wear costs more than I have ever paid for a suit. Because of that, there is no way I’m going to use just any detergent to wash my gear. Not only have I found that standard detergents sometimes just mask odor with an overkill of spring freshness, but they can also hamper the breathability of the fabrics.
A detergent made by the same company that makes my favorite bibs has been all I have trusted recently. But like the bibs, that stuff is not cheap. At Interbike, I picked up a few sample packs of WIN Sports Detergent to see if my usual more expensive detergent was really better than other detergents targeted towards sports apparel.
At that time, WIN was in the process of changing their bottle design in order to reduce leaks; especially during shipping. Mid-October the new bottles were ready, and I was shipped two. Though I have no experience with the old bottles, I can say this new design was tested before the bottles reached my hands. Not to name names, but the person that moved the package from the doorstep to the kitchen counter apparently didn’t see the up arrow on the packaging and had laid the package on its side. However, not a drop of the detergent had leaked during the shipping process.
WIN has a fresh, crisp scent. That said, the scent which actually stays on the garment after washing is much more subtle. This is as I prefer. I would much rather smell real mountain-air than some detergent manufacturer’s interpretation of that. Also, the subtle scent remaining is, in my opinion, an indication that the detergent has washed clean away without residue on the clothing. One of my good friends, and the owner of my favorite LBS, proved to me that not all detergents are as good at this when our group ride got caught in a massive downpour. After a few minutes of riding in the rain, suds were streaming from his chamois pad. Sorry, Chris, but we still laugh about that.
Another thing proven by the subtlety of the scent is how well WIN removes the sweat and funk odors from the gear. I think we all can tell the difference between an odor that is simply masked and one that is actually removed. And I’m sure we all prefer the latter.
My expensive bibs and jerseys came out of the washer with colors just as vibrant as they went in. Blacks were still black, reds still popped, and importantly, since I have been buying a lot of white jerseys lately, whites were restored.
WIN is made in the USA and comes in a 21 oz. bottle with a handle and easy-pour spout that is designed with holes such that any detergent which runs down the side of the spout after pouring is returned to the main bottle chamber. A two-pack of 21 oz. bottles of WIN costs $19.90 on Amazon.com and there is a list of other retailers on WIN’s website.
All-in-all, WIN’s superiority versus standard detergents shows these others to be real losers when it comes to getting cycling clothing clean. Also, its equality when compared against the more expensive sports washes I have tried has converted me and will save me some cash. It’s a WIN-win situation.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)