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Pro Tips: How To Clean Your Running Vest

Pro Tips: How To Clean Your Running Vest

A clean running vest is more than just a matter of aesthetics; it's a fundamental aspect of ensuring peak performance and longevity for your gear. You invest good money on a quality running vest, so it's important to invest a little time to keep it cleaned and maintained!

Dirt, sweat, and grime not only compromise the vest's material integrity but can also harbor bacteria, causing unpleasant odors and potential skin irritations. By understanding the importance of keeping your running vest clean, you're not just preserving its quality; you're also prioritising comfort, durability, and hygiene, essential elements for any dedicated runner aiming for optimal performance.

Understanding Your Vest: Material types and cleaning considerations

Understanding the materials used in your running vest is pivotal to its proper care and maintenance. Vests come in various fabric compositions, from moisture-wicking synthetics to specialized breathable meshes or waterproof coatings. Each material demands specific cleaning techniques and care routines to ensure its longevity.

For instance, polyester blends might tolerate machine washing, while delicate reflective elements or waterproof coatings may require gentler hand cleaning. Knowing the nuances of these materials empowers you to choose the most effective cleaning methods without compromising their functionality or structural integrity. This understanding is key to preserving the vest's performance and durability over time.

Now, if you have any doubts, or your running vest does not have clear washing instructions, we always like to err on the side of caution.

For the most part - we don't recommend washing machines, nor dishwashers - yes, we've seen it, but rather hand-washing to be safe.

Pre-Cleaning Prep: Gathering supplies and checking manufacturer instructions

Before diving into cleaning your running vest, it's essential to gather the necessary supplies and take a moment to review any manufacturer-provided instructions. This preparatory step ensures you have the right tools at hand, such as mild detergents suitable for the fabric, soft-bristled brushes for delicate areas, and perhaps specialized cleaners if dealing with specific stains. Manufacturer instructions often offer valuable insights into the recommended cleaning methods or any precautions to consider, such as temperature settings for machine washes or avoiding certain chemicals that might damage the vest's material. Taking these precautions and having the appropriate tools ready sets the stage for an effective and safe cleaning process for your running vest.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A clean sink, tub or bucket
  • Access to lukewarm water
  • Liquid soap (gentle/light/low-intensity)
  • A scrubber/bristle/brush

The 4 Step Cleaning Process

Initial Inspection

Before diving into the cleaning process, conduct a thorough inspection of your running vest. Check for stains, areas of heavy dirt or abrasions, or any damages such as loose threads or weakened seams. Identifying these issues upfront helps tailor your cleaning approach and ensures these areas receive appropriate attention.

Surface Cleaning

Begin by removing loose dirt and debris from the vest's surface. Use a soft-bristled brush or a lint roller to gently brush off any accumulated dust, dirt, or pet hair. This step prepares the vest for a more thorough cleaning and prevents these particles from embedding further during the washing process.

Washing Techniques

When it comes to washing your running vest, the method largely depends on the fabric type. Hand washing may be preferable for delicate fabrics or vests with intricate details, while machine washing on a gentle cycle could work for sturdier materials. But as we've said, we almost always recommend hand-washing.

  • Firstly dip the vest into a lukewarm tub of water.
  • Add a small amount of liquid soap.
  • Using your hands, massage the vest in the soapy water for a minute or two.
  • Pull the vest from the water and check for any stains.
  • If you need, use a toothbrush or similar to get into harder to reach areas.

Drying Methods

Air-drying is typically a safe and effective option, especially for sensitive fabrics, as it prevents potential damage from heat exposure. However, if machine drying is suitable for your vest, use a low-heat setting to avoid shrinking or damaging the fabric.

Again, we like to err on the side of caution when it comes to any type of machine washing or drying.

Simply hang your vest from a clothes line (or similar) using clothes pegs or better yet a clothes hanger to avoid pinching/creasing.

This step-by-step approach ensures a methodical and gentle cleaning process for your running vest, preserving its quality and performance.

Cleaning a Water Bladder

If your running vest has a water bladder, like the Runly R700 Hydration Vest, cleaning it is essential to maintain hygiene and ensure a refreshing drink during runs.

Start by disassembling the bladder completely, separating the hose, valve, and any detachable parts. Rinse the bladder with lukewarm, soapy water, using a mild detergent.

Utilise a long-handled brush to scrub the interior thoroughly, paying close attention to corners and crevices where bacteria might accumulate. For tougher stains or persistent odours, a mixture of baking soda and water left to soak can be effective. However, this is not something you want to be doing, nor should do, each time you clean your bladder.

Rinse the bladder thoroughly to remove all soap residue before allowing it to air dry, ideally hanging it upside down to ensure complete drainage. Remember to clean the hose and valve separately, using a cleaning brush designed for these components.

Regular cleaning, ideally after each use, helps prevent mould, bacterial growth, and off-putting tastes in the water.

Storage and Maintenance Tips

Proper storage is vital for maintaining your running vest's quality over time. Consider these tips:

1. Clean and Dry Before Storage

  • Always ensure the vest is completely dry and clean before storing it. Lingering moisture can lead to mildew or odour issues.

2. Air Circulation

  • Store the vest in a well-ventilated area to prevent mustiness. Consider using breathable fabric storage bags if available, or hang it on a clothes hanger.

3. Avoid Compression

  • Don't tightly fold or compress the vest for prolonged periods. This can cause wrinkles or damage the fabric's elasticity.
  • Do not keep your water bladder scrunched, it can pierce and cause leakages.

4. Periodic Inspection

  • Regularly check stored vests for any signs of damage or pests. This helps address issues promptly and ensures they're in top condition for your next run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

These FAQs aim to address common concerns you might have when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your running vest, offering guidance for effective care and upkeep. 

1. Can I machine wash any type of running vest?

  • Always check with your manufacturer, but we generally suggest hand-washing your running vest.

2. How often should I clean my running vest?

  • The answer we should say is 'after every run'. But that's not always the reality. Most running vests are fairly durable and washing after every 2-3 runs should be fine (odour-permitting of course).
  • If you're using a water bladder, that should be at a very minimum rinsed clean after every run.

3. Are there any natural alternatives to commercial detergents for cleaning running vests?

  • Vinegar, baking soda, or enzyme-based cleaners are natural alternatives, but we can't guarantee the compatibility with your particular vest. It's always a good idea to use low-intensity soaps.

4. How do I get rid of persistent odours in my running vest?

  • Try soaking the vest in a solution of water and white vinegar (1:1 ratio) to neutralise persistent odours, then wash as usual. Vinegar's antibacterial properties can help eliminate lingering smells.

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