How Often Should You Wash Mountain Bike Gloves, Really?

So my partner never washes his gloves, and they smell pretty bad. I’m worried about germs like Corona and I wash mine and they seem fine. But he thinks gloves won’t last as long if you wash them all the time!

Yes, you’re right. Of course you can wash your gloves! In fact you absolutely should wash your gloves. A lot. On a ride just think of everything you touch from your face, your nose, your bite valve or water bottle, your doggo, your sandwich (I meant your doggo’s sandwich!) your handlebar grips, your face again… and hopefully you’re not touching the ground.

And, guess what, he’s right, too. Sanitizing with very hot water, high heat, bleach or UV light will eventually deteriorate the materials most mountain biking gloves are made of. But then so will the salts in our own sweat, sunlight, grease and grime, and letting gloves get moldy when they’re wet. Have you seen a crusty glove or mountain bike shoe fall apart? I have, plenty of times!

The best way to take care of those expensive gloves, balancing cleanliness with longevity is to wash them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Or, if you’re like me and cut off the original tags because they itch, wash your gloves after each ride with mild detergent in cold to lukewarm water and letting them hang to air dry. I usually toss them into the washing machine, sometimes I hand wash a batch of them if I’m out camping or don’t have a full load of laundry to do.

Other good tips for keeping your gloves cleaner is to wash your hands often with soap and water in general, including before and after your ride. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t. Keep your bike clean – consider sanitizing your grips in between rides. Avoid touching other people’s bikes or gear. And, wash or at least let your gloves dry in between rides.

Work up to having a few pairs of gloves so you’ll have a fresh pair for each ride, and they’ll all last longer. You’re going to have to replace your gloves eventually and you’re going to have to clean them, do the best you can!