How To Clean Your Running Gear For Optimal Performance

The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate intensity each week in order to stay healthy. If you get yours through regular running, proper care of your gear is essential if you want to prolong its life and ensure good health with every run. From clothing to shoes to running watches, make sure you know how to clean each piece of your kit to keep it in good condition for as long as possible. 

Running Shoes

Although you should replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles in order to prevent injury, within that period, you can prolong the life of your shoes by keeping them clean. This is particularly important if you’re a trail runner: soles caked in dirt will reduce your traction and increase the risk of injury. Wipe away debris such as grass, mud and dirt with a soft brush. Then scrub the shoes with a solution of eco-friendly detergent and water, removing any excess soap or dirt with a damp washcloth. Leave your shoes to air-dry indoors — if you leave them outside, the sun will warp the outer sole. Meanwhile, place the insoles and laces inside a pillowcase, and run this through the washing machine on a delicate setting to remove odors and grime. Ensure that they’re completely dry before returning them to the shoes.

Activity Trackers

It’s easy to neglect the cleaning of electrical equipment like running watches and activity trackers, but this is important if you want to reduce the build up of bacteria and prolong the life of the equipment. Activity trackers work using pulse sensors similar to the ones you find on gym equipment. These sensors interpret the signals through your skin to give you your heart rate and other vitals, and any interference between the sensor and the skin can affect the accuracy. Trackers should therefore be cleaned periodically with a soap-free cleaning agent such as Cetaphil. The strap should also be cleaned, but avoid using regular soap, as this can get trapped beneath the band, causing damage. Instead, remove sweat and grime with a soap-free cleanser after each run.

Running Clothes

If you’re a regular runner, you may have noticed that your running clothes hold onto odors even after they’ve been through the wash. This is largely due to the materials they’re made from, as running gear tends to be made from fabrics that are designed to repel and absorb moisture through small pores. While this is great for your comfort during a run, the pores become clogged with sweat, detergent and pollutants from the outside world, and this makes it difficult to completely remove bacteria and sweat. In order to minimize this problem, air your gear as soon as you get back from a run, particularly if you’re not planning on washing it immediately. Hang garments outside if possible, but otherwise, hang them over a towel rail or over the edge of the bath until you’re ready to wash them.

Once you’re ready to run them through the washing machine, use minimal detergent — using a large quantity means that it doesn’t get washed out properly, building up to trap mold and mildew in your clothing. This then provides the ideal environment for bacteria. Alternatively, use detergents specifically designed for sports clothing: recommended brands include Win High-Performance Sports Detergent and Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport. Wash your clothes inside out to ensure that the detergent gets to the parts where odor and bacteria tends to build up. For persistent odors, try soaking your running clothes in a solution of white vinegar and cold water at a 1:4 ratio before putting them in the washing machine. 

Keeping your running gear clean and fresh will help prevent the buildup of bacteria, reducing the risk of persistent odors. Regular cleaning and proper care will also help you prolong the life of your equipment, keeping costs down while you continue to enjoy your runs.

This article was supplied to irunningtips.com by Issy Staples. Thanks.