THE ONLY MOTORCYCLE APPAREL CLEANING PRODUCT RECOMMENDED BY RUKKA
The more you ride, the more frequently you should wash your motorcycle gear. If you ride less than 5,000 miles a year, mostly in nice weather, once a year is probably enough. But if you commute daily, or ride in excess of 10,000 miles a year, there’s a case for washing your gear at least twice a year. And you do need to wash your riding jacket and pants because they won’t work as they’re intended to if you don’t. There are a couple of issues.
First is the fact is that mud, dirt and road grime will get encrusted into the outer fabric of your garments. This build-up of dirt is basically hydrophilic. That is to say that it will attract and absorb moisture. This water may not find its way through the waterproof membrane, but it will cause the jacket to become heavy and waterlogged. It will speed up the process of what we call ‘wetting out’. And it applies to both drop-liner and laminated garments alike, although the impact on a laminated garment will be less. This build-up of dirt and grime in the pores of your clothing will also reduce its breathability.
The other issue is that if you don’t wash your gear, deposits of salt from your sweat will build up on the waterproof membrane inside the garment. This will make the membrane less breathable, and reduce the ability of the membrane to allow moisture to wick away from the body. These salt deposits will also be hydrophilic, meaning that water can be sucked into the membrane.
When it comes to cleaning your motorcycle gear the big ‘no-no’ is a detergent bought from a supermarket. Even a non-bio can damage the membrane. A bio liquid or powder is worse. And if you use a fabric conditioner, it’s basically game over. Now, historically, we’ve always recommended a non-detergent cleaner from somebody like Nikwax, but now there’s a better option that has been formulated specifically with motorcycle clothing in mind.
It’s produced by a company called Storm specifically for Rukka, and where it differs to other non-detergent cleaners is that its formulation includes no soap whatsoever. Soap causes two issues. It has a high ph factor, so in hard-water areas you need to increase the dosage. But perhaps more importantly, if for whatever reason the soap doesn’t get rinsed away, it clings to the membrane. These soap deposits will attract moisture and reduce the membrane’s breathability.
But because the cleaning products made for Rukka by Storm don’t use soap, you’ll never be left with a soapy residue in the membrane. And because there’s no soap, the dosage will be consistent. From every bottle set, you’ll get three washes.
But there’s one other major benefit to using Rukka’s Storm cleaning kit. And that is that you pour both solutions into the dispenser drawer at the same time. With Nikwax, you do the wash first, and then follow this up with a second cycle for the re-proofing. But with the Rukka kit both jobs are done with a single wash.
The way we see it, this new ‘wash and proofing’ kit represents a significant benefit when it comes to washing your gear. Because it doesn’t contain soap, it works better than traditional non-detergent, soap-based cleaners. And wherever you are in the country you use the same dosage. And, of course, you save time by only having to run one cycle.
Of course, it goes without saying that you can use Rukka’s recommended system on any brand of motorcycle wear. Obviously, check your washing instruction before you wash any items of bike wear, but the usual rules apply. Take all the armour out first. Wash pants and jackets inside out. And when the garments are more or less dry, put them into the dryer for a 15-20 minute cycle, as this helps to reactivate the reproofing. Finally, make sure to remove any tissues from your pockets before you put your gear into the wash. It’s a horrid job trying to vacuum off all those bits of white fluff!
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