1. Do not wear your product repeatedly in hot showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, and do not wash them repeatedly in hot water. Repeated exposure to hot water and hot surfaces burns the spandex fibers, leaving the material prematurely diaphanous. Do not put them in the dryer, do not place them near a heater, and do not dry them with a hair dryer, oven, or microwave; and yes people have done all these. Suit spinners are fine, but nothing that emits heat.
2. Use the product! Do not store it inside a drawer buried under other garments. Have you ever pulled something you have not worn in a long time (like a sock, swimsuit or underwear), and stretched the garment to find that it stays stretched out and it no longer has “elasticity?” It has dried up and deteriorated on you from sitting in that drawer.
3. Chlorine will shorten the life of any garment. Swimming pools will regularly be “super-chlorinated” (a process done to burn up the pollutants with strong oxidizing chemicals) and there will spots of excessively concentrated chlorine that will ruin garments. An occasional swim may not hurt them, but repeated use will.
4. There are many items containing chemicals that when mixed with sweat can result in staining and discoloration. These affects may or may not become permanent, depending upon what they are and how quickly they are washed from the garment after use. A number of products discolor white fabric, including deodorant, hair products (such as goop, hair gel, hair spray), salt water, chlorine, sunscreen, lotions, body glide, chamois cream, vaseline, aquaphor, and energy gels and drinks, colas and soft drinks, to name a few. It is not uncommon for white garments to discolor over time just from repeated use, and it will discolor faster due to the growth of bacteria with just a few hours if not washed immediately after wearing.
5. Wash them immediately after wearing them. If you cannot wash immediately at least rinse them right after removing. No matter how little you sweat, if you are the type of person who only does wash once a week, your triathlon clothing may not last for long, but the oder will. The longer sweat and and the above mentioned chemicals sit on your clothing the more likely that oder will remain, even after washing, and the more permanent that odor will become. Remember, oder is caused by bacteria which forms faster than you think.
6. To avoid or reduce the affects from any of the above chemicals, try to minimize the contact of these products with your clothing. While some are unavoidable, such as suncreen, try mineral-based, organic and/or non-petroleum-based substitutes. Immediately after use, soak the garment in a bucket or container of clean water immediately. We highly recommend CAT5 cleaner sold on our website. We recommend it because it has worked well for cleaning safely while preserving both the integrity of the garment and the environment. Keep the garment in that container until you are able to hand wash it in cold water with detergent. Do not ever use bleach.
7. Again, the stains may or may not go away, as much of it depends on your own personal body chemistry. As a last resort, dry cleaning may help, but there is no guarantee of this either. After dry cleaning, you may want to give small stains a spray with (believe it or not), WD40. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then rinse and wash as per the care instructions.
8. At triathlons and open water swim races, do not get your body marked before button on your race kit. Those permanent ink markers leave PERMANENT stains on clothing. The stains will never come out.
And finally, the worst, yet least known destroyer of triathlon clothing:
9. When they are wet and sweaty, do not wrap your garments in a towel and do not stuff them in your gear bag. Also keep them out of plastic bags. Bacteria starts to form within 120 minutes on any moist surface that remains moist. The best thing to do after using a garment is to rinse it immediately in cold water and let it breathe, let it get lots of air...fresh air. Let it hang on the outside of your pack, or place it in large mesh pocket that gets a lot of air. Our Transition Packs offer such pockets.