Like every item of clothing you own there are do's and don'ts when it comes to ensuring you keep it looking as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Washing it correctly is most certainly a key factor.
Washing your race suit is no different. We've all been guilty of slinging our race suit straight into the wash after a race with all your other kit and on most occasions this rarely has any consequences. However as much as we think race suits are bullet proof, there are a few occasions when this might just catch you out and lead to your kart or race suits colours bleeding or discolouring other areas (in particular the white areas) of your suit.
We thought we'd write this article to ensure it gives you the best chance of maintaining your race suits initial appearance for as long as possible.
Nomex race suits (Car race suits)
Nomex material is heavily treated with chemicals to ensure maximum protection against heat and hence it’s actually very difficult for it to allow other colours to dye or bleed into it when washing if the correct guidance is followed. However there are a few cases, when if the instructions are not followed where this inevitably may happen. A few of them are as follows:
1. Washing Nomex suits with hot water, as colours may bleed and mix. Simply due to the warmness of water, colours may transfer to the other fabrics. This is no different to what happens when washing vibrant colours with other whites with the wash cycle being too warm.
2. Putting your race suit into a dryer at high temperature right after washing.
3. Drying it in front of sunlight, as sun can acts as a bleach.
Here are the list of do’s and don’ts from DuPont themselves who are the Global manufacturers of the material and leading brand 'Nomex'.
Dos & Don’ts:
Close/cover all velcro and zippers.
Empty all pockets.
Launder Nomex garments separately from other garments.
Do not overload laundry equipment.
Use detergents for coloured textiles, preferably liquid without bleaching agents.
Tumble dry garments at very low temperature settings or hang dry away from any
Store Nomex garments away from any light source.
If your Nomex product is made of multi coloured Nomex fabric, it’s recommended to use a
Colour Catcher/Dye Catcher such as ‘Shout Color Catcher Sheets’ or any other recommended
brand, in order to be 100% sure.
So just to be clear...
1. Don't wash it in hot water, as hot water can cause the colour to bleed.
2. Don't rub the wet coloured and non-coloured fabric together.
3. Use a dye catcher/ colour catcher for 100% assurance, as it will help in attracting the coloured particles as well as dirt particles towards it instead of the race suit.
4. After washing the race suit in a washing machine, hang it on a hanger and let it dry in the shade.
5. Wash it with normal water; hence any water containing chemical ingredients will go away.
6. Don't dry it in a dryer, especially at high temperature.
7. NEVER used bleaches or detergent containing bleaches or aggressive chemicals in it.
Washing aids for race suits
There are of course a number of widely used products that are designed specifically for helping clean your racing suit, which are easily available, tried & tested. It's always best to do your research on these matters first, but here is one available on the Demon Tweaks website which is a popular choice. This product helps to clean Nomex Racing Suits in standard washing machines & has been developed specifically for Nomex race suits. It specifically helps to remove contaminants found in racing environments.
If you have Heat Transfers on your kart or racing suit
Race suits & kart suits are finished in may different ways which can include embroidery, sublimation and heat transfers or indeed a combination of all 3. Where heat transfers have been added to the race suit it is particularly important that you wash with care. Just in case you’re wondering why you'd add a heat transfer to a race or kart suit? Have a close look at most of the modern day F1 race suits, most of the logos that you can see on these race suits has been added via heat transfer... so it's OK!
A little bit of common sense definitely can prevail in this scenario. Here's a few do's & don'ts.
1. Heat applied graphics should never be dry cleaned. They just aren’t cut out for the harshness of dry cleaning.
2. Be sure to turn the race suit inside out before washing.
3. As mentioned above wash on a cool cycle.
4. Use a mild detergent. Do not use any “green” detergents. We also recommend that you stray from whiteners, bleach, fabric softeners or any aggressive cleaning solutions.
5. Hang dry for best results and avoid using a tumble dryer. The helps to eliminate heat damage and also minimise wrinkles.
6. Ironing directly on a heat transfer design will only ever end badly. Avoid doing this at all costs!
7. And this point is applicable to all the above... if there are washing guidelines included in the race suit... Follow them!
Although the above has spoken specifically regarding car racing suits all of it is very much applicable to kart racing suits too. Both need care and attention when cleaning.
We hope this goes some way to answering any questions that you might have. These are not explicit instructions, but a few helpful pointers and reminders that will help you preserve the initial look of your race suit for as long as possible and help to avoid unnecessary cleaning accidents.