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How do you deal with sweaty clothes and wet towel?

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How do you deal with sweaty clothes and wet towel?

Old 05-05-22, 11:04 PM
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urbanescapee
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How do you deal with sweaty clothes and wet towel?

I'm in SLC. I've been working at my current employer for several months now. The bike ride to work is not easy/short enough for me to be doing it every day at this time, but I've been pretty good about riding 2-3 days a week since I started there (even through winter). This company has the best bike commuter setup of anywhere I've worked so far; indoor bike parking, lockers, and two handicap shower rooms. Through the winter, I didn't sweat much while riding in. Now that things are warming up and the ride to work is all uphill, things are getting pretty sweaty/wet; this will only get worse as we approach the 100 deg F temps that are coming soon in the summer. My clothes are beginning to get soaked from sweat on the ride to work, and then there's the wet towel to deal with after my shower at work. I hang everything in the locker until I go home at the end of the workday, but I ride home in whatever clothes I wore during the workday because 1) I don't want to put that stinky/damp clothes back on from the ride to work, 2) I'm not getting sweaty/dirty on the ride home because it's all down hill, and 3) I just want to go home and not fuss with changing clothes again.


The big issue is my stinky, sweaty, wet clothes and wet towel sitting in my locker all day. They're accumulating a smell of mildew that I can't stand. I ride to work in clean clothes every time, but the towel stays in the locker for a week before I bring it back home for a wash. I've tried washing the towel after every use, no difference.


So, those of you who sweat on the way to work and shower when you get there, what are you doing with your sweaty, smelly clothes and wet towel? Ideally, I'd like them to be dry by the time I go back home. I've though a bout a battery powered fan inside the locker to move air around, but not sure if this would work because the locker has pretty pathetic vents that probably won't allow for much air exchange.
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Old 05-05-22, 11:23 PM
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You can get lockers and duffel bags with a little fan built in. They are for moto racing leathers and nomex and other such things. But then arenít you still blowing the smell around?

Can you ride earlier? Dawn patrol has its attractions for a salary employee especially if you have coworkers on eastern time.

Cotton and wool donít get as smelly as synthetic fabric.

See if there are hooks, hangers, racks that are not in a locker. Theyíll dry out better. Whoís gonna steal bike shorts?

Dry off w paper towels and toss Ďem

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Old 05-06-22, 12:13 AM
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I commute in Houston. Same problem and I have to adapt to different offices and situations. Key is ventilation to dry.

I always start from home with clean kit.

In one situation, where shower had towels, I carried a clean t-shirt and I left my wet jersey on the bike. (I did have one stolen so I looped lock through it.). That way the only thing I had in locker were shorts and the locker had enough ventilation.

In a place where there were no towels, I used a small sports towel. I was lucky that I found a cache where I could hang it unnoticed and it would dry.

Worst scenario I had was having to shower then take everything back out to the bike to hang it to dry, then reverse the process when heading home.

Even in humid Houston, getting wet fabrics outside will prevent mildew/stink. Should be a snap in SLC. The key is donít let it stay wet, and the problem to solve is finding the least inconvenient way.

In one high-end office I go to, the commuters have lobbied for a drying rack and it is promised for next remodel. Though Iíll probably be dead by then, it is good to bring up the need with the building management since they have no clue that a drying rack is needed.
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Old 05-06-22, 06:52 AM
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I was going to suggest the same for the towel. I have a microfiber towel that I use for bike/backpacking. It has a loop on it to hang it to dry. Maybe you can hang it from your bike? Would anyone care if you hang clothes off you bike also?

You are fortunate to have a shower. I ride at 4 AM so I don't get too sweaty on the way in. I keep deodorant at work. I change into work pants, but I wear the shirt I rode in all day. I hang the shorts/tights/overshirt I ride in off the bike to dry. It help that my bike is parked outside in the sun (in a very safe location).

Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I commute in Houston. Same problem and I have to adapt to different offices and situations. Key is ventilation to dry.

I always start from home with clean kit.

In one situation, where shower had towels, I carried a clean t-shirt and I left my wet jersey on the bike. (I did have one stolen so I looped lock through it.). That way the only thing I had in locker were shorts and the locker had enough ventilation.

In a place where there were no towels, I used a small sports towel. I was lucky that I found a cache where I could hang it unnoticed and it would dry.

Worst scenario I had was having to shower then take everything back out to the bike to hang it to dry, then reverse the process when heading home.

Even in humid Houston, getting wet fabrics outside will prevent mildew/stink. Should be a snap in SLC. The key is donít let it stay wet, and the problem to solve is finding the least inconvenient way.

In one high-end office I go to, the commuters have lobbied for a drying rack and it is promised for next remodel. Though Iíll probably be dead by then, it is good to bring up the need with the building management since they have no clue that a drying rack is needed.
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Old 05-06-22, 07:50 AM
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My cube has a hook for a coat in the winter; I drape the winter rain jacket around my chair instead, and spread the bike clothes out as much as possible on a hanger to dry. The towel can hang off my whiteboard's marker tray on another hanger. Unless it was raining on the way in, things are dry enough to wear on the way home.

Are you wearing spandex and polypropylene clothing? They get a lot of flack from shy people, but it's also functional in that such gear doesn't hold nearly as much moisture as cotton/wool.
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Old 05-06-22, 08:08 AM
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I used to rinse my cycling gear in the shower with me and leave it outside to dry on a bike rack, but one day when we had important visitors coming someone complained and asked me to move it. After that I found a sunny spot behind the building and that worked fine.
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Old 05-06-22, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Are you wearing spandex and polypropylene clothing? They get a lot of flack from shy people, but it's also functional in that such gear doesn't hold nearly as much moisture as cotton/wool.
Exactly. Iíve never had much of a problem with damp clothes going home. When itís really hot and humid, I sometimes switch to a clean spare bibs I keep in the office.
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Old 05-06-22, 08:18 AM
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E-bike would probably solve this problem.
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Old 05-06-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My cube has a hook for a coat in the winter; I drape the winter rain jacket around my chair instead, and spread the bike clothes out as much as possible on a hanger to dry. The towel can hang off my whiteboard's marker tray on another hanger. Unless it was raining on the way in, things are dry enough to wear on the way home.

Are you wearing spandex and polypropylene clothing? They get a lot of flack from shy people, but it's also functional in that such gear doesn't hold nearly as much moisture as cotton/wool.
"Exactly" to all of the above. Fortunately my company and co-workers haven't had an issue with this strategy. (They did kick my bike out ("It's a fire hazard!" Right....) but I lobbied and got bike lockers out of the deal.)
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Old 05-06-22, 09:23 AM
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Hang them on the top tube to dry. Plus you live in the desert, theyíll be bone dry by lunch time in the summer there.
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Old 05-06-22, 10:11 AM
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If you're not going to wear them again that day, I'm not sure why you're bothering to dry them. Stick them in a plastic garbage bag and take them home to put in the wash.
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Old 05-06-22, 12:08 PM
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OP, what kind of work do you do? I'm fortunate to have a skinny closet in my cube (ostensibly for coats) that I can hang up my cycling clothes during the day. If I didn't have that, I'd try to get some kind of low-profile drying rack that I could hide under my desk.
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Old 05-06-22, 12:14 PM
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If you can find a place to hang the stuff outside, even if for an hour in the sun, the items will dry quickly, get some UV sterilization, and no one has to breathe the vapor. For some happy reason, people seem reluctant to steal what resembles used dirty underwear.
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Old 05-06-22, 05:32 PM
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You can try stashing dessicants like DampRid in your locker. Alternatively, can you hang stuff off your bike instead of sticking them in your locker? Highly doubt anyone will want to steal sweaty commuter clothing.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My cube has a hook for a coat in the winter; I drape the winter rain jacket around my chair instead, and spread the bike clothes out as much as possible on a hanger to dry. The towel can hang off my whiteboard's marker tray on another hanger. Unless it was raining on the way in, things are dry enough to wear on the way home.

Are you wearing spandex and polypropylene clothing? They get a lot of flack from shy people, but it's also functional in that such gear doesn't hold nearly as much moisture as cotton/wool.
I do wear some synthetics but I'm trying to reduce my usage of those items due to the known environmental impacts and suspected health implications of wearing plastics for extended periods. Cotton/wool are my next-to-skin materials of choice atm, which means much slower drying times. But that being said, cotton/wool doesn't smell nearly as bad as synthetics after athletic use. I may be expanding my wool collection, but that stuff just costs so much.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
E-bike would probably solve this problem.
I'm considering this, if for no other reasons than to reduce my inbound commute time and the need to shower on arrival; but right now I need the exercise.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
OP, what kind of work do you do? I'm fortunate to have a skinny closet in my cube (ostensibly for coats) that I can hang up my cycling clothes during the day. If I didn't have that, I'd try to get some kind of low-profile drying rack that I could hide under my desk.
Engineer/PM. Mostly desk work, but in an open office environment. No cubes and basically no personal space to speak of beyond a pretty compact desk and chair arrangement. We already have problems with people not showering and wearing their smelly soccer gear into the office after lunchtime games, I'm not about to contribute to that by air-drying my smelly bike clothes at my desk, lol.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Hang them on the top tube to dry. Plus you live in the desert, theyíll be bone dry by lunch time in the summer there.
I'm not too keen on using my bike as a clothes line at work, but this isn't a bad idea. I may give it a try.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:30 PM
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Years ago when working with South West Research Institute in San Antonio I had the same problem. Work was proactive for bike riders by providing a covered secure area for parking our bikes. There was even a horse trough type sink with a spray hose attached for rinsing off your upper body before going in. Our solution was to take off our upper clothing. Rinse off and just hang our cloths on the bike to dry. By the time we got back the cloths were dry and toasty.

As far as smell was concerned it was obvious that some people smell more than others. Then again we were supporting the Engine Test Block and POL mixes, so often, at the end of our shift, we would rinse off again so as not to stink up our bikes on the way home... Ha

Hey... How about a small Ozone generator for your locker?
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Old 05-11-22, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanescapee View Post
I do wear some synthetics but I'm trying to reduce my usage of those items due to the known environmental impacts and suspected health implications of wearing plastics for extended periods. Cotton/wool are my next-to-skin materials of choice atm, which means much slower drying times. But that being said, cotton/wool doesn't smell nearly as bad as synthetics after athletic use. I may be expanding my wool collection, but that stuff just costs so much.
go to goodwill or whatever thrift store. they always have wool stuff super cheap. some of the heavier winter stuff is gonna be "ugly sweater" material but when its $2 who cares.
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Old 05-11-22, 07:04 AM
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Change when you get to work. Wash stuff daily when you get home.
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Old 05-11-22, 07:19 AM
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man this thread just reminds me how good I had it at my last FT job. separate mens & womens rest rooms. plus a 3rd with a shower. there was also a boiler room. I could bike commute year 'round, hang up wet clothes in the boiler room. shower & change. some things I did not re-use like my cycling shorts, which I wore under whatever the long pants or shorts of the day were, socks & base or under shirt. basically anything that touched my skin. that stuff went into a plastic bag & I brought it home, in my rear rack trunk. I stashed a clean set of the same stuff as well as work clothes in a big empty desk drawer. I forget if I hung my shower towel in the boiler room or if I brought it home. I think in the summer, when i was riding every day (26 miles round trip) I kept the same towel for the week. it never smelled. I always arrived waaay before anyone else so I was at my desk, clean, dry, cooled off, etc. & no one could tell I rode to work, except for seeing my bike in the loading dock. sometimes at lunch I'd go for a run & shower before going back to my desk. the business owner, also an avid cyclist, offered to get me a locker, for my convenience. but I was very happy drying everything in the boiler room, w/o being enclosed. if that didn't bother them, I didn't need a locker, not for drying the wet stuff anyway. man, I'd love to get another gig like that again!

right now I'm stuck w/ a regular small 1/2 bath at my current job. so when I bike commute (44 miles round trip), summers only, I sh*t, shower & shave at home, then ride in, clean as a whistle. I do sweat, but I stash wash-up stuff in the office, things like diluted liquid shampoo/body wash, wash cloth & 2 small hand towels, personal grooming & hygiene stuff too like deodorant & toothbrush. I wear as little as possible & the stuff that touches my body, basically cycling shorts & shirt, gets bagged to be brought home that night, I think I re-use the socks. I can hang dry a small washcloth & 2 small hand towels using an open desk drawer in my own small office w/ a window. they don't ever smell & can be re-used the next day. altho I don't bike commute more than once a week, maybe twice maximum. so I can use the car to transport everything, as needed. a small travel hair dryer is helpful too. not a bad setup really. plus in the summer our office staff goes way down, so there aren't too many ppl to even care what I do. not a bad situation

it's been a cpl years due to covid, so I'm hoping to do a cpl more commutes this summer!

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Old 05-11-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
man this thread just reminds me how good I had it...
Yep... And we are always trying to figure it out. It's what we do when we want to ride.

1- How do we secure our bikes and gear?
2 - What route do we take?
3 - What bike do we take?
4 - How do we not offend others after a decent ride?

There is a cardiologist over in North Austin. You can tell how much he rides by the dark brown ovals on the back of his hands. He walks into his office with his gear on and helmet under his arm with pride leaving the lingering odor of a South Texas Meat Eater...

Clean Up? We don't need no clean up... Ha
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Old 05-11-22, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanescapee View Post
Engineer/PM. Mostly desk work, but in an open office environment. No cubes and basically no personal space to speak of beyond a pretty compact desk and chair arrangement. We already have problems with people not showering and wearing their smelly soccer gear into the office after lunchtime games, I'm not about to contribute to that by air-drying my smelly bike clothes at my desk, lol.
Props for being considerate!

In theory, we could ride in at really low effort to minimize the sweat/stink and save the harder efforts for the ride home, but I've never been able to do that in practice. I want to GO whenever I'm on a bike.
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Old 05-11-22, 12:42 PM
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I have things a little different. I am in cubicle world and have a heater under my desk so after arrival at work I get cleaned by using a face cloth and small hand towel, soap and water. I also wash my hair in the sink. When I am done cleaning up no one can tell I have been in that bathroom. I take my riding clothes and hang them under my desk for an hour using the heater to help any wetness dry. Then I put everything back in my pannier. I do not get very hot riding in to work so my clothes is not soaking wet. That is how I handle the situation.
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