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How to Avoid the Stink When Riding to Work

KEY POINTS

  • You smell after riding because of sweat, exhaust fume, and lack of hygiene
  • Minimize smell by using deodorant, changing eating habits, and using the right gear
  • Clean the motorcycle and riding gear regularly
  • Take care of the riding accessories

Ever arrived at work drenched in sweat? Those hot commutes can leave you smelling less than fresh if you’re not careful. But fear not – I’m spilling the secrets to staying clean on hot rides.

Get my tips on how to avoid the stink when riding to work. our colleagues will thank you, and you can enjoy the ride without worrying about what new scents you’re leaving behind. The choice is yours – sweaty pit stains or smelling sweet? Read on for the good good…

Why Do You Smell After a Motorcycle Trip?

It’s common for motorcyclists to arrive at work and wonder why they smell so bad. Many factors can cause body odor, including sweating, exhaust fumes, heat, bacteria, hormones, and stress.

After a motorcycle ride, you may smell like gasoline and oil because the exhaust from your bike leaves an oily residue on everything it touches. This includes your clothing, skin, and hair. The odor becomes unpleasant after being combined with sweat and other body fluids.

The condition could worsen in the summer when the temperatures and humidity are high. You sweat more, and the sweat contains oil to feed your skin bacteria. These bacteria produce the scents we perceive as “body odor.”

SEE MORE: Summer Riding: How to Stay Healthy in Extreme Heat


How to Avoid the Stink When Riding to Work

Riding to work is a great way to save money and avoid traffic. In fact, if you live in a city, riding your bike to work will probably get you there much faster than taking the train or other public transport.

But there is one downside: you might wind up smelling like an un-flossed dog’s mouth by the time your day is done. If you’re a motorcycle rider, you’re likely used to gasoline, oil, and exhaust stink. But your colleagues may not feel the same.

Here are some tips for avoiding “bike funk” while riding to work:

1. Shower before leaving home

You rush out the door after sleeping in, slap on some deodorant and hope for the best. But trust me, if you wanna stay fresh all day, a quick shower is key.

Nothing wakes you up like a blast of cold water, right? Take a minute to lather up with an antibacterial soap under your pits, jewels and toes. Those are the stank zones where bacteria likes to party, so you gotta crash that party. Get in there real good with your fingers too – nooks and crannies are where the smelly dudes like to hide out.

Don’t skimp on scrub time either. A good old fashioned two-minute armpit scrub does the trick. Wash it all off and dry off, then slather on the good good before getting dressed.

Nothing worse than sweaty duds holding onto yesterday’s BO. Start clean and you’ll feel cleaner for way longer, even with the layer of protective gear.

2. Use an antiperspirant or deodorant

You must lather up that deodorant if you want it holding off the funk all day on the highway.

Under your arms is obvious, but don’t skimp on the areas where you sweat the most. And while you’re at it, apply a thick layer on your chest too. Sweat drips down, so guarding both the starting point and landing zone is key.

Some folks also like to rub a little down their backbone for full coverage. Go for it if you think you need the extra protection. Just don’t be so stingy that it disappears within an hour!

As for formulas, forget that 24-hour promise – you’ll be smelly and lying if you don’t listen up. Look for the 48 or 72-hour styles that are made for serious sweaters doing serious miles on two wheels. They’ve got the extra anti-stink powers to stand up to all the elements coming at your clothes.

3. Keep baby wipes or washcloth

We know those summer scorchers can have you looking like a wet dog halfway through a ride. Don’t let the stank set in – keep some quick-fixes in your saddlebags.

Baby wipes are genius for wiping away sweat and refreshening those trouble spots. Toss a few individual packets in your bag for easy on-the-go pits and parts cleaning. The alcohol-free kind is best so it don’t sting in sensitive areas.

Some folks prefer a mini washcloth for extra scrub-power. Wet it with a splash of water and give your upper body a quick go-over. Wring it out back in the cloth so you ain’t dripping down your leathers. Bonus points if you bring a small travel towel to dry off.

I like to keep a ziploc with wet wipes, deodorant and a lil splash of cologne. Five minutes at a rest stop and I’m as fresh as a daisy again.

4. Wear breathable fabrics

Choose breathable threads like cotton or synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics. They’ll keep you from getting swamp-ass unlike constricting leathers or vinyl. Let that skin breathe, folks!

Avoid anything tight-fitting like a wetsuit. You’re just asking for stanktown with no airflow. Go for roomy cuts that won’t leave you soggy from every pore.

And if the heat’s really on, loosen up those top layers. Unzip your mesh jacket or tie your flannel around your waist if you’re simmering.

Don’t forget your base layers too. Cotton boxers wick moisture way better than synthetics. And we all know commando riding ain’t gonna cut it in 90° temps.

5. Change shirts upon arrival if really sweaty

When you roll into the office looking like you just finished a triathlon, it’s time for a wardrobe change ASAP.

Keep a fresh tee stashed in your bag or locker. Duck into the bathroom, peel off that soaked sweat rag and swap in your clean dry shirt before that 9am meeting.

Might want to keep a spare deodorant and dry socks too for extra sweat emergencies.

6. Take breaks every 30-60 minutes to air out

Every 30-60 mins, find a nice shady spot and give yourself 5 to air out. Shut it down, peel off your lid and layers, and just breathe for a bit. Gives you a chance to dry off, check your gear for sweat damage, and maybe snack up for fuel.

Just don’t forget the deets – reapply antiperspirant, wipe your face if needed, maybe a splash of water. A short stop refreshes you better than battling all day in your own juices, trust me riders.

7. Stay hydrated to prevent dried sweat odors

We all know those summer rides just suck the moisture right out of ya. But forgetting to re-up your H2O levels is a stanky mistake. Make sure to crush at least one water bottle every few hours of riding time.

Dehydration leaves you with concentrated sweat that just sits and ferments under all those layers. Keep things diluted by sipping steady throughout the ride.

Bonus is water helps regulate your body temp too. No better way to stay cool out there. Some folks like bottled electrolyte drinks that replace lost salts too.

I dig a CamelBak packed with ice for long hauls. Nothing beats dragging on that straw for a cold swig in 100° heat.

CamelBak Classic Light Bike Hydration Pack 70oz

Key Features

  • Lightweight and Durable Materials
  • Air Support Light Back Panel
  • Ventilated Harness:

8. Avoid eating garlic

The food you eat affects your body odor. Garlic is notorious for causing foul body odor. If you can’t avoid eating it, try to eat it sparingly so it doesn’t have a strong smell.

Other food items you’d want to cut back on are onions, cabbage, broccoli, and spices with strong smells. In general, the smell of food with sulfur lingers in your breath and body.


How Can You Minimize the Smell on Your Motorcycle?

There’s no point if you smell fresh, but your motorcycle stinks like a garbage truck.

Make sure your motorcycle is clean. It’s applicable for any vehicle you drive, especially a bike. Wipe down the seat and handlebars with a damp cloth after every ride to remove sweat, grime, and other nasty stuff.

You can also use an anti-bacterial cleaning product on your grips, footrests, and tank cover, as these areas are particularly susceptible to bacteria buildup.

Use specific products to keep germs at bay. Parents know you should never attempt to eat in a car without baby wipes handy—and the same principle applies here.

A bottle of WD-40 or Armor All will disinfect all those hard-to-reach places where germs love to hide out: under the seat, around bolts and screws, in crevices on your handlebars, and footrests.

Armor All Interior Cleaner Spray Bottle

Key Features

  • Clean and enhance paint color
  • Protects from UV rays
  • Prevents cracking and fading
  • Increases the lifespan of vinyl and rubber

If these areas are cleaned regularly enough, there won’t be any bacteria to stink up your ride.


How to Take Care of Your Riding Accessories to Prevent Odor

Accessories like goggles, boots, and riding gloves can all create smells if not taken care of.

Here are some tips to help you take good care of your motorcycle riding accessories so that you don’t have to deal with offensive smells.

Clean your motorcycle accessories after every ride.

Dirt, oil, and gas can build up on your motorcycle riding gear over time, creating smells that other riders will find unpleasant. Wash all of your equipment regularly to keep it smelling fresh and clean.

Keep helmets clean and dry.

Motorcycle helmets can stink after a ride due to the sweat and other smells trapped inside. The sweat and oil on the head combined with the bacteria from your skin create an unpleasant odor.

If the stench is too pungent after every ride, try these tips:

  • Wash the helmet regularly if the interior padding is removable.
  • Make sure your helmet has good ventilation.
  • Wear a moisture-wicking liner under the helmet.
  • Use an anti-bacterial spray for the interior and the shell after every cleaning.
  • Apply anti-odor products inside the helmet but be careful about choosing the right product. You don’t want to pick up some funky new aroma because of it.

Store your motorcycle riding gear in a clean, dry place.

Your accessories will last longer if they are stored in a clean, organized space free of dust and other allergens. Be sure to keep every item separately.


FAQs about Avoiding the Stink When Riding to Work

How can I prevent body odor while commuting?

Prior to commuting, shower using an anti-bacterial body wash. Apply an aluminum-free antiperspirant to armpits and feet. Wear loose, breathable fabrics like cotton. Carry wet wipes to freshen up and wipe sweaty areas.

How do I remove stale sweat smell from clothes?

Wash clothes using hot water and detergent containing enzymes to break down odor molecules. Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar or 1/4 cup baking soda to the wash cycle. Line dry in the sunshine when possible.

How can I prevent sweat stains on my motorcycle jacket?

Wear a sweat-wicking base layer under your jacket. Apply an antiperspirant to your underarms before putting on your gear. Consider a water-resistant or waterproof jacket to help repel sweat. Clean your jacket frequently with a special detergent for wicking materials.

How do I get rid of motorcycle helmet smell?

Wash the padding in your helmet with a mild detergent and air dry. Stuff crumpled newspaper inside the helmet and leave it in direct sunlight for a few days. Spray the inside of the helmet with an antimicrobial spray or mix equal parts vinegar and water and use a towel to wipe it down.

What should I wear under my motorcycle gear?

The best base layers for riding are moisture-wicking underwear, shirts and socks made from synthetic or merino wool. Avoid cotton as it absorbs sweat and takes longer to dry. Wear thin ventilated over-the-calf socks to wick moisture away from your feet and boots.

How can I protect my riding gloves from smelling?

Wash gloves frequently using a gentle laundry detergent. Let gloves air dry completely between wears. Use antibacterial hand soap to wash your hands before putting on gloves. Consider using glove liners made from materials like silk or linen that naturally resist odor.

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