Sunday, 11 August 2019 10:46

Nikwax Base Fresh : Tested and Reviewed

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I seem to spend half my life extolling the virtues of using the right stuff in cleaning and maintaing kit. Why spend hundreds of quid on a super technical, space age piece of clothing and chuck it in the machine with pants, sock and towels to be cleaned by enzymes and nasty chemicals. If you wash your active clothing in the correct manner it can last you years. There is one issue though. The washes needed are of course very mild so sometimes that favourite baselayer. You know the one that you always reach for first, can build up a bit of an odour. Especially if you leave in your kit bag for a couple of weeks, or 3 months due to injury. Sometimes you need something a bit more

Here's what Nikwax have to say

  • Nikwax BaseFresh® refreshes your base layers by deodorising and maintains freshness by preventing odour build up when in use.
  • Nikwax BaseFresh® enhances and revitalises the wicking properties of base layers and everyday clothing, increasing breathability. This helps the fabric to spread sweat, dry quickly, and keep you more comfortable in all conditions.
  • Nikwax BaseFresh® treated fabrics are more resistant to stains and day-to-day soiling. Should soiling occur, fabrics treated with Nikwax BaseFresh® are easier to clean.
  • Nikwax BaseFresh® allows base layers to be cleaned with standard laundry using conventional detergents, removing the need for a separate wash.
  • Nikwax BaseFresh® allows the use of aggressive detergents and cleaners to remove stubborn stains, such as chain oil, without compromising the performance of base layers.

Nikwax Basefresh 

Now I only really have 3 cycling baselayers and I've had them years. They look a little grey these days but I love them very very much. I'll also admit they have had an odour at times and I've succumbed and used a non bio detergent. First time they just didn't wick at all and so it took a couple of normal Tech Washes before they started working again. Specially designed Base Washes have helped but after a couple of months use the odour and greyness soon become eveident again.

Now back in the dark and distant past when I wore a suit to work, with a cotton shirt of course, I always used a fabric conditioner to make ironing easier. The creases in my sleeves were so sharp you could cut paper, the collar as pointy as a pointy thing and the funny shoulder blade pleat doings as fancy as cake with sweet yet bitter fondant. Those rare times I ran out of conditioner I looked like I'd borrowed the shirt of an old Etonian moron who still wished he had a nanny to suckle.

Anyway as usual I digress somewhat and have strayed off the point, a bit like an old Etonian...... sorry!! Anyway back to base layers. To work properly a base layer should be as close to the skin as possible especially when cycling, also if you've put on a bit of extra chunkiness after injury a close fitting compression layer is ideal to wear because girdles look a bit silly. If a base layer is working as intended then the user remain dry, comfortable and may well show a look of smug satisfaction. If a base layer isn't working as intended then the user will feel irritated, damp, constricted, uncomfortable and as sweaty as an old Etonian around his former nanny. The garment may also be extremely difficult to get off resulting in the dance of The Sweaty Vest.

After a particular hard hilly ride, it seems titanium plates in ones wrist can weigh up to 2 stone, my favourite compression layer was left for a few days then washed Nikwax Techwash and Base Fresh in a load with other technical clothing. After air drying I put the garment on. I can't say it felt new but it felt clean and perhaps a little smooth. Needing to give it a good workout I went to the National Closed Road Circuit in Pembrey and subjected myself to 2 hours of intense circuit riding.

Craftkit 2

At risk of repeating myself. With the best kit you don't know it's there, it just does it's job and goes about it quietly, unlike Old Etonians. After 40 miles the base layer still felt fresh and it slipped off my exercised torso with great ease leaving me without my dance partner.

Nikwax claim that Basefresh enables normal and aggressive detergents to be used. You do so if you like but I'm not going to risk it with any of my favourite kit so I can't really comment on that but alongside normal technical washes basewash is actually outstanding. I've even used it on my favourite very expensive cycling shorts and the chamois has been revitalised. Basefresh is a product I've been aware of for a while but never saw the point of. I was wrong. I probably won't use it for every wash but next time I'm starting to smell a bit like an Old Etonian I'll pop some in the left hand compartment of the drawer, the one with the silly little flower.

For further information check the Nikwax website

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