Racer Guide 101: How F1 Racers Wash Their Race Suits?

The F1 car has a hostile environment, and racers wear a fireproof race suit to ensure their safety. Beyond the environment and safety, F1 racers sweat a lot during races. That’s why it is a must to wash their race suits properly.

A clean race suit is not only for good hygiene and good looks. How your race suits are cleaned dramatically influences one’s performance. Racers do not only drive cars over 200mph; they have to ensure that their race suits and safety gear maintain their essential feature to protect them during the race.

Besides immediately taking off your race suit and safety gear after each session, washing them properly at the end of the day helps maintain their good condition.

Now, how to properly wash your race suits? Here are some quick guides.

How to Give Proper Care for Race Suits


It is a must for every racer to know how to clean and care for their race suits properly. You have to ensure that what you are doing adds or maintains the durability and integrity of the suits.

As mentioned, you have to take off your race suit immediately and let it hang dry. Do not dry the suit under harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays; air dry is best. Once the race suit is dried, store it inside its suit bag.

Some racers do not take off their suits and immediately go to the pits. It may seem a hassle to remove your race suit, but wearing them while working on your car may compromise its protective features. Do not let oil, fuel, grease, or other containment compromise its features.

Before we proceed to wash your race suits, you have to remember that there are 2 basic types of race suits: fire-retardant or chemically-treated fire-resistant cotton or man-made materials. More so, some suits are made with a combination of these materials. There are conflicting opinions on properly washing race suits, whether by washing machine or dry cleaning. If you are one with the unsure ones, it is best to bring your race suit to a laundry expert, like Liox.

The following cleaning and washing procedures we recommend are general guides only. Do not disregard the recommendations from individual manufacturers.

Best Way to Clean Fire-resistant Cotton Racing Suits


Most race suits have a cleaning guide from its manufacturers, and most manufacturers suggest to dry clean any suit made from fire-resistant cotton. However, you should not trust your race suits to any dry cleaners. You need to verify if they are familiar working with fire-retardant fabrics. Fire-resistnat cotton racing suits should be dry cleaned without the harsh chemicals.

You have to avoid the TCE or any harsh laundry detergent on the racing suit. Any of these chemicals gradually builds up deposits on the fabric that may cause to retard flame. Dry cleaning is not always the best option. Thus, if you can wash your race suits in a conventional method, do so.

Fire-resistant cotton racing suits should be washed separately on a delicate cycle. Use cold water in washing the race suit and do not forget to wash it right side out. Just like any suits, do not forget to close every zipper and fasten all velcro with a stainless steel safety pin. You do not want to damage the fabric of your race suit, right?

Since you are washing it by yourself, do not forget to only use gentle laundry detergent. Detergents with sodium silicate or metasilicate can damage the suit fabric. More than that, avoid using chlorine-based stain remover or chlorine bleach. After washing your race suit, do not dry them with a dryer machine, instead let the suit air dry and out of direct sunlight.

Washing fire-resistant cotton racing suit and man-made or Nomex racing suit is pretty similar. You can spray a refresher that’s compatible for race suits to maintain its fabric breathability and remove the possible growth of bacteria on the fabric.

Best Way to Clean Man-made Racing Suits


The Nomex or man-made racing suits have built its fire-resistant material into the fabric. Thus, you do not have to worry about the fire-retardant properties when cleaning. You can take them to the dry cleaning expert. But, do not assume that your neighborhood dry cleaner is familiar with fire-retardant fabrics. Inquire first to ensure that you are asking help from an expert. Some laundry experts do not use dry cleaning, but an alternative care for its fabric type.

Other than dry cleaning, you can machine wash the Nomex racing suits. But, ensure that you are putting them on a delicate cycle in cold or lukewarm water. If you plan to machine wash them, do not forget to close all the zippers and fasten the velcro closure to avoid damaging your race suit.

Experts suggest not to use ordinary laundry detergents as some contains acid or alkalis which could damage the materials of the Nomex racing suits. After you have washed the racing suit, do not dry them in a dryer machine. Let the racing suit air dry and out of direct sunlight.

Use a Spot Cleaner and Protector for Finishing Touch

Use a reliable spot cleaner that is suggested by experts and professional racers. Get a cleaner with concentrated formula. It penetrates deeply to dissolve spots and stains without damaging the fabric.

Meanwhile, spray a protector to help the gear resist contaminants that may degrade its performance. Moreover, reliable protectors help reduce the color fading caused by UV rays.

Final Takeaways

Always follow the recommendations and care instructions given by individual manufacturers to ensure you are maintaining the race suit’s integrity and durability. Again, you can do the cleaning and washing by yourself. But, if you are not confident, dry cleaning or laundry expert cleaning is an option. Do not hesitate to ask for expert’s help. Remember, your race suit is an investment, not only to your racing career but to your safety as well.