Admit it, we’ve all got a few running, cycling or walking tops that have been pushed to the back of the kit drawer or dumped completely due to baselayer stink. I’ve a couple of cheapo tops that I can’t wear anymore as after a good run they start to stink like an incontinent cat has used them as bedding. So this new product from Nikwax seemed to be the solution.
Nikwax Basefresh is a deodorising wash-in conditioner for baselayers that claims to eliminate stink and to protect and enhance their wicking properties. If like me, you overlooked the word ‘conditioner’, you add this to your normal wash like conditioner along with the detergent. I’ve been told on good authority, that means it should be added into a special section of the washing machine drawer specially allocated for ‘conditioner’.
The best test for this would have to be to use this on the offending baselayers, along with a few others, and see how it fared. As you can wash a full load with this, it was the ideal opportunity to give my entire set of baselayers a wash. I put the lot in the washing machine, including some various brand name running tops that stink if you wear them after a workout and usually have to be removed immediately. After a run, I decided to wear them for an hour or so after, and they were fine. By the next day however, they were starting to hum a little, so while it’s helped a little this isn’t a miracle product that will totally eliminate stink. I did manage to get three runs out of one treated top while on holiday, with only one rinse in between. It didn’t exactly smell great afterwards, but was tolerable enough.
The cost of this stuff is higher than your usual detergent, but if you’ve invested in expensive baselayers you’ll want to look after them and you only need 50ml per load. That works out at about 50p a go, which is a bargain. Use it on all your shirts every month or so, and it should keep them fresh in the long term, but we have only been able to test this as a one off at the moment so only time will tell. I’d be more than happy to pay significantly more for something that adds a serious antimicrobial treatment to my tops.
The Nikwax Basewash wash in conditioner is a welcome addition to the upkeep of my running kit, keeping things fresher than they’d be without. It won’t perform miracles though, and if you’ve got cheap and exceptionally stinky tops then this will help keep you civilized after the run, but don’t expect your synthetics to miraculously take on the properties of merino. The main downside is that it doesn’t appear to be widely available (not at all online) so you’ll need to keep an eye out for this.
For a demonstration of how it improves wicking, then see the video below.