Cleaning Hi-viz Olympia Motorcycle Jacket to Near New Condition

Seven year old Olympia hi-viz jacket after hand washing

Hi-viz motorcycle jackets are fantastic for increasing one’s visibility on the road.

There’s a good reason first responders, road crews and anybody who’s exposed to the dangers of being in traffic wear high visibility colours such as yellow, lime green, orange and red. These colours stick out on asphalt roads.

The downside of hi-viz motorcycle wear is they get exposed to road grime which seems impossible to clean.

I’ve washed my 7-year old Olympia hi-viz jacket numerous times, and the results have never been perfect, until now.

After a 6-day road trip, my Olympia jacket was looking particularly grungy. the forearms, shoulders and chest were noticeably blackened. A good wash was desperately needed.

Olympia’s washing instructions are essentially to hand wash the jacket, use Simple Green diluted 10 parts water to 1 part SG, and gently scrub stains with a sponge, then wash in Woolite. That might work, but it doesn’t get the jacket REALLY clean; it leaves obviously stained sections.

To get an almost like-new look, here’s what I did.

For cleaning a grungy hi-viz jacket to almost new condition, you need Nikwax Tech Wash, Simple Green diluted 10:1 water:SG, and a nylon scrub brush. And plenty of elbow grease.

Material needed

  1. Simple Green, diluted 10:1 water:SG, in a spray bottle
  2. Nikwax Tech Wash cleaner designed for washing waterproof textiles
  3. Stiff nylon brush

Washing procedure

Clean the jacket in a bathtub.

  1. Spray soiled areas generously with diluted Simple Green. Scrub stains hard with a nylon brush. Some stains may require scrubbing and spraying 5-6 times.
  2. Rinse off Simple Green-scrubbed areas with warm water
  3. Fill the tub with enough hot to the touch water to cover the jacket, adding in Nikwax Tech Wash (Nikwax recommends 50 ml plus 1 capful for hard water areas. I added one more capful of cleaner.)
  4. Soak the jacket in the hot water and Nikwax Tech Wash for 30 minutes
  5. Agitate both sides of the jacket in the bathtub by stepping on it with bare feet.
  6. With the jacket still in the wash water, inspect and respray stains with diluted Simple Green and scrub again. Continue respraying and scrubbing until you’re satisfied.
  7. As per Nikwax’s instructions, rinse with clear water (I used warm) 3 times
  8. Hang jacket to air dry. If the jacket has waterproof pockets, pull the pocket liners out to dry. (They will have filled with water.)

This looks longer and more involved than it actually is. It got my old jacket “German housewife-clean.” Ingrid said she was very impressed. 🙂

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