Cleaning Military Grade Camo & Fatigues
The Commander's washing instructions are straightforward: COLD WATER. Believe it. His 30-year old camo looks amazing.
Depending on how bonded you are with your camo and tactical clothes, specific care instructions can be fairly generic with qualifications. (If you're bored with it by next year, well okay.) Whether wearing camo as a fashion statement, or for serious outdoor field utility, consider your camo investment will never function or look the same if improperly laundered.
So, caring for good military camo, BDU and tactical apparel requires relatively standard laundry practices, using mild (preferably eco-friendly) detergents without whitening and brightening agents, to avoid degradation of original camouflage print. Don't use fabric softeners. Genuine military spec camo clothing is coated with permethrin (insect repellent), and chemical softeners in liquid form, or dryer sheets, may render the coating inert, leaving the wearer vulnerable to insect bites. That could be bad news in the field.
Here are modified instructions from the manufacturer:
- Do not dry clean.
- Machine Washing: In cold water, use the "wash and wear" or equivalent, cycle. Heavy stains may require pre-soaking or pre-spotting.
- Hand Washing: Wash in cold water, using soap or mild detergent.
- Detergent: Eco-friendly detergents without boosters are the safest bet, but definitely avoid detergents with whitening or brightening agents. Also steer clear of laundry soaps with "bleach alternative" or "color-safe bleach". Read those labels! Good news is ... mild detergents generally work nicely with most other laundry items.
If in doubt, default to equal measures of baby shampoo ... you can't lose.
- DO NOT WRING OR TWIST
- DO NOT BLEACH OR STARCH.
- Tumble dry at warm setting; remove immediately at end of drying, then shape and hang.
- DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER.
- To drip dry, remove from washer before last spin cycle, shape and hang, but keep out of direct sunlight.
- If a little anti-wrinkle touch-up is needed, iron at a moderate or synthetic heat setting.
To sum up, wash in cold water, using eco-friendly or super mild detergent without whiteners, brightening agents, or boosters. Tumble dry warm without fabric softener, then remove promptly and reshape. Air dry if you wish, out of direct sunlight, but remove the camo clothes from the washer before the final spin cycle. If fatigues need a little ironing, don't burn them ... use a low level or synthetic heat setting