How To Care For Your Uniform

Caring for Your Uniform

Extend the life of your uniform by washing and caring for it properly. Not sure how to do that? Follow our step-by-step guide.

BDU Care

These uniforms are tough garments. As a result, caring for them is relatively simple. Unlike other uniform types, they usually withstand starching though this is neither required nor recommended. Despite their high level of durability, there are a few things you should do to ensure you get the most life out of each piece.

The first wash:

  1. Without using any type of detergent, wash the uniform on the permanent press cycle with cold water.
  2. Dry on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes only. After removing the garments from the dryer, hang them and let them air dry.

Subsequent washes:

  1. Using a mild detergent, wash the uniform in warm water on the permanent press cycle.
  2. Tumble dry on the low-heat setting. Afterward hang the garments immediately to prevent wrinkles.

ACU Care

Stop right there! Put down the starch and iron! The beautiful thing about ACUs is that the crisp, wrinkle-resistant fabric means they do not need to be starched and ironed. Actually, you could ruin the coloration of your uniform if you do either. Starching enhances the IR signature (the appearance of objects to an infrared sensor), making the uniform inappropriately bright.

In addition, using a detergent that contains bleach or optical brighteners could drastically change the color of the uniform. The Near Infrared, or NIR, capability of military uniforms is degraded when washed with optical brighteners. These chemicals absorb the ultraviolet and violet region of colors in a fabric. They "trick" the eye into seeing a brighter shade and reflect more light, which can aid the enemy in identifying the uniform under night vision and thus nullifies the purpose of the specialized concealment design.

Every wash:

  1. Remove any insignia, rank, name tags and flags that are attached with Velcro. Leaving the items on can cause the edges of these items to curl.
  2. Dry on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes only. After removing the garments from the dryer, hang them and let them air dry.
  3. Wash in cold water and mild detergent containing NO optical brighteners or bleach.
  4. Tumble dry on low heat (not to exceed 130 F)
  5. Remove immediately from dryer, and fold flat or place on a rustproof hanger to ensure heat from the dryer does not set wrinkles.
  6. To drip dry, remove from the washer/water and place on a rustproof hanger. Do not wring or twist.

ABU Care

ABUs are the easiest uniform to care for. Just like the ACU, they do not need to be pressed or starched. To wash your ABUs follow the same steps outlined above for ACUs. However, you can use a detergent with optical brighteners without ruining or altering the digital Tiger Stripe camouflage pattern. This small detail eliminates the need to look for specific detergents and gives ABUs a slight edge when it comes to convenience. However, we still discourage the use of bleach or fabric softeners when washing your garments.

PLEASE NOTE: This is just a general guide to uniform care. Always follow the care instructions provided on the labeling inside the garment.