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Did you know that the body armor industry has a market size of over $5 billion? While more people buy protection yearly, not everyone has a proper body armor maintenance routine.
It’s better to prevent damage now instead of spending money on repairing body armor later. Are you concerned that you’re not taking enough care of your body armor parts?
From cleaning body armor to body armor storage, the following guide will explain how to protect your investment so that it can protect you.
Understanding Body Armor Materials
Bulletproof vests often use Kevlar materials or Polyethylene for their designs. Sometimes manufacturers fortified carrier vests with steel or ceramic body armor plates. Different body armor materials decide how you should clean or wash it.
Parts such as helmets also require cleanings, but vests need them more often because they’re used more frequently. You can use the same cleaning techniques for different pieces because they generally use the same materials.
Keep in mind that body armor made of steel or ceramic requires regular cleaning, too. It’s a fast process because you just need to wipe away dust and debris using a damp cloth. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe the armor down before storing it.
Never store liquids or any kinds of reactive chemicals next to steel body armor. You can check out Nextdayarmor.com for more examples of body armor pieces.
Washing Armor by Hand
Before you begin cleaning your armor, you’ll want to gather a few key items. You’ll need cold or warm water, antibacterial soap or mild detergent, a soft rag or sponge, and hook tabs.
To create a hand-washing solution for your armor, combine a teaspoon of soap or detergent with the water and stir until it suds up. Next, submerge your rag or cloth into the mix and then ring it out so that it’s only slightly damp.
The cloth or rag you use shouldn’t completely saturate the armor’s exterior with the solution. Also, wait for the solution to cool because hot water might harm the armor.
Avoid squeezing your armor to ring out any excess water. The armor must stay straight throughout the entire cleaning.
Never use any type of bleach or strong detergents on your body armor. You shouldn’t dry clean any parts of the armor either.
Consider using hook tabs to hang up your armor to help easily clear any debris stuck in velcro areas. Never use fabric softener or bleach when washing straps on vests.
Washing Armor With a Machine
A lot of body armor pieces are hand-wash only, but you can save time by machine-washing other parts. Just make sure to use the gentle cycle and only use cold water and mild detergents.
Never use a washing machine for straps and don’t ever fully immerse them in water. Carefully wipe down straps with a damp cloth or sponge with a little detergent instead.
Don’t machine wash plates and inserts or submerge them in water either. Plates tend to be stiff and rigid and a washing machine can cause a lot of damage. They’re so tough that they might damage the washing machine, too.
Clean plates and inserts the same way that you clean straps with a damp cloth and detergent. Soft materials such as cotton are the only parts you should consider machine-washing on a gentle cycle.
Use a sponge, warm water, and detergent for ballistic materials used in armor like Kevlar and PE. Do the same for Cordura and nylon parts instead of ever sticking them in a washing machine.
Avoid Scented Sprays
If your body armor develops an unwanted odor, you might think it’s a good idea to spray it with something like a deodorant or Febreze. However, those types of sprays can harm the ballistic material used in your body armor.
Instead, look for special deodorizers made just for body armor. They use a precise amount of alcohol to help destroy odors on the armor caused by bacteria.
Drying Your Armor
First, lay your body armor vest flat to start drying it out after cleaning it. Never use direct sunlight to dry your body armor because UV rays can harm some materials like Kevlar and PE.
If you want to use a machine, you can tumble dry some body armor materials. Just make sure to use a low temperature and double-check the instructions for the particular armor piece.
Spot-Clean As Needed
You don’t have to fully clean your body armor daily, but you’ll need to do spot-cleaning as needed. Your armor will build up dirt and sweat as you use it and it’s important to maintain it each day.
Use cloth, soap, and water to carefully wipe down dirty areas and stains. Then, let your armor dry the same way you would after a full cleaning.
It’s up to you how frequently you spot-clean your armor and it might change depending on the season. For example, your armor might need more care in the summer because of increased sweating.
Body Armor Storage
Keep your body armor in a cool, dry, and dim area that stays at a consistent room temperature. Avoid storing your armor in an area that receives direct sunlight to protect it from harmful UV rays.
Also, avoid storing your body armor in spaces with low airflow. for example, don’t leave your armor in the trunk of a car or buried at the base of a locker.
Keep the armor flat and don’t bunch it up or roll it when you put it away. You can hang your armor, but use hangers that can support the weight. Never hang your armor from the straps or they might stretch out and no longer fit properly.
Body Armor Maintenance Routine
Now you know the basics about body armor maintenance and how to protect different parts. Remember, spot clean often and deep clean as needed, hand wash most parts, and store your armor properly.
Remember this guide and keep your body armor in great shape so that it can do its job efficiently. Check out our technology section for similar helpful maintenance tips.