How to Properly Clean Your Body Armor

Your body armor is an investment, and it is important to maintain its quality for your safety.

Cleaning your armor is 2 parts. Part 1, your carrier. Part 2, your armor panels. Improper cleaning can damage an armor panel or a carrier. Damaged panels can cause the body armor to fail when struck by a projectile. It is important to remember that armor panels are NOT to be dry-cleaned, machine-washed or machine-dried, either in the home or commercially. Detergents, dry-cleaning solvents and laundry equipment can damage or degrade panels.

The general industry procedure for cleaning carriers:

1. Remove ballistic panels, detachable straps and fasteners from the carrier. If straps and fasteners are not detachable, place them in their secured position.

2. Unless the supplier specifically advocates machine washing, hand wash the carrier in cold water with a mild detergent for delicate fabrics. DO NOT use bleach or fabric softener to clean your carriers. DO NOT dry clean your carrier. Likewise, DO NOT use deodorizing sprays such as Febreeze or Lysol – these sprays can damage or compromise the carrier material.

3. Rinse the carrier thoroughly, and lay flat indoors to air dry. Some suppliers preshrink carriers and advocate machine drying, but unless specifically stated by the supplier, do not use a dryer. Air drying will have less impact on the integrity of the carrier.

The general industry procedure for cleaning armor panels:

1. Remove the ballistic panels from the carrier.

2. To remove dirt or stains from the ballistic panels, wipe the outer panel cover using a damp sponge or soft cloth and cold water.

NEVER use chemicals, other than those specified by the manufacturer when cleaning the panels. Bleach or starch, even when highly diluted, may reduce the protection level.

Refrain from rinsing, soaking, submerging or spraying the armor panels. Any superficial smudges, marks or soiling remaining on the outer covering should not harm the armor panel integrity.

3. Air-dry the panels flat, avoiding folding or creasing the armor while it dries.

NEVER dry soft armor panels outside, even in the shade, as exposure to ultraviolet light is known to cause degradation of certain types of ballistic materials.

4. Insert the dry panels back into the carrier with each panel strike or wear face correctly oriented.

If you have any questions about your body armor, contact us today to discuss your needs further. Call (800) 634-1944 or email us at

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