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Care of Uniforms.


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This page was last updated:

Tuesday November 17, 2015 02:33 PM -0800


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Garments:

We do not make our garments to perform any better than original uniforms. We make our uniforms to deliver the same durability and quality that original WWII uniforms offered to our servicemen and women of that time.  Remember that the machines we use today are MUCH stronger than those used 60 years ago.  Delicate cycles in today's household washing machines can be very rigorous compared to 1942 standards.  Some very specific care instructions are required to follow to offer the longest life possible for our uniforms.

Cotton uniforms such as khaki uniforms, Paratrooper uniforms, and M43 field uniforms require a very specific set of care instructions.  The dye used is Military Spec and is VERY resistant to UV light (sunlight).  But, this comes at the cost of wash fastness.  Fading and streaking is a very common result if the uniforms are initially washed in a machine, especially in high efficiency, low water capacity  machines. This is why we recommend laundering cotton uniforms in a sink with cold water and sudsy ammonia with fabric softener, instead of machine washing with regular detergent.  Make sure all uniforms are turned inside out, and that you leave the uniform in the water for no more than a few minutes.  Premature and forced fading of the uniforms MAY produce negative results.  Allow the uniform fade gradually with multiple gentle launderings.  The first couple of launderings will demonstrate the most amount of fading.  Fading will be minimal after these initial launderings.

We have found best results from the following conditions.  Cotton garments made from twill, HBT, sateen, sheeting, oxford, and poplin should be turned inside out to prevent color loss and delicate wetclean in warm water with a cationic detergent (very gentle or mild soap) and a softening agent. Dry in a dryer until 100 percent dry and use minimum pressure when ironing, if desired.  For heavy starched items turn the garment inside out and delicate wetclean with an anionic detergent (Sudsy Ammonia) and sizing (Starch). Dry in a dryer until 90 percent dry. Finish fabric by using a spray sizing and adequate heat and pressure when finishing.  We recommend the use of "Sudsy Ammonia" detergent or Woolite instead of powder laundry detergent.  This can be found at most grocery stores.  They should then be hung dry.  If garments are left in a washing machine too long or washed along with no other laundry, streaks may form such as you might find after washing a new pair of blue jeans.  We have heard of some success with hot water rinses to remove streaking.  This should be done with no detergent.  Shirts and trousers can be starched and ironed as customarily done on uniforms.   Taking cotton garments (without canvas patches) to the dry-cleaners for cold washing and starching will not harm the garments.  Cotton garments do shrink and customers are hereby advised to make sure there is enough room in the garment for shrinkage before alterations are made and they are washed for the first time. 

Paratrooper uniforms with canvas components should NEVER be dry-cleaned.  The solvents in this process will remove the OD treatment leaving behind grey canvas.  These items should be hand washed in cold water same as other cotton garments.  Because of the treatment on the pockets the ABN style M43 trousers should not be washed in a washing machine, nor should they be Dry cleaned.  The only advisable method to clean these trousers would be to turn them inside out and wash by hand.  In the event the canvas treatment has been washed out we advise customers to simply paint the canvas patches, pockets, and reinforcements with Oil base O.D. Paint and they will be good as new.

Garments made entirely from wool or with wool components such as wool lining MUST be dry cleaned, and NEVER washed in water.  This includes all field jackets with wool lining, woolen shirts and trousers, and dress blouses and Ike jackets.  If they contact water they WILL shrink.  DO NOT dry woolen garments in a tumble dryer, as THEY WILL SHRINK.

We use cotton thread in our garments.  Please remember this when comparing to contemporary clothing with nylon or poly/cotton threads which are MUCH stronger.  The cotton thread we use is VERY GOOD and will last just as long as did originals when they were freshly issued.  At least you do not have to worry about 60 year old dry-rotten thread.

Some of our cotton garments will demonstrate a noticeable odor.  This is a chemical used in the dye process and is totally normal.  If we reduce the odorous chemical in the dye process this will adversely affect the UV resistance of the uniform.  This odor will eventually dissipate after washings and wearing outdoors.  However, customers have had success removing the order by using liberal amounts of fabric rejuvenator, such as Fabris and the like.  Dry cleaning DOES NOT remove the odor.

ALL canvas products such as cargo pockets, canvas packs and bags, and web gear must never be laundered in a machine or scrubbed with a wet soapy brush.  They can be cared for by brushing off all mud with a DRY brush.  Canvas gear was designed to be used as received by the supply sergeant.  The canvas will shrink and fade if this care is not given.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure the customer the longest life of the garment as possible.

Footwear:

All footwear must be cared for in order to provide the longest life possible.  Leather should be treated a leather preservative such as Pecard's Boot Dressing or SnoSeal.  Work the preservative into the seams and the welt to make the footwear water repellant.  These shoes are designed to be resoled when the soles and welt stitching are worn down.  Be advised that leather sole boards  such as on the USMC cordovan service shoes wear faster than hardened rubber soles and thus a simple resoling may be required sooner than anticipated. 

Equipment:

Canvas and webbing equipment should be cared for by brushing off dirt and mud WITHOUT water.  Water may shrink the cotton materials.  Metal hardware will oxidize when exposed to moisture for prolonged periods of time.

 

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