How to Clean Bulletproof Vests

Cleaning your bulletproof vest is an important activity as it allows you to breathe normally and not suffocate in the stench of all the built up dirt and grime that might be lodged in the vest. The stains which are caused from daily use can be absorbed into the Kevlar and needs to be cleaned properly.

Before getting into the details, it is important to note that there are a number of techniques to cleaning a bulletproof vest; some are more conventional than others. Also, it should be noted that different stains require different cleaning techniques.


  • 1

    The first step is to disassemble the vest as best as possible. This means opening it out and flattening it on an even surface.

  • 2

    Remove any solid debris such as bullet casings, fragments, concrete and stones. We advise using a brush for this and a blower as well.

  • 3

    With that done, remove the metal plate if your vest has one and make sure that none of the non-waterproof materials are still on the vest. This can lead to problems later on.

  • 4

    Give the vest a final inspection and identify the problem areas. If the vest needs a simple cleaning due to sweat or dirt, then one may simply pop it in the washing machine or hand it over to the dry cleaners. However, if one has other stains on it then a neat little trick is to pour soda (Coca-Cola or Pepsi) over the affected area. It is a great way to loosen up the dirt or oil from the stain to make it easier to clean.

  • 5

    Once the vest has soaked over night you may proceed with the rest of the cleaning process.

  • 6

    Depending on the make or manufacture of the vest you may wish to follow the specific instructions that come with the manufacturer. Some vests may shrink and end up not fitting you or worse, not be able to hold the metal plate, which can be a major problem.

  • 7

    At the same time, drying the vest is also important. Some models are best left in the sun to dry naturally however, depending on the make and model, some may need to be dried using more aggressive techniques.

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