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RevRifleman

Washing Your Camo

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For those who are not in the know... check your laundry detergent before you wash your camo gear.  Why?  Optical Brighteners.  The very things in your laundry detergent that keep your every day clothes bright and clean will make you light up like a Christmas tree through Night Vision equipment.  

 

Granted, you may not be worried about being spotted by NV any time soon... but, those optical brighteners require special cleaning agents to remove.  If you want to go on the cheap and don't mind the smell, a bit of vinegar and water can get your stuff clean enough. 

 

Bear in mind... your washing machine may have residue from previous softeners and detergents having been run through in other loads of laundry.  

 

The Air Force lists these detergents as safe to use with their ABU uniforms:

https://www.vandenberg.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/341031/optical-brightners-make-abus-dangerously-easy-to-see/


- Cheer (liquid and powder)
- Cheer Free
- Exchange Select Cold Water Wash
- All Detergent Free Clear
- Country Save Liquid Detergent
- Allens Laundry detergent (power and liquid)
- Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Detergent (powder and liquid)
- Charlie's Soap (powder and liquid)
- ECOS Free and Clear Laundry Detergent
- Mountain Green Liquid Laundry Detergent
- Nature Clean (liquid and powder)
- Oxy-Prime Powder
- Planet Ultra (liquid and powder)
- Seventh Generation Laundry detergents
- Sportwash
- Sun and Earth Liquid
- Surf Powder (not Surf Liquid)
- Washeze
- Woolite, original and dark
 

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The optical brighteners they put in detergents is specifically phosphorus based and will actually bleach out darker colors and remove any IR retardant treatment, and once it's gone it's gone.  One detergent I didn't see listed is Dreft (the baby detergent) which has no scent, no phosphorus, and is about as nuteral a detergent as you can get.  Likewise you should only launder camo in cold water (same reason, dark colors) and hang &  air dry only.  I'm surprised to find Woolite on there.  That stuff used to do a number on any shade of black.

 

 

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Author of the topic Posted
On 2/2/2020 at 10:45 AM, Skillet said:

The optical brighteners they put in detergents is specifically phosphorus based and will actually bleach out darker colors and remove any IR retardant treatment, and once it's gone it's gone.  One detergent I didn't see listed is Dreft (the baby detergent) which has no scent, no phosphorus, and is about as nuteral a detergent as you can get.  Likewise you should only launder camo in cold water (same reason, dark colors) and hang &  air dry only.  I'm surprised to find Woolite on there.  That stuff used to do a number on any shade of black.

 

 

 

Dreft is a great addition to the list.  

 

Woolite (Dark) is specifically for black and dark color clothing.  

 

The ABU pattern didn't have black included as it had the same colors as UCP.  That may be why they felt comfortable including regular Woolite.  Nothing dark colored in those patterns.  

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