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Recently when travelling to see family on an Army base I decided to check out the local military surplus shops. I’m not sure why these places tend to be so (in my view) expensive, but after checking out some google reviews on the local options I lucked out and found a place with lots of affordable gear. Frankly, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have much money with me or I would have spent a lot more, but I ended up getting a backpack, some magazines, and an assortment of MOLLE pouches. It was a great deal but since it was all used it was all a bit dirty. Then my husband may have accidentally spilled a can of root beer all over it while he was looking at everything I bought. (Sigh.) So either way it needed cleaned!
If you’re investing a lot of money in your gear, most likely you want to make sure you’re extending it’s useful life when you clean it rather than wearing it out faster. There will always be that person you know who says “just throw it in the washing machine” and swears it’s never damaged anything. If you want to go that route it is up to you, but I choose not to. It’s really not that much effort to just wash by hand and you can make sure any stains get cleaned thoroughly while you’re at it.
Brush any excess dirt from the items first using a toothbrush or plastic bristled cleaning brush. Avoid metal wire brushes or brushes with other bristles that are particularly abrasive.
Use a mild detergent or soap to clean and cold to warm water. A bit of Dawn dish soap works just fine. Avoid bleach or solvents. Oxyclean can be used and for stubborn spots you can spot treat with some Simple Green. Soak for 15-20 minutes, use brush again with the now soapy item as needed.
When washing a bunch of small pouches I tossed them all in soapy water and used my breathing mobile washer to work the dirt out rather than brushing each individually.
Rinse with clean, cold water and then air dry. Avoid direct sun or heat.