Every Officer, Rookie or otherwise knows the importance of a quality bulletproof vest (and plates!!). But if we’re being honest, few realize the importance of proper vest maintenance. Maintaining your bulletproof vest isn’t hard, but it is important; and if you’ve ever smelled a vest after a year of constant hard use, then you know firsthand just how important it really is. I remember serving in the Navy and we had to stand watch on 5-hour rotation. The absolute worst part of standing watch was having to use the community heavy vests.
These vests contained hours, days and months of varying people’s sweat and bodily fluids dried and caked up on the inside, waiting to be released once you started sweating. The smell was horrible, they made your clothes smell horrible, and often gave people rashes. Fast forward a few years and I’m now a police officer, and while I thankfully use my own vest, I had begun to notice a smell. At the time I thought I was doing enough, you know, hanging my vest to let it dry, and even wiping it down with alcohol pads occasionally. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until one of my shift mates told me that there were specific sprays and cleaners designed to help alleviate those odors.
Below is a list of the top 5 best bulletproof vest cleaners, along with the one I use personally.
TOP 5 BEST BULLETPROOF VEST CLEANERS
1.) Arrest My Vest Odor Eliminating Spray for Body Armor
Arrest my Vest (catchy name, I know) boasts a completely safe formula and proven effectiveness. It is safe on different types of panels, Kevlar and other composites. Safe to spray directly on and around your k9s, and throughout your vehicle. Will not stain. This product contains no harmful chemicals and is completely safe on your skin. Additionally, it removes body odor and all types of odors prone to those working in law enforcement including vomit, urine, smoke, and filth. This my number one choice, and the one I use personally on my own patrol vest.
2.) Clear Gear Disinfecting Spray Bottle
This disinfectant spray by Clear Gear is somewhat of a jack of all trades. Clear Gear states their product is safe and effective on a whole host of gear, not just law enforcement specific. Use on wrestling, gymnastics and yoga mats, exercise and cardio machines, training and stretching equipment, free weights, foam rollers, gloves, helmets, footwear, headgear, pads, lockers, benches, bathrooms, equipment bags, cars/trucks/vehicles, and more. They do specifically cover uses for LEO and SWAT, while having a solid 4 out 5 stars on Amazon with over 300 reviews. While being at a slightly more affordable price point than our number 1 pick.
3.) FunkAway Odor Eliminator Spray
For those Rookies on a shoestring budget, FunkAway Odor Eliminator has you covered. Coming in at under $7 while still having 4 stars on Amazon isn’t bad either. Nothing proprietary here, just good quality at an affordable price. FunkAway comes in a smaller aerosol can, so you may have to stock up on a few if you plan on making it an everyday use item.
4.) OAM Solutions Odor eliminating Spray
Made from the same ingredient in Arrest My Vest, this multi-purpose odor eliminator will get the job done. Take off the LEO name tag and the product is instantly $6 cheaper, go figure. One application eliminates the odors by identifying the odor-causing chemicals and neutralizing them in one application. Just spray enough OAM to make sure it penetrates to the source of the odor.
5.) Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Nok- Out Odor Eliminator rounds out the list as a solid option to help maintain a clean vest. They have a few different solutions, but their SNIPER solution comes backed by Safariland. “This powerful new cleanser has been tested extensively by the folks at Safariland and they have approved SNiPER as a product that is authorized by Safariland to clean their armor and other products without voiding the warranty”. Nok-Out claims to be able to eliminate any odor from your vest as long as the spray can make contact with the source. It comes with some pretty good ratings but is on the higher side of all the sprays listed.