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USMC IIF (CIF) - Cleaning Gear

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Marines USMC

Cleaning Gear

Cleaning your IIF issued gear.


Supplies needed:

     Firm plastic bristle brush (no metal wire brushes. They will cause damage)


     Laundry detergent (no bleach, color safe) General cleaning

     Simple green if your removing petroleum based stains.

     Goo Gone if you are removing adhesives. This is oil based and requires and extra cleaning with a normal soap to remove the Goo Gone.



Cleaning is simple and easy. It will not take more than one evening to clean an entire issue and there is no excuse for having dirty gear unless you are in the field. This guide is a simple dumbed down version and just gives you the basics cleaning an entire issue should take no more than a few hours and can take as little as 30 minutes depending on the stains.


Here are the main items.


The Vest.

The vest usually gets sweat stains around the collar. For cleaning just remove the ballistic inserts and soak the outer shell in warm soapy water. Use a sink a bathtub or whatever you have available. after about 10 min and its thoroughly soaked take a scuzz brush and firmly scrub the vest. Take extra time in the dirty areas but you should scrub the whole vest. After you have thoroughly brushed the entire vest rinse it out with clean water to remove all soap and dirt. This whole process of cleaning and rinsing should take no more than 20 minutes unless its heavily stained. Then just hang the outer shell up to dry over night. If needed take a towel and hand dry it as much as possible to speed the process up. Obviously if you see it is still drity you should repart this process until it is clean.


The Pack.

The new pack system is a light solid color and will show dirt more easy than the older ILBE pack. Washing will be virtually the same as the vest but because the stains may be more difficult due to their nature. Mostly caused by chemicals or oils. you may want to have a stronger cleaning agent on hand. Simple green will take just about any stain out and will not bleach the material. For this use the same process soak the entire pack and wait till it is thoroughly soaked and firmly brush the entire pack taking more time on the soiled areas. Apply stronger cleaning agents on stains that are being more difficult. When you are finished hang to dry over night.


Pouches and accessories. 

The pouches are usually very easy to clean and most just have minor dirt on them and sometimes carbon from your riffle. This is the same soak in soapy water and brush out making sure to thoroughly rinse out the soap and dirt when you are done. Again for more difficult stains use a stronger cleaner like Simple Green.


Clothing Items.

Cold weather underwear, Gortex, fabric gloves, fleece cap, neck gater, ect...

Easy just wash them as you would your normal clothes in the washing machine.




Side notes.

Again there is no reason to have dirty gear. Take your time and take care of business. I know we all want to go out and have a drink with friends or sit in your room and relax but taking one night to clean your gear is not going to cause you too much pain and suffering. If you don't want a SNCOIC or Officer in your business take care of business on your own.

NCOs, SNCOs and Officers take the time to inspect regularly used items. Have monthly or bi-monthly gear inspections and make them show you their vest or pack. Can take as little as 5 minutes out of your busy day to make sure they are good to go. Think about when they are wearing or using that item they are representing you the unit and the Marine Corps. NCOs are the backbone of the Marine Corps. the small task of officially inspecting gear should start with you. It can help you build yourself as a leader making sure Marines under you are squared away. Inspecting your Marines kills to birds with one stone. You are making sure they did not lose the item and making sure it is clean.