BDU cleaning (Sweat smell removal)


September 28, 2003, 08:29 AM

I need help. I have several sets of BDU's that I wear for duty. During the European heat wave I seem to have ruined my uniforms. They have a distinct sweat smell to them. These are both summer weight and winter weight uniforms, both have the smell.

The smell is gone after washing, but once I begin to sweat again, it comes right back. So within one hour of wearing the uniform, it stinks.

I have tried several things to help remove it, but none of them seem to work.

I have tried the following:

1. Stain Stick prior to washing

2. Stain removal spray prior to washing

3. One cup of Vinegar added to the wash and allowing the shirts to soak in it for 20 minutes

Do you guys have any other suggestions.

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Sean Smith
September 28, 2003, 09:02 AM
Hmm. I wore BDUs for about 10 years and never heard of that one. :confused:

September 28, 2003, 09:04 AM
I'm not sure if you can find it over there but Simple Green might do the trick.

Sean Smith
September 28, 2003, 09:09 AM
I think I've heard Simple Green suggested for cleaining EVERYTHING at some point, including Apache helicopter parts. :evil:

El Tejon
September 28, 2003, 11:00 AM
Glockster, glad to hear I'm not alone. (Well, O.K., I am when I have THAT problem).:D

I used to have this problem when exercising in hot, humid weather. I use an entire box of baking soda in my wash. Works for me. YMMV.

September 28, 2003, 11:05 AM
Try pouring a bit of Oxy Clean into the wash along with the regular detergant. Stop the machine when full so they'll soak for a bit. Then restart the washer and allow to run as usual. An exta rinse cycle may be good too. Worth a try.

September 28, 2003, 12:34 PM
El Tejon,

I will try that as soon as I get a chance. Hope it works.

If it doesn't I guess I will have to try Simple Green (if I can find it).

September 28, 2003, 11:21 PM
You must have some seriously powerful sweat!

Baking soda should do the trick.

Now if you get some GAA on it you are out of luck. That stuff stinks forever. You can alway smell a Tanker or Arty guy from a mile away. They smell like GAA and Hydraulic fluid (otherwise known as cherry juice) from a mile away!:D

Good Shooting

September 29, 2003, 11:44 AM
Sounds like there's bacteria somewhere. You have to kill the bacteria.

Denatured alcohol may work, since straight chlorine (what I'd normally recommend...) may be a little tough on the uniforms...

Fudgie Ghost
September 29, 2003, 04:03 PM
It may be that they are clean. Are they cotton/poly blend? I find that if I wear cotton/poly blend shirts and I get hot, I tend to stink more than with an all cotton shirt. Something to do with the "poly" no doubt, as it's basically plastic, non-absorbent.

October 3, 2003, 09:11 AM
About a 1/4 cup of ammonia in the wash. NO CHLORINE

October 3, 2003, 10:20 PM
Add borax and/or baking soda to the detergent. They have been used for many years as deoderizers. No need to use the whole box either.

October 5, 2003, 11:46 PM
In CABELAS CATALOG, SCENT KILLER for bow hunters and others can be had in detergent form, spray on activated carbon, and then there is CASTILE SOAP, & NOW at SAM'S & COSTCO, & GROCERY STORES which is a orange citrus oil concoction for cleaning, degreasing, removing fouling from cannon, black powder guns, cleaning your kitchen, bath, etc. Oh, and it is dolphin friendly and kills fleas on cats and dogs then rinses off quickly.
They won't attack your BDU's, and they rinse CLEAN. None will attack YOU, either. I rather like CASTILE SOAP, because I can get it in liquid or bar soap form, use it for shaving soap, shampoo with it, bathe, brush my teeth with it, and wash clothes. Great as concentrate on oil stains with a wash cloth on top to draw it out. And if you are not in coombat, get the PEPPERMINT SOAP or EUCHYLYPTUS FOR A GREAT BODY FEEL. bUT YOU CAN GET IT PLAIN WITHOUT SCENT AS WELL, To each his own.

October 6, 2003, 05:35 AM

I tried the baking soda trick last night, I will post how it does over the next couple of days.

You guys are coming up with a lot of good ideas, but it is likely I won't be able to try many of them. I am in Germany, and I can't find a lot of your suggestions, but thanks anyway.

October 6, 2003, 11:58 PM
Castille soap originated in CASTILLE, SPAIN, been around thousands of years. shouldn't be a BIG problem for that, and it is based on OLIVE OIL for the main ingredient. NOW ought to be in the Commissary or PX and is made frome the citrus oil of ORANGES.

October 9, 2003, 01:58 PM
you could try Under Armor undies, look like boxer briefs, supposed to wick away sweat from your butt and won't absorb it like cotton. hear the shirts are great for police while wearing kevlar vests

October 9, 2003, 03:14 PM
I have tried the Under Armor shirts, and they do work wonders while wearing a vest, and while not wearing a vest. Duofold also makes a good shirt for vest wearers.

October 9, 2003, 03:27 PM

Thanks for responding to this thread, many great ideas have been shared and I am glad I am not the only one who has run into this problem.

As for what I have tried...I used about 1/4 box of Baking Soda and laundry detergent, mixed into a load of laundry (one BDU shirt, one BDU pants, one pair thermals, two duofold t-shirts, one pair black socks and a fleece sleep shirt).

The following items from this load of laundry were worn for the period indicated below:

One pair BDU's (worn for three days)
One pair black socks (changed each day)
One duofold t-shirt (changed each day)
One fleece sleep shirt (worn for three days)

These items were worn during an Ability to Survive and Operate (ATSO) exercise, where we ended up doing a lot of running around and chasing "bad guys" while wearing full uniform and Chem gear. Needless to say I was sweaty each and every day when I got off work.

Today before I placed the items into the laundry again, there was no sweat smell ON ANY OF THE ITEMS.

Than you so much for helping me with this situation. You guys all came through for me when I needed you. I hope this is a final resolution to an on-going embarassing problem I have been living with for the last 4 years.

El Tejon
October 9, 2003, 04:51 PM
Glad to be of help, Glockster. No, you are/were not alone (well, I using am when exercising--some guys pick up chicks at the gym, not me, I drive them away [of course, I do that when I open my mouth too]). Now you're ready for the young and nubile.:D

BTW, if you have any of those salt stains on your BDUs, boil your clothing. No, really, stop laughing. Boil them.

The stains should lift right off. My maternal grandmother used to do this to our clothing when we went out and played football at her house (I believe it is illegal for children to exercise today). Used to light a fire, fill a large washtub (in Indiana we refer to it as a "warshtub") and stir it with a canoe paddle (luckily for the neighbors this was not done in the front yard [insert banjo music here]). :D

October 9, 2003, 04:59 PM
and then, i've also had real good luck switching back to TIDE DETERGENT..
I like TIDE WITH BLEACH real real well. I may smell, but my clothes are getting cleaner and brighter.
Well, got to go and get cleaned up and ready for the "club" meeting tonight and all the curmudgieons that rebel at my organization skills.

October 12, 2003, 04:50 PM
The best i have found is called "Sink The Stink", I use it for cleaning my wet suit after scuba diving, a little goes a long way. You can find it at your local dive shop. I have found that it works great for just about any odor.
Good Luck...............

October 12, 2003, 06:18 PM
Is this what happens when crosses paths with


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