How to clean your plate carrier

Your plate carrier isn’t just a piece of equipment; it’s a companion that has been through thick and thin with you. Cleaning a plate carrier and keeping it well-maintained not only extends its lifespan but also keeps the comfort and hygiene of the user.

Why Cleaning Matters

Before diving into the cleaning process, let’s talk about why it’s essential. A dirty plate carrier can accumulate sweat, dirt, and grime, which can lead to material degradation and an unpleasant smell. Regular cleaning helps to maintain its integrity and comfort.

What You’ll Need

Mild soap (avoid harsh detergents)
Soft brush or sponge
Clean, lukewarm water
A towel or cloth for drying
A well-ventilated area for air drying

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

1. Before washing, remove all plates, pouches, and accessories from your carrier. It is recommended that all removable pouches be washed separately.
Check for any manufacturer’s instructions regarding washing.

2. For minor spots or stains, simply use a sponge or cloth dipped in soapy water. Gently rub the area in a circular motion and then wipe away the soap with a damp cloth.

3. If your carrier needs a more thorough wash, prepare a soapy water mixture in a tub or basin. Submerge the carrier and gently scrub with a soft brush. Avoid soaking for extended periods, as this can weaken the material. Pay special attention to heavily soiled areas.

4. After scrubbing, rinse the carrier thoroughly with clean water. Ensure all soap residue is removed as it can cause irritation or degrade the material over time.

5. Gently squeeze out excess water (avoid wringing) and use a towel to pat down the carrier.

6. Lay the carrier flat or hang it in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Air drying is crucial as machine drying can damage the carrier’s fabric and stitching.

7. Once dry, inspect your carrier for any signs of wear or damage. This is also a good time to check all straps, buckles, and fastenings.

8. After the carrier is completely dry, reassemble it by placing back the plates and attachments. Ensure everything is secured correctly to maintain the carrier’s functionality.

plate carrier tactical

Additional Tips

  • Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners as they can weaken the fibers.
  • If your carrier has Velcro, clean it with a toothbrush to remove debris.
  • For persistent odors, a gentle spray of odor eliminator can be used before the final rinse.
  • Avoid folding the plate carrier tightly or placing heavy objects on top of it to prevent material deformation.
wash a plate carrier


Cleaning your plate carrier might seem like a chore, but it’s an integral part of gear maintenance. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your carrier remains in top condition, ready for whatever comes next. Remember, taking care of your gear is also a way of taking care of yourself. Happy cleaning!