Airsoft vests should be easy to care for and in most situations are. Depending on the type of material they are made of, you should be able to wipe most dirt off with a damp cloth and then allow to air dry. But, if there is caked on mud or other stains on the vest or it has started to smell really bad you might want to do more washing to it. The question is, can you just throw them in family washing machine without damaging or destroying them?
Before You Wash Airsoft Vests in the Machine
Like any other article of clothing, read the care label for the vests before you toss them into the machine. If it says, hand wash or wipe clean only it is probably risky to try to machine wash them. Depending on the type of material that is involved, it could tear or worse, completely fall apart. However, if the vest is already so dirty or smelly that you cannot stand it, then it is a tossup for whether you want to take that risk or not. In some cases, it might be just better to go ahead and try it and hope for the best.
Before you do throw it in the washing machine, fasten the snaps, buttons or zipper to keep the vest closed so that it does not snag on anything. Then flip the vest inside out which might protect it further during the washing process. Use gentle detergent and the gentle cycle and wash it with clothing that is unlikely to snag or tear it, such as towels or other gentle items. When the vest is finished, remove it from the machine and check that it is not damaged in any way. It should be hung to dry or better yet, laid flat to dry so that it does not get indentations. If there is damage, assess to see if it can be repaired or if the vest will need to be replaced.
In addition, it is important to remove all of the pouches and the ammunition or other accessories from the vest before washing because depending on what you are firing, these can damage the machine.
Repairs for your Vest
If you do damage your vest during washing or during play, you might be able to mend them. If the material can be sewn and you are at home, obviously you can do that but if you are out in the field, you cannot. Duct tape is a great suggestion for an emergency repair and will work for most types of Airsoft vests.