Morale patches are made to be fairly durable, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect their care. The same tactical mindset that prizes discipline and preparation also finds value in the cleaning and maintenance of gear.
Even heavy-duty patches are gonna get dirty after a few days on your backpack when you’re adventuring outdoors. Take time to do some morale patch aftercare after they’ve spent several days on your tactical gear.
So how can you keep your morale patches spotless? Any cleaning precaution you should be aware of? Are there any specific techniques or methods to follow in cleaning patches? Can patches be hand washed or machine-washed?
This handy guide is going to answer all of these questions.
Tips to Avoid Damage to Your Morale Patches
If you’re going to display morale patches on your gear while you’re out and about, expect them to get exposed to rough conditions. Still, you should take any precautions you can to prevent excessive damage, staining, discoloration or color fading.
Be aware of the toughness and durability of your morale patches and tactical gear. What are their qualities? 14er Tactical Patches are made to be dust resistant and water resistant, for example. You know that these patches can withstand adverse weather conditions outdoors, to some degree.
Extreme heat is not good for Velcro patches. Too much heat can affect the plastic hooks and loops that comprise the Velcro backing. The heat can deform them, resulting in Velcro patches with less strong adhesion.
An important cleaning precaution: avoid machine washing your patches. Velcro patches should never be laundered in a machine. It’s probably best to avoid ironing your patches, too, unless they are sew-on patches.
Be sure that your morale patch collection is properly stored when not in use. Keep them in a dry space where they will not be exposed to excess sunlight, heat or humidity.
How to Properly Clean Morale Patches
Cleaning by hand is the best option for morale patch aftercare. You will also need some tools, such as a cleaning brush. If you don’t have anything else, you can use a toothbrush for the job. Any brush with somewhat stiff bristles can work well on the Velcro backing or hook and loop system. It can be difficult to remove dirt and debris from this area, but a good brushing will produce excellent results with a bit of effort. Using strong brush strokes will scrape the dirt out of the patch materials.
An easier method involves using tape to remove debris. Get some quality tape and apply it to the hook and loop surface. Pull off the tape, and debris will come off, adhering to the sticky side of the tape. Apply the tape multiple times if necessary. This is a good method for achieving a quick, no-fuss clean up. While it does not perform the most thorough cleaning, it does a good enough job for the most part. Use this method when you don’t have the time to do a detailed clean up.
Alternatively, you can use the tape method followed by a more precise clean with tweezers. You should also employ tweezers if you prefer a more delicate cleaning approach. Tweezers will allow you to pick off the contaminating bits of debris that can get caught in the hook and loop surface. After the tape method has taken care of most of the dirt, you can use tweezers to concentrate on the most stubborn pieces of debris. That’s how a thorough clean up is done!
Can Morale Patches Be Machine Washed or Hand Washed?
Other methods of morale patch aftercare are less recommended. Laundry machine washing is not a proper cleaning method for them, especially for patches with many details on the embroidery. The washing machine cycles can be very rough on the patches. Velcro patches should never be machine washed. If the Velcro surface rubs against other patches or clothing, this can damage them and possibly weaken the Velcro. Machine washing might also contribute to color fading.
Hand washing would be a better option. Carefully wash each patch by hand, using your fingers or a soft cleaning sponge to apply laundry soap to the surface. Scrape off dirt and work on stains and discolorations.
Embroidered patches should be washed in cold water. Same thing goes for Velcro patches—very hot water can deform the Velcro fibers. Avoid using a harsh detergent. You don’t want to damage the embroidery. Scrape or brush the patch gently, if you must do so. Wash and rinse thoroughly. Don’t leave any soap suds, as they can be bad for the patch materials. After they have been washed, leave the patches out to air dry.
You probably don’t even need to hand wash patches, however. Only if the patches have gotten terribly dirty, stained or awful smelling. Otherwise, the cleaning methods mentioned in the previous section should be good enough.
What about ironing? Most patches manufactured today do not require ironing. Velcro patches are stiff enough and the patch materials don’t curl or wrinkle. If you have sew-on patches, these are the type that can be ironed if necessary. Use caution in ironing them.
Morale patches sometimes come with instructions on how they should be washed, ironed or cleaned. Be sure to take note of any cleaning precaution provided before you do anything.
How to Store Morale Patches to Keep Them in Good Condition
Storing your patches properly will keep them looking pristine for a long time. You have many options for patch storage solutions. You definitely want to avoid leaving them stacked up on each other inside a drawer! Velcro patches can adhere to each other, which can result in damage when you have to pull them apart.
Keep in mind the suitability of the storage area. This needs to be a dry space, as dampness would be harmful to the patches. The collection should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Patch panels are ideal for storing a large number of tactical patches. Also known as patch organizers, patch panels come in the form of large pads that provide a good adhesive surface for Velcro patches. Check out the 14erTactical Patch Panels, which have a high-quality micro-fleece material that is just right for holding your patches. They can be attached securely and pulled off easily without risk of damage.
Patch albums are another option. These “books” are bound together with several “pages” that can each hold a number of patches.
Interested in adding more patches to your collection? Visit the store and check out the many cool and badass 14erTactical Patches available!