A life jacket is an essential piece of safety equipment when you are out on the open water. However, when left to the elements, life jackets can become dirty and start to degrade. Cleaning your life jacket periodically will keep it in optimal, working condition and increase its longevity.


    • Check label instructions: Some life jackets are made of a combination of materials and require specific care instructions. Before you begin cleaning, check the label for care instructions.
    • Put on gloves: Put on a pair of rubber gloves, so that your skin won’t come in contact with any contaminants.
    • Clean the outside: Use a hose to spray down the outside the life jacket. Any dirt or debris should quickly break down and rinse off. If there are any stubborn spots, scrub them gently with a non-abrasive sponge.
    • Clean the inside:Fill up a bucket with warm water and mild dish soap. Wipe down the inside of the life jacket with a damp sponge. You may also want to use a soft-bristled brush and a small amount of bleach or vinegar to remove any tough stains.
    • Air dry: Hang the life jacket up outside or in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Make sure it is completely dry before storing in a cool, dry place.


    • If your life jacket is made of fabric or leather, use a leather conditioner or shoe polish to keep it from drying out.
    • Have any repairs or patches made by a professional.
    • Regularly check the hardware, straps, buckles and other parts for wear and tear.

Cleaning a life jacket is an easy and important maintenance task that can help extend its life and keep it in top working condition. Follow these simple steps to keep your life jacket looking and working its best.

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