Cleaning/ caring for my uniform

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tom in nc

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My new found Confederate uniform and gear has been stored for a while before I bought it. Everything needs some cleaning and attention. The coat and britches have labels that read "dry clean only" so I'll take them to the cleaners tomorrow.
Some other stuff I'd like advice on, please. The suspenders of course, are mostly cloth but with four leather end pieces where they attach to the buttons on the trousers. Should I put them in the washing machine.
The haversack, canvas(?) With leather strap for the buckle, should I put it in the washing machine?
One of the brogans was wet. It has pretty well dried after letting it set out on my outside table in the sunshine and air today but I'd like to clean and treat the leather on them, without restoring them to a new modern appearance.
The knapsack will be a project on it's own, needing noting major, just a good cleaning, disenfecting, and treating to protect and preserve it. Then I'll be figuring out/learning how to pack and wear it.
Any advice on the cleaning and care will be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Calum

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For the dry cleaning, please be sure to specify that you do not want them pressed. Otherwise you will have permanent creases in the trousers.

I actually find that just hanging the uniform to air is all that's needed. If there is unwanted dirt, it will usually come off with a stiff, dry brush.

Shirts get washed cold, on the delicate setting and hung dry, as do socks. I would not put any of the other items in the washing machine. Maybe hand wash the suspenders if you're set on cleaning them, but otherwise, I would leave them alone. Damp rag for the haversack, you don't say if it's the tarred canvas that is common to most reenactors, or plain canvas. They got real nasty real quick in actual use.

Brogans, saddlesoap, Lincoln Black (or Lincoln Natural, if they're the russet) and then Hubbard's Shoe Grease. They'll get dirty quickly enough.

You didn't mention canteen, but if you got one, especially if it's tin, you may want to clean the interior and give it a coat of beeswax. Never, ever put it away wet. Stainless is more forgiving, but...

Good luck,
Mike
 

tom in nc

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Thanks Mike, I'll be sure they know not to press the trousers. I have no shirt, gotta buy one. My knapsack is just white canvas with a short leather strap. It will be ok, maybe just wash the button-in liner.
I'll try hand washing the suspenders. I have two canteens, one small and one a little larger. They are both pretty clean on the outside and I will clean the inside well with boiling water.
One brogan had gotten wet the day before I bought them so I'm concerned about it(them). I will pick up some supplies at my favorite local hardware store today to deal with them. Thanks again.
 
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tom in nc

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IMG_20211011_125308844.jpg
Here's my brogans. My little buddy, Rip likes 'em. I bought something at the hardware store for 'em that is labeled for use on rough side out leather.
IMG_20211011_125443238.jpg
Here's my suspenders, prewashed.
IMG_20211011_130037170.jpg
And my two canteens.
IMG_20211011_125956679_HDR.jpg
My haversack.
IMG_20211011_130115634.jpg
My knapsack.
IMG_20211011_130149404.jpg
 

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Here's my suspenders, prewashed.View attachment 98973
Hi Tom,

On my brogans, the first step was always to use a stiff scrub brush to brush off as much dirt as possible. Then I wet and wrung out a cloth to get rid of the remaining dirt/dust. Doesn't look like you need to do this now, but that's advice for the future.

For braces/suspenders, when they were just dirty, I hand washed them using dish soap and water. After a good rinsing and wetting the leather ends, I put some LEXOL leather conditioner on a wet/wrung out rag and worked some into the rough side of the leather and hung them outside to dry in the shade and not the direct sunlight. NEVER put anything with leather straps in the washing machine.

When I got clay or coffee or other stains on the cloth parts and before I did what is described in the paragraph above; I first wet the stained areas with water. Then I mixed one tablespoon of Chlorox to a pint of water and stirred it up in some kind of container. I scrubbed that into the stained areas until I got all the stain out it would take. You MUST keep this solution away from the leather, though, and you can normally do that by adjusting the strap you want to clean away from the leather ends.

THEN I ran those areas under the kitchen sink water to thoroughly rinse any bleach out. When finished with the stains, then I wet all the cloth and cleaned with dish soap etc., etc. as in the first paragraph.

Deo Vindice
Gus
 

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PS. About twice a year, I took the laces out of my brogans and wet them. Then took the wet/wrung out rag and LEXOL conditioner to give them a treatment. This kept them supple/strong and my laces never broke on me, unlike so many others.

Gus
 

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