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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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.
I haven't read through all the replies, so this may have already been answered. If not, here goes. DO NOT clean your uniform. Shake it out, brush it out, but don't clean it. Takes the the trueness out of it. They didn't get to clean their uniforms hardly ever. They were usually worn out before a chance to clean them. Now, for odor control, Febreeze. There is a product, like the sheets you put in the dryer for freshness, and it kinda does the same as if you were 'dry cleaning'. I haven't used them because I just hang up in the garage after shaking and brushing to let them air out.
I've never bothered cleaning suspenders...leave them be. Same with the haversack. If you're using it for what it's supposed to be used for, food, it has a leather strap...don't put it in water, just rinse the bag part out in a bucket, mild soap and water (Dawn...).
Knapsack, I have a tarred cloth one, I just shake it out.
The brogans, any shoe leather care and saddle soap should get them in order. My leathers and shoes I do apply saddlesoap or leather conditioner after shaking, wiping down and brushing.
Welcome to the Rebellion, May the Force Be with YOU!! LOL
 
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DO NOT WHAT???
Mr. Chambers, Don't get on the ship! It's a cookbook! (As Patty looks at the alien book "To Serve Man".)
Sorry. Late night humor, maybe...

That's one episode of The Twighlight Zone that scared the living daylights out of me so much as a child when it was originally aired, I never forgot it. Whew!!

Gus
 
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I never forgot it. Whew!!
My favorite was "Eye of the Beholder". I took it to heart.
The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement.

During the Civil War, soldiers lived pretty much in rough conditions largely outside. Being 'dirty' and a bit shop-worn makes for an authentic impression!
At my first cowboy action shoot, there was a reenactor that scared me. He looked like a homeless person, but from 140 years ago. His hair was matted and like dreadlocks, his clothes were filthy, and I didn't get close enough to check his scent, but I'm sure it was authentic, too. I bet that's what a lot of the soldiers really looked like.
 
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Tom, I reenacted the civil war close to 24 years seen a lot of rebs, most were pretty scuzzy as a matter of fact the yankees were also. 😂 I had a new private fresh on the field one event shined he did, told him he needed to get a bit of wear on his gear so he up and jumps in a stream climbs out rolls around in the dirt then says hows that, I told him it was a start.
 
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Wash'n be Unsanitary!!
If the smell is getting to you then just rinse in cold water and hang out to dry or just wear it and it will dry faster.
Shoes need cleaning then a good coat of pine tar or bear grease to protect from water and cracking.
Bags and pouches, just rinse them good, mind not to remove any stains, then hang to dry.
Braces (suspenders) what them need wash'n fer, ya been rolling in the mud? Just brush them off and wear.
 
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Wash'n be Unsanitary!!
If the smell is getting to you then just rinse in cold water and hang out to dry or just wear it and it will dry faster.
Shoes need cleaning then a good coat of pine tar or bear grease to protect from water and cracking.
Bags and pouches, just rinse them good, mind not to remove any stains, then hang to dry.
Braces (suspenders) what them need wash'n fer, ya been rolling in the mud? Just brush them off and wear.
👍👍👍👍👍
 

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