Project Prepper, Part 23: Removing That Military Surplus Smell

“I’m sorry! I thought the vinegar would get rid of the smell!”

I was saying this only a short while ago this evening to my girlfriend, who fled the lower part of our house for the less-smelly refuge offered by the second floor master bedroom.

You see, she just got a whiff of two vintage East German military laundry bags after coming out of the washing machine.

It wreaked pretty bad. Even after I took steps to get rid of the smell.

I’ve been buying military surplus for a number of years now. It’s been my experience that items from former Eastern Bloc countries are incredibly “fragrant.” Czechoslovakia and East Germany readily come to mind here.

In anticipation of those two laundry bags from the former Communist state arriving, I conducted a little research into eliminating, or at least minimizing, that military surplus smell. In the past, I just ran the surplus items through the wash a couple of times. That helped a little. After moving to the new house, I did this plus aired the items out in the detached garage for a couple of months. More improvement.

This time around, I gathered a number of suggestions for combating the stench from the Internet. Ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Febreze, OdoBan, OxiClean, and even airing out the offending items in the garage for up to a year were some remedies suggested.

I went with adding a cup of distilled vinegar to the wash since I knew we had a gallon of the stuff tucked away somewhere around here.

This afternoon, the bags went into the laundry machine with detergent, color-safe bleach, and a cup of distilled vinegar added when the rinse cycle began, as this was recommended by a few different people out in cyberspace.

Pulling them out of the washing machine, I noticed the military surplus stench was not only still there, but more intense. I headed upstairs from the basement utility room, at which point my girlfriend’s nostrils got a full blast of good old-fashioned Cold War Communism.

As the post intro suggests, she’s not too pleased with me. I feel bad.

After the unprovoked East German assault, I threw the bags back into the washing machine and drowned them with only a cup of distilled vinegar. I added another one at the rinse cycle for good measure. I just got the bags out a short time ago to air dry, and while the smell is still there, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as before. Proponents of the vinegar method claim there might be a vinegar smell (there is- slightly) until the item dries out.

Judging by the intensity of the fragrance, I’m not going to hold my breath concerning vinegar successfully eliminating the odor.

Actually, I probably will.

I’ll update the post later and let you know of the final results. In the meantime, any reader suggestions on dealing with that intense military surplus smell?

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 Clothing, Europe, Gear, How To, Military, Project Prepper

2 Comments to Project Prepper, Part 23: Removing That Military Surplus Smell

  1. Vinegar works for me. I soak them overnight in vinegar and warm water. After soaking, I just wash them normally with detergent. You could also try using chlorine dioxide if it still didn’t work.

  2. Chad Fulton on December 15th, 2013
  3. Thanks for that recommendation Chad Fulton. I plan on updating this post in the next couple of days.

  4. Editor on January 8th, 2014

Leave a comment

Survival And Prosperity
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA

Successor to
"The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street"
(Memorial Day Weekend 2007-2010)

Please Rate this Blog HERE

Limited Time Offers

Via Banner Ads Below (navigate to vendor home page if necessary); Updated 10/3/15:
>CHIEF 20% Off Top Apparel Brands Thru 10/5 (code needed); Waterproof Outwear, Safety Boots, Vests On Sale Thru 10/27; 25% Off Tru-Spec 24-7 Series Pants Thru 10/31; Free 3-Pack Coolmax Cushion Socks w/ All Footwear Thru 10/31
>BGASC 1 Oz. & 10 Oz. Silver Bar Sale For Limited Time; End Of Summer Sale
>BUDK Free Shipping (no min. order; code needed)
>Nitro-Pak Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food Sale; Katadyn Water Filters Up To 30% Off; All AlpineAire Food Up To 25% Off; All Backpacker's Pantry Food Up To 25% Off
>Food Insurance Warehouse Sale; Free Emergency Supplies With Long-Term Meal Plan; Save Up To 43% On Freeze-Dried Seasoned Ground Turkey Pieces
>Airsoft Megastore Multicam Sale Up To 30% Off; Free Shipping On All Orders (no code required)
>BulletSafe Bulletproof Baseball Cap $119 Pre-Order Price; Ballistic Plate Only $169
>Tractor Supply Co. Free UPS Ship To Store
NEW! Advertising Disclosure HERE
Buy Gold And Silver Coins BGASC Review Coming Soon
Free UPS ship to store on all Tractor Supply Company orders! Shop now! Tractor Supply Co. Review Coming Soon
Food Insurance Reviewed HERE
Nitro-Pak--The Emergency Preparedness Leader Nitro-Pak Reviewed HERE
BullionVault Reviewed HERE
CHIEF Supply Reviewed HERE
bullet proof vests BulletSafe Reviewed HERE
BUDK Reviewed HERE
Pyramyd Air is your one-stop shop for everything airgun related. Reviewed HERE
Airsoft Megastore Reviewed HERE
Survival Titles Save 20% Paladin Press Reviewed HERE



Prepper Website
  • Bank And Private Vaults Should Focus On Security Issues Post-Hatton Garden Heist, Pre-Financial Crises

    I’m still playing catch up on my offshore-related projects after that late summer break. So I just recently learned the fate of Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, the London private vault that was burglarized over Easter weekend to the tune of £10 million. Jamie Grierson reported on The Guardian (UK) website back on September 1: […] ...
  • War Declared On Gold As Part Of Capital Controls?

    I’ve read/heard a lot about the following lately: Wealth confiscation. The War on Cash. Capital controls. But after reading two articles by Doug Casey and Ted Bauman the other day, I’m wondering if a War on Gold related to capital controls has begun as well. From Doug Casey on his International Man website recently, concerning […] ...
  • Related Reading: Storing Precious Metals In Offshore, Non-Bank Facilities

    I was doing some reading Monday when I came across an article entitled “Your Gold Is Only as Good as Where You Store It” on Doug Casey’s International Man website. Jeff Thomas talked about how those looking to safeguard their wealth against insolvent governments have moved their cash into potentially harder-to-confiscate real estate and precious […] ...
  • Related Reading: Bloomberg Article On Swiss Private Vaults

    A cursory look at material out there in cyberspace that I want to read and eventually discuss on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes unearthed the following on the Bloomberg website. Hugo Miller wrote on September 17: Italians who want to stash their riches out of reach of tax collectors might familiarize themselves with a restaurant on […] ...
  • Thoughts About Bloomberg Article On Swiss Private Vaults

    Anyone get the chance to read that article I mentioned Wednesday? Here are my thoughts about “Italy’s Tax Dodgers Hide in a Swiss Loophole,” penned by Hugo Miller and published on the Bloomberg website on September 17. Miller wrote: One floor above Ristorante Pasta e Ravioli is the office of safe-deposit-box company Gestisafe, whose […] ...