We've tried it all. The professional product from Galls. Other professional products as well, and for everyday freshening, those work fine, but we are dealing with a whole other level of stank here.
After much experimenting I came up with this concoction and for us, it works. It won't hurt the vest and it removes all 3am questioning about the zombie road kill which came back to life long enough to take up residence in your master closet. So, if you've tried it all and still have stank... feel free to try this de-funking solution.
3 Cups VERY HOT water
1 Cup Vinegar (plain, household vinegar)
Febreze Sport (get several, you'll need it)
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (In the boxes made specifically for the freezer)
Big plastic tub/bin with lid (large enough to store the vest inside easily)
Remove the outer liner from the vest (the carrier)
Remove the strike plates (take this time to check your expiration date, write it down somewhere safe before it washes off your vest. A vest expires 5 years from the issue date).
Mix the vinegar and the hot water in a bowl.
Soak the carrier in the mixture for about 10 minutes.
Take a sponge soaked in the solution and wipe down the inner (inside and out), especially the arm holes. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Rinse the carrier in cool clean water for about 5-10 minutes.
Take a clean sponge and wipe down the inner with cool, clean water, several times.
Pour enough Febreze Sport into a bowl to soak the carrier in (that's right, use it like you mean it, lid off, dump it). Soak the carrier in Febreze Sport for at least 10 minutes.
Spray the inner with Febreze, inside and out.
Rinse the carrier with clean water.
Wipe down the inner with clean water (all this clean water is to prevent any deterioration of the vest or liner).
Hang each on a plastic hanger (NO WIRE HANGERS.....EVERRRRR!) (If you're too young, you won't get that Mommy Dearest reference).
I hang his in the shower on the rod.
Put a big ol' box fan on those puppies and let them air dry for at least 4-8 hours (obviously we're doing this on an off day... because who's home for 8 hours, right?)
When completely dry (COMPLETELY) Place both carrier and inner inside a plastic tub with 3-4 boxes of Arm and Hammer Baking soda and close the lid. Store until next shift.
For every day refreshing, we use Febreze Sport on the carrier.
I do recommend the professional cleaners you can find at Galls, etc.. they are safe and effective. http://www.galls.com/style.html?assort=general_catalog&
FOR THE UNDER ARM ROAD RASH - GOLD BOND'S ANTI CHAFFING STICK works wonders
FOR WHEN IT'S TOO LATE AND YOU ALREADY HAVE THE RASH - AQUAFOR is great!
NEVER DRY A VEST IN THE SUN - it will deteriorate faster
NEVER CLEAN A VEST WITH THE STRIKE PLATES IN.... water + metal = no bueno.
Here's to a rash free, stank-less, funky free, SAFE summer!! WEAR YOUR VEST!~Mel ©TPWL