Some detergents a hazard for ABUs
By Compiled from staff reports, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 04, 2007
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Laundry additives known as "optical brighteners" should not be used for washing the Airman Battle Uniform.
Laundry instructions for ABUs specify not using any laundry detergents that contain optical brighteners.
Optical Brighteners make the ABU more detectable by night vision equipment and make the ABU more visible in a low-light environment of any kind, by reflecting more of any available light.
Optical brighteners are chemicals that absorb the ultraviolet and violet region of colors in a fabric. They trick the eye into seeing a brighter shade and reflect more light.
Near Infrared (nIR) capability of the ABU is degraded when washed with detergents containing optical brighteners. Because most commercial detergents contain optical brighteners, there is generally no indication on the packaging.
The impact of optical brighteners is permanent, it cannot be washed out.
Laundry detergents that do not contain optical brighteners:
Cheer Liquid (all versions)
Cheer Powder (all versions)
All Powder (all versions)
Surf Powder (all versions)
All Detergent Free Clear Country Save Liquid Detergent
Allen's Naturally Laundry Detergent (liquid and powder)
Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Detergent (liquid and powder)
Charlie's Soap (liquid and powder)
ECOS Free and Clear Laundry Detergent
Mountain Green Liquid Laundry Detergent
Nature Clean (liquid and powder)
Ecover Ecological Liquid Detergent
Oxy-Prime Powdered Laundry Detergent
Planet Ultra laundry detergents
Seventh Generation Laundry detergents
SportwashSun and Earth LiquidSurf Powder (not Surf Liquid)
Woolite, original and dark.
*No federal endorsement of products intended.