How to Launder USMC Dress Blues & White Cover

Tanya Gulliver

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) prescribes the proper use and care of uniforms. Dress blues are worn on formal or special occasions. As of January 2008, newly enlisted marines receive a dress blue uniform.

Marine uniforms must be maintained in perfect condition.

Marines previously enlisted began receiving an increase to their clothing allowance in October 2007 and will have sufficient funds to purchase their dress blues by October 2011 when it becomes mandatory. Since the uniforms are costly, proper care and cleaning is required. Marines are mandated to have their uniform ready to wear and must meet specific standards for inspections. Some pieces of the uniform can be cleaned at home, while others require dry cleaning.


  1. Dry clean your dress blues. Find a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning military uniforms. There are usually a couple near each base.

  2. Purchase a vinyl topper for your cover -- hat. Remove and clean with soap and water. Dry with a cloth or paper towel. If your cover gets dirty, take it to the dry cleaner.

  3. Remove brass fittings from your belt. Apply a small amount of brass polish to a clean, soft cloth and rub onto the fittings. Polish until shiny. Wipe away any excess cleaner.

  4. Wash your belt in a washing machine on a gentle cycle. Use a lingerie bag, if possible. Avoid using bleach or washing with any fabric that might run. Belts are quite cheap and it is often easier to replace than clean, if it is badly stained.


  1. Store your dress blues in a plastic dry cleaner bag -- or other garment bag -- in a closet, when not wearing them. Use a lint roller between uses.

  2. Place your cover in a hat box and store on the top shelf of the closet or in another area where it will not get squished or soiled.

  3. Keep ribbons, medals and belts in a drawer. Lie them as flat as possible. Store the backing for your ribbon pins with the ribbons to avoid losing it.