Uniform Care

Uniforms are required to fit properly, be kept clean and well pressed, and worn according to regulations. The following information is provided to assist you in maintaining your uniforms.


Uniform items should be pressed with an ordinary iron at a setting that is proper for the material (usually low heat). The black coats, shirts, skirts, and pants must be pressed with a press cloth in order to avoid a permanent shine. A press cloth is a lint-free cloth that is placed between the garment and the iron. Brown paper, such as from a grocery sack can be used in place of the cloth if it is sprinkled lightly with water. There are no special creases required in NJROTC uniforms although the drill teams may require military press in shirts used for competitions.


In general, following the instructions on the label when washing uniform items. Khaki uniforms and white shirts can be washed with normal clothing of the same type. White shirts should be bleached with non-chlorine bleach such as Clorox II. Chlorine bleaches will cause the shirts to turn gray and should not be used. Black uniform items, if washable at all, must be washed on gentle cycle or by hand in cool or cold water, and in mild detergent. These dark items may be dried on low heat and perm-press setting but should be removed before the end of the cycle. Press as above.

Dry Cleaning

Any commercial dry cleaner may be used for NJROTC uniforms.

Black Trousers / Skirts / Slacks

Even though these items are marked Dry Clean Only, they may be washed if care is used. Frequent washing will cause these items to fade, so spot cleaning with a damp cloth to reduce washing frequency is suggested.


The only reliable way of getting a dirty white hat clean is washing by hand in warm or hot water using laundry soap and bleach and utilizing a stiff brush on a heavy soiled cover should be spread out flat to dry and may need to be ironed. Girl’s white covers can be ironed more easily if placed over a full toilet tissue roll and fill out their shape.

Rain Coat

Wipe dirt off with a damp rag. Do not machine wash or dry clean.

Service Dress Coat

(Dress coat with metal buttons) The item must be professionally dry cleaned. With care, this cleaning may need to be done only once per year as this uniform is seldom worn to school. Proper spot cleaning and pressing will reduce the need to take it to the cleaners. Do not attempt to wash this uniform coat in the washer or by hand.


The black uniform shoes must be shined to a high gloss, using black paste wax. Do not use liquid shoe polish as it will eventually crack and you will then be required to remove it completely. The polish normally comes in a small tin and is applied with an applicator or, better, a soft cloth such as an old T-shirt. A small amount of polish is rubbed into the leather and then buffed lightly. This must be repeated many times on new shoes. Other cadets can help you with this. After the upper part of the shoe is polished, you should take and old tooth brush dipped lightly in shoe polish and go around the exposed part of the shoe sole to blacken it and to get rid of dust in the indentations.


Only solid brass items such as the belt buckle should be polished. Do not polish NJROTC bars, rank insignia, or uniform buttons, etc.; these are plated and will be ruined by metal polish. Clean them with soap and water if necessary. The brass belt buckle must be polished when it becomes scratched or corroded. Brasso or similar product will work after and clear coating has been removed. Removing the coating from a new buckle can be accompanied by soaking it in household ammonia for several minutes. The coating should then peel off easily.