Maintaining, Inspecting, And Cleaning Your Life Vest Or PFD

Maintaining, Inspecting, And Cleaning Your Life Vest Or PFD

There are several reasons why you may wish to wear a life vest (also known as a personal flotation device or PFD). You will find that these vests are the go-to option for people who can’t swim but would still like to partake in water-based activities, such as boating, rowing, or other, similar pursuits.

A life vest provides buoyancy, as it is made out of materials that are less dense than water and are therefore able to float. There are many materials out of which a life vest can be made, and they each have their pros and cons. In this article, we are going to look at how you can maintain your lifejackets.

A life vest provides buoyancy

We will also offer cleaning tips such as how to clean neoprene, a prevalent material for the construction of certain types of life vests.

Importance Of Maintaining Your Life Vests

You may be wondering why we need to write a whole article about the cleaning and inspection of life vests. You will find that it is highly important to keep your life vests well-maintained if you want to be able to use them. A life jacket is not just any product; it is something which you will be trusting with your life.

If you are going to put your life in the hands of a product, then you will have to make sure that product functions correctly. The inspection and maintenance process which you will put your life vest through will make it so that you can rest assured of that with little issue.

It is also important to clean off your life jackets after they have been used, especially if you use them in salt water or chlorinated water. These two water types will do a good deal of damage to life vests if they are left uncleaned after they have been used in them.

What Is The Best Way To Check The Buoyancy Of Your PFD

Depending on the type of life vest that you are using, you will find that there are several methods to check if they can still float effectively. If you are using a life vest with integral buoyancy, such as models which are made out of a combination of nylon and foam, for the exterior and interior, respectively, the process will differ.


For foam life vests, you will find that it is as easy as putting the jacket on and ensuring that it is properly fastened and buckled before walking into a shallow body of water. When the water is up to about your chest or your neck, all you have to do is try and float without the help of your feet and without treading water.

If your life vest keeps your head above the water while you do this test, you can rest assured that it works well enough to be used in an emergency. Inflatable life vests tend to feature a similar process for testing, but you must ensure that you inflate the device before you test it out, unlike models with integral buoyancy.

When Should You Discard A PFD

You may be wondering how you will know that the time has come to get rid of your life vest. There are several reasons why you may wish to do so, but the most common one is because it no longer floats effectively. This will result in your life vest being almost useless, as its primary purpose is to keep you afloat.

Discard A PFD

You will also want to discard your life vest when the straps or other fasteners start to fray. You do not want the straps to snap while you are wearing the life vest, as this can endanger your life. Be sure to keep an eye on the integrity of your life jacket before you decide to trust it with your life.

How To Clean Life Jackets

You may also be wondering how to wash a jacket. As we stated earlier, you will find that leaving a life jacket unwashed will tend to diminish its longevity measurably, especially if it is left with salt water still coating it. You will find that salt water is highly corrosive, and it can eat away at some life jackets.

There is another reason besides salt water corrosion to clean your life jackets, and you will find that this is not exclusive to one type of water. Life jackets which are left wet can end up growing mold, which will make them smell and will compromise their integrity, among other unfortunate things.

Washing off your life jacket can be simple enough. You will have to wash off the exterior surface of the vest gently. If you are using soap, be sure not to use too much. Make sure that you don't press against the life vest too hard as you are washing it since this could end up damaging it.

Cleaning the life jacket.

If you only want to rinse off your life vest, it will be easier for you to simply make use of a garden hose and to place your life vest somewhere with adequate drainage. Places that you can wash your life vest will include a bathtub, your lawn, the beach, or any place where excess water can be drained away.

Drying off your life jacket after it has been washed is another important part of ensuring that it remains unaffected by mold and does not retain any unpleasant smells. Read the label of your life vest to see if it is dryer safe. If it is not, you may choose to dry it in the sun on a clothesline.


If you are looking to ensure that your life jacket works, all you have to do is follow the testing and maintenance processes that we have outlined in this article. There are few better ways to ensure that you remain safe in the water than when you are using a life vest.

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