Laundering and Washing FR Clothing-How to Do it Properly
If you work in a profession where fire or other open flame hazards are present, wearing the appropriate protective clothing is vital for your safety. Flame-resistant clothing, also known as “fire-resistant clothing” or “flame retardant garments,” are designed to protect the wearer from a variety of hazards such as fire and extreme heat. This protective clothing offers protection against burns, flash fire, and other hazards, which can be life-threatening. It is vital to maintain this safety clothing properly. This blog post will guide you on how to launder and wash your FR clothing properly.
Why Does your FR Clothing need Special Care?
Flame-resistant clothing is made with special fibres that are specifically engineered for protecting the wearer from exposure to fire. If these fabrics are not cared for properly, they will lose their ability to protect you from a dangerous situation will be reduced and may even fail altogether. Thus, it is important to know how your flame-resistant clothes should be laundered/ washed properly.
Key FR Clothing Laundering Practices
Here are the common laundering practices that will help you properly care for your FR clothing:
Avoid using hard water
Avoid using hard water to wash your FR clothing as it causes minerals like calcium and magnesium to form hard deposits on the fabric, which will eventually become brittle. These minerals are abrasive agents that may weaken seams during washing or wear over time. This can affect the flame-resistant properties of your clothing. Thus, it is advised to use soft water for washing your FR clothes.
Do not use bleach
Bleach can damage the fabric and weaken its resistance to fire. Instead, opt for detergents made specifically for FR clothing. Be sure that they are formulated with ingredients that will break down grease without damaging the garments’ surface or colorfastness.
Avoid high temperature
Washing or drying your FR clothes at high temperatures may decrease their effectiveness. Instead, opt for cold or room temperature washes and drying. This also extends longevity because high temperatures can cause colors and fabrics to fade faster than if you were using a cooler setting on your washing machine.
Do not use Woolite
Woolite is a detergent formulated for washing wool fabrics and contains an enzyme that removes protein from fabric. This may be detrimental to your FR garments because it leaves the fabric unprotected against harmful substances in the environment. If you are choosing to use a detergent, opt for one formulated for synthetic fabrics instead.
Inspect your garment regularly
It is also important to inspect your garment regularly for any damages that may need to be repaired. For instance, if there are holes or frays in the fabric and threads, it needs immediate repair before you start washing to not have a hole grow larger with use. It’s best to take all garments out of service once they are damaged to avoid the risk of them catching fire.
Tips To Wash Your FR Clothing At Home
- Wash the clothing in cold water.
- Use a mild detergent that will not stain fabric colors.
- Clean all areas of your washing machine, including the drum, lid, agitator, and gasket, before starting laundry to remove any residue buildup on these surfaces.
- Fill the wash machine’s drum with cold water and add detergent according to instructions on the box.
- Wash your FR clothes in a Normal/Cotton cycle at any water temperature up to a maximum of 140°F.
- Add clothing to the top rack of your washing machine, but do not place them in a washer bag or pillowcase—this will lead to wrinkles.
- Wash items separately so that they are clean & free from any residue left behind by other clothes.
- Hang dry your clothes or use a drying rack to prevent wrinkles and shrinking.
Knowing how to properly care for & wash/launder your protective clothing will help to ensure your protective workwear lasts longer and protects the way it was meant to protect you!