For those who buy their own workwear, washing is one of the most critical aspect of caring for your FR/Non-FR garment. On the other hand one of the main benefits of renting your uniforms is that the provider washes your flame resistant (FR) clothing for you. In case, if you own your uniforms, then you need to know how to wash your FR clothing. This is critical for extending the longevity of the garments so they continue to keep you safe.
If this is your first experience with FR, then let’s start with the maintenance of these protective garments. These are garments that are worn in areas where a worker is exposed to flame or heat. They are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames, and self-extinguish almost immediately after removal from the original ignition source.
Here’s how to wash your FR garment without damaging its properties;
- Wash separately in Normal cycle and at water temperature up to a maximum of 140ºF (60ºC)
- Use any typical home laundry detergent. Do not use soap (tallow soap containing animal fats)
- Turn garments inside out before wash to reduce streaking from abrasion. Fill the washer no more than 2/3 full and use high water level
- DO NOT use chlorine bleach or liquid non-chlorine bleach
- Do not use starch or fabric softeners as they may coat fibers and mask FR performance and/or serve as fuel in the event of garment ignition
- The use of conditioned or soft water can help improve removal of contaminants from garments. Hard water precipitates soaps and can result in the build-up of calcium and magnesium salts. These can serve as fuel in the event they are exposed to a source of ignition
- It is important that all soils and other contaminants are completely removed from garments during the wash process. This may require the use of stain removal products, such as Shout, Spray ‘n Wash, or Zout; or pre-soaking garments prior to washing. The use of hot water can often make detergents more effective in the removal of soils. If all contaminants cannot be removed in home care, garments should be dry cleaned
- Do not over dry garments. If desired, you may press with an iron on the Permanent Press/Low setting
In case, you are still not sure about the right process to undertake while washing, it is always advised to consult the garment manufacturer for detailed instructions and precautions.