Flame Resistant Uniforms: Laundry Dos and Don’ts
Outfitting your crew with flame resistant workwear is one of the best things you can do to ensure their safety. However, simply supplying the uniforms isn’t always enough–workwear needs to be laundered regularly, so you will want to make sure that your crew is offered a laundry service, or is aware of the proper procedures for home washing. With a variety of different flame resistant fabrics and uniforms on the market, the laundering and care instructions can vary from uniform to uniform. However, there are a few rules that all flame resistant workwear can agree upon. Let’s look at the “don’ts” and then we’ll look at the “dos.”
There are few things to remember when laundering flame resistant workwear. While it’s great that you have chosen to provide safer clothing for yourself and your crew on the job, the flame resistant properties of the garment can be hindered by certain things. So, follow this little list to make sure that your FR garments stay FR, and keep you protected.
Don’t ever use Bleach. Don’t use straight Bleach, and don’t even use the detergents with added bleach, like “Tide with Bleach.” Bleach can disable the flame resistant properties of the garment, which means that you are not as protected on the job as you should be. Don’t use detergents that contain animal fats. Why? Animal fats are flammable, so you definitely don’t want that all over your clothing when working in areas at a high risk for flash fires and electrical arcs. How can you find out if your detergent contains animal fat? Check the ingredients. If tallow is listed, you can consider that animal fat, and you should look for a different detergent. Fortunately, most modern detergents are not made with tallow. Don’t use dryer sheets, or fabric softeners. Both of these items are considered flammable, and can put you at risk by tampering with the flame resistant properties of your FR garments. You should never spray Deet directly on your FR garments. It is a highly flammable substance and, if it must be worn, it should be applied directly to your skin.
Flame resistant garments have the responsibility of helping save your life in the event of a flash fire. Do these things to ensure that your FR garments can do their job. Consider a laundry service, rather than home wash. Industrial wash is a great way to ensure that all the garments are being laundered as per the manufacturers instructions. In this case, Bulwark gives specific instructions on how to properly launder their workwear. Having an industrial laundry service care for the garments takes out the guesswork. If homewash is unavoidable, garments should be washed inside out, and separately from other household laundry. Read the care instructions on the label carefully before washing. Remember the “don’t” list from above. Dry cleaning can also be an option.
Providing flame resistant workwear for you and your crew is one of the best things you can do to promote on the job safety. Launder FR garments carefully, according to the care instructions. Follow the dos and don’ts, and your FR clothing can help protect you. Check out our website for more detailed information.