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How to Clean a Welder’s Work Clothes

welder working in a workshop

Welding is a satisfying yet messy job. There are welding splatters all over and it’s done in a pretty messy environment. It could be in construction at one point where dust is everywhere or it could be in a workshop or factory where there’s grease all around, or it might be in a mining area where you get coal dirt all over your work clothes. The point is, at the end of the day, you are left with welding jackets, welding aprons, and clothes that need a whole lot of cleaning. 


If you live with a welder – a wife, husband, son, brother, or sister – or you’re a welder yourself, you’re probably asking yourself how you could best clean a welder’s clothes. For all you know, you’ve been doing it wrong, which might be why your welding clothes haven’t lasted that long. To know for sure, here are some answers to some questions you might have about how to clean a welder’s clothes.


Before we answer any of these questions, “clothes” in this context would be anything worn by a welder that isn’t made out of leather. You need to remember that leather welding clothing like a leather welding jacket cannot be machine washed. You will only need a damp cloth and some soap to get the job done. That being said, let’s get to it.

How to clean a Welder’s Work Clothes: What you need to know

How do you get welding dust/coal dirt out of work clothes?

The best way to get welding dust or coal dirt out of a welder’s clothes is to pour ¾ cups of white distilled vinegar into a bucket. To that, you add ½ cup of laundry detergent and a gallon of warm water. Stir the solution and when ready, submerge the coal-stained work clothes, rub the solution on the coal stains, and soak for around 30 minutes. Rinse the clothes with warm water and launder them with detergent and oxygen bleach. If after drying them and you see more coal staging, treat it by sponging it with alcohol. Wash them again and leave them to dry. Coal dirt can be stubborn. If you don’t handle it well, it could be more difficult to clean.

How do you clean heavily soiled/heavily stained work clothes?

Heavily soiled work clothes or heavily stained work clothes can be difficult to clean and Denise Jordan, a cleaning expert, shares a very specific and effective way to handle these stains. This would work great for heavily soiled or heavily stained jeans. 


The first thing to do is to treat the stain with a stain remover. This could be a mixture of equal parts of vinegar, degreaser, and water. Scrub that solution with a brush on the stained area and soak it for 2-3 hours. But, if heavily soiled, you can soak them overnight. If you have just a few pieces of clothing, you can use a bucket. 


dirty welders clothes


After soaking, you can throw the work clothes in your washer and do a pre-wash before a soak cycle. After this, you need to do a complete cycle using only vinegar in the detergent bin. Once that cycle is done, you need to wash the clothes with detergent and then put vinegar in the fabric softener cycle. This will make work clothes softer and will also help remove unwanted odor. Once the cycle is done, make sure you put them in the dryer. 


How to get grease stains out of clothes that have been dried

Finding grease stains on work clothes that have been washed and dried can be frustrating. But not to worry, there’s an effective way to deal with that. All you need is a dish detergent and scrub or toothbrush. 


What you need to do is to dampen the grease stain with water then cover it with liquid dish detergent. You could also use bar soap or shampoo. Use the scrub to get the detergent into the stain then rise the detergent with water. Wash the clothes with laundry detergent at the hottest water temperature possible (according to your clothings’ label). Once that cycle is done, allow air-drying. You want to make sure that the stain is removed before putting it in the dryer. If you still have that stain, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone. 


welder at work


If the grease stain is still there, you can proceed to use a WD-40, baking soda, a piece of cardboard, dish detergent, and a scrub. 


Put the piece of cardboard under the stain. Carefully spray a little WD-40 and sprinkle a generous among of baking soda. Rub that baking soda well into the stain with a brush. After that, pour the dish detergent and let it sit for a good 30 minutes. Then, wash as usual and air dry. Repeat the process if the stain is still there. If it’s gone, wash as usual.

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