As welders, Flame-Retardant FR clothing is a standard PPE. Every layer of welding protection is a must since fire and heat is a thing we deal with on a daily basis. By this time, you may already have invested in FR welding jackets, FR welding shirts, or FR welding pants. With daily use, they may now have seen a bit of wear and tear. The question is, have you been washing them the right way? Remember, for FR clothing to work properly, they need to be well maintained. Here’s how to properly wash FR clothing.
Before we move on, you should know the difference between flame retardant welding clothing and flame resistant welding clothing. Flame retardant clothing only has a coat of fire-resistant material while fire-resistant clothing is literally made of resistant material. Whichever type you have, you could use this process for proper upkeep.
How to Wash FR Clothing
Wash FR clothing separately in a Cotton or Normal cycle at any water temperature (maximum of 140ºF or 60ºC) and tumble dry on low. Use a liquid detergent and make sure you turn the FR clothing inside out before you wash to reduce streaking from abrasion. Also, make sure that all soils or stains are removed from the garments before the wash process.
Here are the things that you need to take note of in washing FR clothing:
- Do not use soap (tallow soap with animal fats) and fabric softeners. These can leave a flammable coating which can be dangerous.
- Do not use chlorine bleach or liquid non-chlorine bleach. This can reduce the level of flame resistance.
- Do not use starches, peroxides, or vinegar
- Do not use hard water. This can deposit small packets of magnesium and calcium which are flammable.
FR clothing usually lasts for 5 years. Some rare FR gear would even last 20 years. Most lose their effectiveness after 25-50 wash cycles. FR clothing have specific laundering instruction and requirements and it’s important you check the label and follow manufacturer recommendations. This will guarantee a longer lifespan. Remember, FR clothing cannot wear out its FR properties easily unless the fabric is mishandled in some way.