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Welding Cloth Materials: Advantages and Disadvantages

a welder working

Welding cloth is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that uses fire-resistant and thermally insulating materials to protect welders from metal splatter and high heat. The American Welding Society issued several recommendations regarding welding and cutting protective clothing in May of 2008. Welding apparel, according to Safety and Health Fact Sheet No. 33, should allow for freedom of movement while covering all areas of exposed skin. Long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover the tops of your boots are recommended. The fabric should be heavy cotton or wool with no holes, tears, or frayed edges. Let’s take a look and explore more on the different materials for welding clothing.

person in blue denim jacket

Welding cloth materials include:

The following are the best materials for welding clothing:

Cotton: Cotton welding clothing offers cost-effective protection from flames, sparks, and molten splash. FR cotton has been chemically treated to be heat resistant. Cotton fabric dresses are a lightweight, breathable alternative to leather. For up to 50 washings, the material remains flame resistant.

Leather: Premium heavy side split cow leather is used to make welding leather clothing. Chrome tanned for softness and durability, as well as resistance to heat, sparks, slag, and cuts. All seams are sewn with Kevlar thread and double lock stitched.

Denim: While not ideal for welding, denim is a thick, rugged material that will protect welders in low-volume, low-intensity operations.

Rubber: Rubber is not commonly used in welding jackets or caps, but it is used in welding chaps, boots, and boot covers.

Synthetic Materials: Synthetic materials are dangerous because they melt and cause severe burns to your skin. Sparks and slag will damage cotton clothing, but cotton will simply smolder.


Benefits of Welding Cloth:

  • To protect against UV radiation, hot metal, sparks, and open flames, welding cloth is made of heavyweight, tightly woven 100% wool or cotton. 

  • To protect the neck, wear long-sleeved shirts with buttoned cuffs and a collar. Light is reflected less when dark colors are used.

  • To prevent sparks from entering high top boots, they must be fully laced. 

  • It prevents sparks from bouncing in the top of the boots by wearing fire-resistant boot protectors or spats strapped around the pant legs and boot tops.

  • It protects the wrists and forearms when worn with gauntlet-style cuff leather gloves or protective sleeves of similar material. 

  • If kept dry, leather is an excellent electrical insulator.

  • When standing or sitting, wearing a leather apron protects one’s chest and lap from sparks.

  • For wearing multiple layers of clothing. It keeps you from sweating and keeps you from overdressing in cold weather.

  • To protect your head from burns and UV radiation, wear a fire-resistant skull cap or balaclava hood under your helmet.

  • A welder’s face shield is useful in protecting your face from UV radiation and flying particles.

Welding Cloth Disadvantages

  • Sweaty clothing allows heat to escape quickly.

  • If you are overdressed, leather welding jackets are not very breathable and can cause you to sweat.

  • For wearing synthetic or synthetic blend clothing. The synthetic fabric can burn quickly, melt, and cause severe skin burns.

Welding Cloth Reminders:

  • Maintain clean clothing that is free of oils, greases, and combustible contaminants.

  • Close shirt pockets with tape or keep them covered with flaps to avoid collecting sparks or hot metal.

  • Pant legs must be cuffed and cover the tops of the boots. Sparks can be collected by cuffs.

  • Mend any frayed edges, tears, or holes in your clothing.

  • Remove all ignition sources from your pockets, including matches and butane lighters.

  • Hot welding sparks may ignite leaking lighter fuel or light the matches.

  • Any spark spray should be directed away from your clothing.

  • Wear no rings or other jewelry.

Types Of Welding Clothes Material: What’s the Best?

welder at work

Choosing the best welding clothes material can be quite tricky. They need to be strong enough for protection and good enough for comfort. Welding jackets, welding aprons, and other welding clothing are items for personal protective equipment (PPE) that should definitely be something a welder should invest in. But what is the best material for welding clothing? Let’s get to know each of them and then decide. 


Welding Clothes Material

Most, if not all, items of welding clothing are designed to be durable and should offer a degree of resistance to electricity. That is why we have flame-retardant or FR welding clothing


The most common material used for welding clothing is leather. Some would use a combination of two kinds of fabric like leather and cotton. Let’s get to know each type. 



Leather is very durable. This is created by the tanning of animal hides of either cows or pigs or also some from deer or elk. It has good thermal and burn-resistance properties. This is why most welding jackets and other clothing out there are made out of leather. The only downside is that it dries considerably over time. 


welder at work


This probably isn’t the best way to start this but cotton is flammable. But, if chemically altered it becomes fire resistant as well. The advantage of using cotton for welding clothing is that it’s more flexible than leather but it is not as durable. You can also go for Sateen – a derivative of cotton. It has a softer feel but the same flame resistance. In welding clothing, cotton is usually paired or mixed with nylon fibers. 



If you need a tight-fitting design that is resistant to splatter, a combination of Aramid and Ryon, two synthetic fibers are what you want for your welding clothing. Aramids are usually used as an alternative for asbestos. Rayon fabrics, on the other hand, are comfortable and durable but non-insulating. It’s the aramid that gives that protection.


Carbon Fiber

Carbon fibers are well known for their resistance to high temperatures when combined with graphite. Welding clothing made out of this material goes through certain processes to make the garment softer or less stiff. 


welder at work


Denim is not exactly the best choice when it comes to welding clothes material. But if the kind of welding job you do is low in volume and intensity, it is thick enough to give you that protection you need. 



Rubber is also used in welding clothing like welding jackets or welding aprons but it’s usually used for welding chaps, welding boots, or boot covers. 


These are the types of welding clothes material. To answer the question “What’s best?,” it boils down to the type of welding job you do and how exposed you are to welding spatter and other hazards. If you’re looking for protection with the comfort of movement, you can use leather and cotton welding clothing. If it’s just welding a small piece of metal at home, you can use denim. The important thing is you know the type of welding clothes material and what type of protection they provide. So the next time you buy that next welding clothing, you are wiser and smarter!