Wearing clothing that will not catch fire is very important in a lot of industries and for a number of activities. Fire resistant clothing has become a “must wear” for a lot of workers in the United States today. The problem now becomes, not getting people to wear the right gear but showing them how to take care of it. While there are people who insist that flame resistant apparel needs to be washed only by special services, there are things people can do at home to keep their items from the fire resistant clothing store in good shape.
- It is important to understand why such care needs to be taken with this kind of clothing. Fire resistant clothing is not like other kinds of apparel such as mens outdoor style clothing or womens casual clothing. If it is washed the wrong way, the fire resistant components of the apparel can be compromised. Here are a few things you can do at home to clean your fire resistant clothing:
- Soften up the water. When there are a lot of minerals in water, such as magnesium and calcium salts, it is called “hard.” These substances have a way of adhering to fire resistant clothing fabrics. There are two things that can happen when these materials glom on. The fabric can become more succeptible to catching fire or the properties that make it fire resistant can be diminished. If the water is softer and has a lower mineral content, you can avoid these problems altogether.
- Use cooler temperatures. It is often tempting to throw really dirty clothing in the hottest water possible to get rid of all of the sweat and grime. Doing this can also rid the clothing of the protection they offer against fire. When washing, never use water that is over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use a dryer, the clothing items themselves should never be allowed to get hotter than 280 degrees Fahrenheit. To get more success, it is advisable to use the medium dryer setting and then take advantage of the cool down cycle. Remember hot water and air can shrink your fire resistant clothing just as they would other garments so be careful here. Drying these items on a line is also a good option.
- Keep an eye on your clothing items. The best way you can keep your fire resistant clothing in good shape is to keep an eye on it. Like bulletproof vests, this kins of apparel will only be helpful for you if you keep it properly cleaned and maintained. Once you have lost the integrity of the fabric, you cannot get it back. Do an examination of your clothing after each and every wash to make sure it is still in the shape it needs to be in to keep you safe.
- Deal with stains right away. When your clothing becomes stained, you can deal with it right away with stain removers from the store. Products such as Zout, Spray N’ Wash, and Shout can work wonders on stains on just about every kind of piece of clothing.
- Do not use bleach. Bleach can be spectacular at getting your whites as white as you want them to be but can do a lot of damage to fire resistant fabric. It is a very caustic substance. You should use regular detergent and skip the fabric softener or starch. These products can also interfere with the fire resistant qualities of the fabric and destroy its integrity.
- If your garments become torn, you should replace them. Granted, if you have super tiny tear, you can probably patch it up but once you have real tears, it is time to just replace it. Frayed edges, threadbare sections can be indications that your piece of clothing has reached the end of its natural life and it is time to let it go.
Getting the right fire resistant clothing can make a huge difference in keeping you safe at work. That is only half the battle as if you do not properly maintain it, it will do you no good at all. These tips will keep your gear in good shape.