If you work around certain types of chemicals in the construction or manufacturing industry, you may be required to wear flame-resistant clothing to work for personal protection. Although most flame-resistant clothing items look the same as their non-treated counterparts, you'll need to care for them in a slightly different way.
Fire-resistant clothes are made with special types of fibers that are made to swell to form a protective barrier between the skin and high heat. Since the garments' fire protection qualities are embedded within the fabric, they can't be washed away, but some things may compromise their effectiveness.
Here are the best ways to care for your flame-resistant clothing:
1. Always wash your fire-resistant garments separately to protect their luminescent effect. Avoid mixing them with other types of fabrics, which may require different washing techniques.
2. Launder the garments in soft water if possible. Hard water may leave mineral deposits on the fire-resistant clothing, which may build up over time and hinder their effectiveness against flames. The minerals may also even cause the garments to ignite when exposed to high heat or fire.
3. Although you don't have to use a special type of laundry detergent on the flame-resistant clothes, avoid using soap that contains fabric softener. Fabric softener may also build up on clothing over time, and the chemicals may act as fuel when in contact with fire. Avoid using dryer sheets as well, since they contain chemicals that may coat the fabric in the same way.
4. While there is no specific water temperature that you need to wash the fabric in, follow the recommendations on the garments' care labels. If the water temperature is too high, flame-resistant clothing may shrink like regular garments. Drying the clothes in on your dryer's normal heat setting is fine as well.
5. Avoid using bleach to clean the fire-resistant garments, as the chemical can break down and damage the special fibers. Make sure that any laundry detergent that you use doesn't contain bleach in its formula. Another product to avoid using is starch, which is a propellant that can cause the fabric to burn if exposed to flames.
6. Flame-retardant items can also be dry-cleaned as needed. You can also use a regular clothing iron to remove any wrinkles from the fabric. If you need to remove any stains in the fabric, you can use regular stain removers, such as stains or sticks.
If you need to purchase new flame-resistant clothing to replace ones that have been compromised in the wash, check out a company like Oil & Gas Safety Supply.