Skip to content

3 Tips on How to Wash FR Clothing and its Useful Wear Life

OSHA 1910.269 Laundering Resource Guide

This blog post is the first of a 3-part series. Later in September, we will also cover how to wash FR clothing with fabric softener and lint contamination, or when non-FR garments are washed with FRC.

We often get questions on best practices regarding how to wash FR clothing and its useful wear life. Wearing FR clothing with stains or holes, or that’s worn thin can be dangerous to the wearer. Below are three tips on caring for your FRC.

1. How to Wash FR Clothing

Home laundering is a safe, cost-effective alternative to industrial laundering and can help preserve the useful life and protective qualities of FR clothing.

Tyndale has worked with Proctor and Gamble to select the best detergent to wash your FRC. The flame resistant properties of FR clothing that Tyndale offers cannot be washed out over time if the washing instructions are followed. Liquid Tide (for top-loading machines) or Liquid Tide HE (for front-loading machines) offer the best cleaning performance.

For heavily soiled garments, wash FR clothing in the hottest temperature allowed on the care label (generally warm setting) to remove dirt. FR garments may be dry cleaned at any time.

2. Minimizing Shrinkage

While some FR fabrics shrink more than others, there are several tactics you can use to give your FRC the longest possible life.

Most FRC includes cotton, which shrinks when it’s washed. Flame resistant fabrics, like many non-FR fabrics, are susceptible to shrinkage no matter what company makes the fabric or manufactures the garment. Tyndale manufactures all garments to help accommodate future shrinkage.

It’s important to note that two-thirds of a garment’s shrinkage takes place within the first five washings. Tyndale recommends laundering garments at a “warm” temperature. Once you are happy with the way your garment fits, you can retain its size, like any other garment, by line drying it instead of using a dryer. If using a dryer is necessary, remove the garment from the dryer while it is still damp. Drying a garment on high heat could cause excessive shrinkage. The most shrinkage occurs at the very end of an over-dry setting.

3. Useful Wear Life

Do you know when it’s time to retire an FR garment from service? If any of these wear indicators appear, stop wearing the garment to minimize possibility of injury. First and foremost, be sure to adhere to your company’s safety policy.

Tyndale recommends removing clothing from service if the garment:

  • Is torn, ripped, threadbare or frayed around the edges (see images below).

how to wash FR clothing

  • Is stained with a flammable substance that cannot be removed through laundering (see image on right above). If exposed to flame or electric arc, flammable soil could ignite and continue to burn – even though the garment itself won’t burn.
  • Has had contact with bleach.
  • Has a frayed collar, frayed cuffs or torn, open or frayed seams (see images below).

how to wash FR clothing

Repairs of flame, thermal, and arc resistant clothing should be made from components equivalent to those used in the original manufacturing to avoid reducing the performance properties of the flame resistant garment. Garments that have irreparable damage, are worn out, or are unusable for other safety reasons, are not to be reused and should be discarded.

Knowing how to wash FR clothing properly will ensure that your safety apparel lasts as long as it should and will protect the way it is meant to. Along with that, recognizing when your FRC needs to be repaired or replaced is important for your safety on the job.

Did you know that Tyndale offers complimentary repair kits? When placing your order, simply request one and we’ll include it with your order at no charge!

For more information on Care and Maintenance of FR Clothing, please see ASTM F2757, Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lori Evans #

    Looking to purchase Tyndale Carperter/Utility ARC RATED FR Denim jeans size 38×30
    How – Where Can this be done?
    My residence is in Oakland County, Highland Michigan 48356

    November 5, 2015
    • Hi Lori, Thanks for reaching out! If your company has a managed program with Tyndale, you can shop by logging in at http://www.TyndaleUSA.com. If you do not have a company account, you can shop for Tyndale’s USA-made arc-rated flame resistant clothing at TyndaleFRC.TyndaleUSA.com; all items displayed on this site are in-stock for prompt delivery. Have a safe day!

      November 18, 2015
  2. Tracie #

    I use lavender essential oil with wool dryer balls to replace dryer sheets and fabric softener. Is this safe care for FR clothing? Will it reduce the FR properties in the clothing?

    Thank you.

    December 13, 2016
    • Hi Tracie,
      Thanks for contacting us. Many essential oils are flammable, and Lavender is among them. It is a class 3 flammable liquid, and has a very low flash point so it could ignite and contribute to injury in the event of an arc flash or flash fire. As a result, lavender oil should not be used with arc-rated/flame resistant clothing. Generally, we recommend against using fabric softeners; if you are washing cotton or cotton rich fabrics, fabric softeners can actually have a negative impact on comfort and we recommend avoiding altogether. If you are washing synthetic or synthetic rich fabrics and feel softener is necessary, be careful to select a nonflammable softener such as those designed for baby clothing.

      December 13, 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: