Flame-resistant garments are essential for the safety and protection of wildland firefighters. To ensure that fire-resistant garments maintain optimum effectiveness, it’s important to wash them before every use. However, flame-resistant garments shouldn’t simply be tossed in the washing machine with your regular load. They require specialized cleaning and care. To learn the basics of flame-resistant garment cleaning and care, continue reading.
What cleaning agents to use (and what not to use)
When washing flame-resistant garments, use a mild detergent. The detergent should not contain any hydrogen peroxide, chlorine bleach, liquid nonchlorine bleach, or animal fats because such substances may compromise the flame-resistant properties of the clothing.
Also, you should refrain from using any fabric softeners or starch, which may coat the fibers of the flame-resistant clothing and impede its performance or even serve as fuel for potential garment ignitions. Some detergents with degreases can dissolve adhesive used for hook and look closures, so please beware. The Supply Cache recommends “Citro Squeeze” in particular as it dissolves hydrocarbons but not adhesives.
Washing conditions for flame-resistant garments
Fire-resistant garments should be washed in warm water under either a normal or cotton cycle. The temperature of the water ideally shouldn’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the garment is heavily soiled, wash it in the hottest permittable temperature according to its care label. Typically, the maximum water temperature for washing flame-resistant clothing is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
For optimal cleaning and to reduce wear, wash the flame-resistant clothing in a small wash load with a high water level. Ideally, the load shouldn’t take up more than 2/3 of the washing machine.
Drying flame-resistant garments
Upon washing your flame-resistant clothing, it’s important to dry them properly to avoid damaging them. To safely dry flame-resistant clothing, select low tumble dry on your dryer. The garment should be slightly damp when you remove it from the dryer. Over drying the clothing or drying it on high heat may result in shrinkage.
Before drying your clothing, make sure to check its care label as certain flame-resistant products may need to be hung up to dry instead.
For high-quality flame-resistant garments, check out the extensive inventory at the Supply Cache. Our collection of flame-resistant clothing includes firefighter pants, hoodies, jackets, hats, gloves, and shirts and will provide you with the protection you need in extreme heat or cold weather. For more information regarding our industry-leading products, contact us today.