PROPER LAUNDERING CAN SAVE LIVES
Flame Resistant garments can be washed and dried by any conventional home method, followed by hand ironing if necessary. No special technology is needed. However, home procedures may not remove the last traces of very heavy, widespread or ground in soils, which may be flammable and could adversely affect the thermal protective performance of garments. If home laundering does not remove such build up, garments can be periodically dry cleaned or commercially laundered. The following guidelines can help provide optimum cleaning:
Flame resistant garments should be sorted and washed separately from other garments to prevent contamination with lint or flammable fibers.
Stains should be pretreated at the earliest opportunity. The stained areas should be rubbed with a full strength, heavy duty liquid detergent or any off the shelf laundry pretreatment product.
Before laundering flame resistant garments, pockets should be emptied, pant cuffs cleaned out, and zippers closed.
When laundering flame resistant garments, it is important not to overload the machine. To ensure a cleaner wash and avoid setting wash wrinkles, the load size must permit clothes to move freely through the wash water and rinse cycle.
WASH WATER TEMP
Moderate soil levels may be removed adequately at normal wash water temperature settings. Heavily soiled and stained garments require a higher wash temperature setting.
Synthetic, heavy duty liquid laundry detergents are recommended for washing. These products do a superior job of removing soils and are less likely than soap to form sticky deposits of lime soap curds, which are difficult to rinse out. Fatty based soaps should not be used. Under use of detergent results in poor soil removal and frequently causes suspended soils to redeposit on the clothes. Failure to use a sufficient amount of detergent is the single greatest cause of inadequate home cleaning.
For best results, an adequate supply of “soft” water is required for home laundering flame resistant garments.”Hard” water contains minerals, such as calcium and magnesium salts, that combine with fatty based soaps to forminsoluble films. These insoluble contaminants are difficult to rinse from fabrics, may be flammable and could adversely affect the thermal protective performance of garments if not adequately removed. Soap is not recommended, but if it is used in hard wash water (more than approximately 7 grains per gallon or 120 parts per million), a non-precipitating type water conditioner should be added. Softening the water reduces soap consumption and improves the quality of washing.
Chlorine bleach should not be used. Although chlorine bleach will not affect the Inherent A fiber flame resistance of the material, it may cause strength and color loss in garments over time. Chlorine bleach based products could deteriorate performance of Inherent B and chemically treated flame resistant products.
Hydrogen peroxide and chlorine bleach will degrade flame resistant properties over time in Inherent B and chemically treated FR garments.
FABRIC SOFTENER / ANTI-STATS
Liquid fabric softeners and dryer softener sheets are NOT recommended for use with any Flame Resistant garments. Using a fabric softener will not alter the properties of the FR garment; however, it will coat the fiber and “mask” the FR performance of the garment. Additionally, many fabric softeners contain chemicals that are flammable.
To minimize wrinkles, tumble dryers should not be overloaded. Drying time varies with the nature and size of the load.
If flame resistant garments need touch up pressing, a steam or dry iron may be used at the medium setting.
There are times when greases and oils cannot be adequately removed during home or commercial laundering. Flame resistant garments can be satisfactorily dry cleaned in any conventional commercial dry cleaning system. With heavily soiled garments, using a two bath cycle may improve soil removal and minimize redeposition. Flame resistant garments should be cleaned separately from articles of other materials to avoid contamination with lint of flammable fibers. The practice of maintaining a clean solvent supply must be observed.
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