Cotton, a synthetic material made out of natural fibers, is a soft, lightweight, and breathable material that is widely used in clothing all around the world. Cotton is used to make men’s and ladies’ garments and is also commonly used as a lining fabric. It is also strong and can’t be torn easily.
Cotton can also be dyed very easily and can stand up against abrasion. This non-toxic fiber is bio-degradable and is excellent at wicking. It is low maintenance, odor-free, and naturally sustainable, which is why it is a really popular material to be used in fabrics.
After the plethora of properties and benefits of cotton, we will now move on to answer the question: Is cotton a good material for welding gear? can welders wear cotton? Is 100% cotton good for welding? Can welder gear be made using cotton?
To answer that, first, we will see what do welders need to wear, and then we will dig deeper into the details of cotton and is it/ or is it not good for welders.
Is 100% Cotton Good for Welding?
Welding Gear was developed to shield welders’ bodies from damage brought on by the intense heat generated by melting metals, as well as by the corrosive materials, flames, and sparks that are released during the process. While some welding techniques involve melting metals, others entail melting electrodes. It goes without saying that melting these materials requires a lot of heat and other equipment, putting welders’ lives in danger or, at the very least, harming their skin.
The ideal welding equipment to use is completely dependent on the working circumstances of the welder. The welder will need exceptionally layered and cushioned equipment, which will prevent the welder’s hands and face from being exposed to the heat if he works in an area where there is an extraordinary accumulation of heat. There are several differences in welding gear available in stores, with different designs, styles, and sizes.
Welders should stay far away from flammable clothing that catches fire on even contacting a spark. Numerous materials like polyester ignite fast when they come in contact with flames. Welders can’t just wake up and pick up their favorite shirt from the closet to wear. They have to choose a non-toxic and flame-resistant shirt so the welder’s safety is not compromised. Welders should wear stuff that is designed to self-extinguish sparks. These self-extinguishing shirts are treated with a chemical that gives them the property to remain unreactive with flames.
Now.. answering the question, is 100% cotton good and recommended for welders to wear? The answer is yes, and that is because cotton is completely safe, flame-resistant, and very simple to extinguish. However, you will have to make sure that the cotton is treated to be flame retardant to be completely sure if it is perfectly right for you to wear cotton during welding.
However, one thing you should note is that it is not like cotton does not catch fire at all. The fact is that it DOES catch fire, but it is easily extinguished, and if it is not, then the fire doesn’t spread speedily all over the cloth. So, a welding jacket that is made up of cotton can be used by a worker to avoid flames and sparks when the welder is in a mildly heated-up environment.
Cotton itself is very good at resisting flames. Even if it does catch fire, it can be extinguished by patting the fabric. To make cotton completely resistant to fire, it is treated with a variety of chemicals that boost its heat resistance and increase its protective qualities. This treated cotton is perfect for offering maximum protection to the welder; thus, this treated cotton is called flame-resistant cotton! Thus 100% cotton is treated to become good for welding.
Welding shirts made with cotton are the best for welders. Here is a small checklist that you should check before buying a welding shirt!
Checklist of Must-Have Features of a Cotton Welding Shirt
- Firstly, the fabric that the shirt is made up of must be chemically treated. Just like we discussed cotton, that it is not completely inflammable itself; rather, it is gone through chemical treatments to enhance its abilities in order to make it a better shield for welders.
- Secondly, the collar of the shirt should be long enough to cover the neck of the welder. The whole coverage of the neck is mandatory to prevent the neck from being damaged by sparks that may accidentally sweep through and hit the area around the neck.
- The fit of the shirt should be loose but not loose enough that it lets sparks and flames enter. A slightly loose fit is mandatory to allow easy movement of the welder. Tight clothing will make it hard for the welder to bend and stretch.
- The thread of the shirt should be made with Nomex, a fire-retardant thread. This is to ensure that everything in the shirt is flame resistant!
- An obvious point; the sleeves should be full of the shirt. The welder shouldn’t fold up the sleeves as it can be potentially extremely dangerous. Any flame or spark that comes in contact with the skin will cause severe burning!
- Lastly, the buttons of the shirt should be tight and durable.
Is Polyester Good For Welding?
Although wearing the incorrect equipment when welding is uncommon, it is nevertheless a good idea to be aware of the restrictions. Synthetic materials like polyester are the worst kind to wear during welding. The fact that they burn down rapidly is the worst thing about wearing this material. Your hands might burn, which could have major health repercussions. People who wear rings, bracelets, or other jewelry should either avoid welding or refrain from doing so. It’s because these things burn easily, which might lead to really bad things. These melted objects might become caught on a person’s fingers and cause severe issues which is why polyester is bad for wearing.
Polyester material should not be worn during welding. This also falls under the heading of synthetic materials. However, when your metal starts to melt at high temperatures, polyester doesn’t catch fire as rapidly. This substance easily catches fire and hurts your hands. Polyester is said to be not good for welding, and avoiding it is advised since if it catches fire, there might be terrible consequences for the person using it.
Rayon is another substance that needs to be avoided during welding. A type of fabric that resembles cotton is called rayon. Rayon is combustible, and it is best to stay away from this material since it easily catches fire.
Nylon is the second substance that you want to steer clear of when welding. Nylon is a material that burns readily because it is a synthetic cloth. The worst thing about nylon is how easily it burns with only one spark. This nylon will start to catch fire as soon as you start welding, which will frighten you.
Welding is an extremely risky process that needs constant monitoring. Before welding, individuals must put on specialized gloves and helmets. Every year, welding causes several deaths, sight loss, and hand and arm loss. They worry about getting the job done and disregard safety. The materials that ought to be avoided during welding are those that were listed above. We hope this article was insightful for you, and now you know the benefits of wearing cotton welding jackets!