You may be surprised to learn that your favorite flame retardant cotton fabric can be laundered safely and effectively. Flame retardant (FR) properties in cotton fabrics are permanent, meaning they will not wash off. However, if the correct care instructions and procedures regarding the washing of these FR garments are not being met, undesired substances that remain on the FR garment’s surface can increase the risk of fire related accidents. In this blog, we explain why a proper washing protocol is a must for any industry worker in need for protection against these hazards.
The flame retardant properties of fabrics, for example our Cotton based FR Fabric are guaranteed for at least 50 washes at 75°C (ISO 15797:2018). However, Flame retardant fabrics are an important part of any worker’s safety gear. However, these fabrics can lose their protective properties if they are not laundered properly. The following instructions will help you wash your flame retardant fabric safely and effectively.
- If you work with or around flame retardant (FR) fabrics, it’s important to keep them clean and free of any flammable contaminants. This is especially true if your FR garment is made of cotton. Oil stains, for example, can increase the risk of fire-related accidents.To avoid this, always launder your protective clothing regularly and thoroughly. This will remove contaminants and prevent permanent staining. Be sure to follow your employer’s laundering instructions, as well as those of the industrial laundry if you use one.
- Washing with traditional soap based powders is not recommended as they can form insoluble scums with hard water that are deposited on the fabric. Soap scums may be flammable and can adversely affect the thermal protective performance of the FR garment.
- Chlorine bleach and the presence of metals with hydrogen peroxide (oxygen bleach) chemically attack the flame-retardant finish and reduce the flame–retardant properties of the fabric. The gradual deterioration in fabric flame-retardant protective performance can also be caused by washing at high temperatures with detergents containing higher concentration of sodium perborate (also an oxygen bleach)
It is essential to follow appropriate laundering, care and maintenance processes in order to maximise the lifetime of your FR garment and ensure that its protective properties are not degraded. This should preferably be done by a professional industrial laundry, who will take all of the necessary parameters into account and make sure that your protective FR clothing offers the required protection throughout its lifetime.