Harsh detergents, bleach, the extremes of hot or cold water -- these laundry practices may be typical for regular loads, but can spell disaster for flame-resistant clothing. FR clothing can last a surprisingly long time when you follow the special washing requirements for these types of fabrics (inherent FR or FR treated). Learn how to wash FR clothing properly to help your garments retain their flame-resistant properties longer and keep your clothing in tip-top condition!
Washing Flame-Resistant Clothing: The Do’s and Don’ts
Following the same instructions you’ll find on MWG Apparel (including women’s FR clothing and men’s FR clothing) tags and product pages will ensure your flame-resistant clothing lasts as long as possible. Here’s a look at how to wash FR clothing to keep it up to standard.
- DO: Wash inside out. Streaking, uneven wear, and discoloration can result from washing FR items without turning them inside out first. Inverting your garments before washing prevents these issues and keeps your garments looking like new for 25+ washes.
- DO: Wash at home. Industrial washing machines are powerful, which can be great -- just not for FR clothing. Industrial machines can reach temperatures too high for FR apparel and reduce the garment’s flame resistance properties or result in shrinkage.
- DO: Machine wash warm. Hot water is a no-go for FR clothing, and cold or cool water often isn’t enough to loosen and release built-up dirt, grime, and grease on workwear. The solution? Always wash in warm water, typically under 140°F (60°C), to keep your FR garments in great shape while ensuring a deep, thorough clean.
- DO: Tumble dry low. Drying FR clothing at high temperatures degrades the fabric and shortens the lifespan of these garments. Always tumble dry on low heat to maintain and preserve your apparel’s integrity and protective qualities (and make sure to take FR clothing out of the dryer quickly to avoid wrinkles and shrinkage.
What is the best detergent to wash fire-resistant clothes? Use a mild, dye-free detergent without added fabric softener or scents to ensure the detergent doesn’t degrade FR performance or increase flammability.
- DON’T: Use bleach. Bleach can be great for removing stubborn stains and delivering a deep clean for some items, but you should never use it for FR clothing. Bleach degrades the structure and flame-resistant properties of FR fabric and renders your garments less effective (plus, it can cause spotting and discoloration).
- DON’T: Use fabric softeners. Fabric softeners work by leaving behind a thin coating or film on fibers of fabric to leave it conditioned and soft. The coating left behind reduces flame resistance and can be flammable, making it a definite no for FR clothing.
- DON’T: Dry clean. Dry cleaners may use starches, high temperatures, and chemical solvents to clean clothes that can ruin FR garments or leave them less effective after each cleaning.
- DON’T: Use DEET. Insect repellents containing DEET may protect you from bug bites, but they’re dangerous to use on FR clothing because DEET is highly flammable. Avoid spraying or using DEET-containing products to keep your FR garments flame-resistant.
Maintaining your FR clothing lengthens the lifespan of these garments and keeps you safe by retaining the flame-resistant properties. Speaking of which -- what is the life expectancy of FR clothing and how many times can you wash FR-rated clothing? Premium brands like MWG Apparel state that the lifespan of FR clothing is around 25 washes with full integrity and protection capabilities (and that’s how long the warranty covers the garment). After 25 washes, the fabric and its flame-resistant properties are degraded, and it’s time to buy a replacement.
So what can you do to help your workwear last longer beyond learning how to wash FR clothing? Invest in higher-quality pieces and stick with them. MWG Apparel offers a diverse selection of durable, comfortable, and stylish FR workwear essentials, and each item comes with a warranty for the lifetime of the garment. Discover quality men’s and women’s FR clothing at your fingertips. Browse our wide selection of flame-resistant clothing from outerwear to accessories today!