Home Laundering or Industrial Laundering: Which is Best for FR Clothing?

OSHA 1910.269 Laundering Resource Guide

This is the fifth post in a six-part series looking at the benefits of managed apparel options, specifically evaluating purchase programs and laundry rental for your FRC.

One of the most important factors for FR clothing is that garments remain clean and usable. FRC will not meet industry regulations or company standards if it is stained or soiled with foreign substances. Home laundering is a safe, cost-effective alternative to industrial laundering and can help preserve the useful life and protective qualities of FR clothing.

New employees at your company should not have to wait for their first set of work garments, especially when laundry rental providers cut corners with incorrect and sloppy sizing procedures. Additionally, current employees should not have to wait for their garments to be cleaned and returned when the same benefit of clean clothing can be accomplished by washing FR clothing and work garments at home.

Industrial Laundering of FR Clothing

Dirty clothes picked up by industrial launderers at the customer site should be kept separate based on wash formula as incorrect formula could result in stained clothing. However, this is near impossible with over 25 different wash formulas. Alarmingly, not washing FR clothing in the correct formula could actually jeopardize the integrity or protective FR characteristics of your garments.

In fact, garments will stay in a laundry rental service for an average of two to four years with FRC clothing being kept in service even longer than non-FR clothing (1).

All clothing, regardless of whether or not it was washed in the correct formula, typically comes back to the customer smelling like chemicals. There is also the risk of garments being exposed to additional stains that were not there when the employee originally placed the items in the soil bin. The outcome for customers is an increased rate of skin allergies or irritation with the rented garments.

Cost plays an additional role. With laundry providers, a customer incurs non-recoverable weekly laundry charges even for employees washing their own clothing, on sick leave, vacationing or mobile employees who may not return soiled garments that week.

Home Laundering Your FRC

By allowing your workers to choose their apparel based on comfort and fit, but still meeting company safety standards and industry regulations, you’re selecting a program that directly contributes to your company’s professionalism and appearance to customers.

The same goes for allowing employees to wash their FRC clothing at home. Laundry rental programs claim that FR qualities can be washed out of garments if not cleaned through a professional, industrial launderer when quite the opposite is true. The chemical properties of flame resistant clothing manufactured by Tyndale cannot be washed out over time if the washing instructions are followed. For customers that experience heavily soiled garments because of the nature of their work, washing FR clothing in the hottest temperature allowed on the care label is recommended.

Knowing how to wash FR clothing properly will ensure that your safety apparel lasts as long as it should and will protect the way that it is meant to throughout its useful wear life. Home laundering is not only a cost-effective alternative to laundry rental programs, but has proven to be safe for your employees as well.

For more tips on washing FR clothing, check out our previous blog post on caring for your FRC or check out ASTM F2757, Standard Guide for Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing.

References for this post were accessed Oct 2013:

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