ASTM F1449

Standard Guide for Industrial Laundering of Flame, Thermal, and Arc Resistant Clothing

Although there is no Federal or State law or standard that says that clothing be laundered industrially, ASTM F1449 outlines the industrial laundering process. This guide outlines the responsibilities of the fiber, fabric, and clothing manufacturers, as well as the processor, the processor’s chemical supplier, and the end user.

Responsibilities of the manufacturer include:

  • Flame, thermal, and arc resistant clothing must be specified by fiber, fabric, and finish.
  • Category A clothing is made exclusively from fabric made of inherently flame-resistant (FR) fibers that are tolerant to high-laundry and finishing temperatures
  • Category B is inherently FR fabrics that have limitations on the maximum temperature for laundering and finishing
  • Category C is FR Treated fabrics
  • Category D is FR fabrics that are a combination of fabrics that are Type A, and/or B, and/or C.
  • Category X includes FR clothing with specific label instructions prohibiting laundering (i.e. “Dry Clean Only” or “Do Not Wash”). Information must be provided on the performance characteristics and maintenance needs

Responsibilities of end users include:

  • Care instructions must be followed on label
  • To appropriately determine when a garment has reached the end of its useful life and should be retired from service

The standard also provides a brief overview on “laundering wash formulas,” which should take into consideration the following:

  • Water temperature
  • Drying temperature
  • Water hardness
  • Mechanical action
  • Machine load factor
  • Soil sorting
  • Wash room chemistry
  • Finishing temperature
  • Alkalinity of detergents
  • Souring
  • Extraction
  • Cycle Times

The law does not require industrial laundering and it is not necessary to maintain the protective qualities of FR clothing. The standard can be purchased and downloaded from the ASTM website at: http://www.astm.org/Standards/F1449.htm.