3 Tips on How to Wash FR Clothing and its Useful Wear Life

OSHA 1910.269 Laundering Resource Guide

This blog post is the first of a 3-part series. Later in September, we will also cover how to wash FR clothing with fabric softener and lint contamination, or when non-FR garments are washed with FRC.

We often get questions on best practices regarding how to wash FR clothing and its useful wear life. Wearing FR clothing with stains or holes, or that’s worn thin can be dangerous to the wearer. Below are three tips on caring for your FRC.

1. How to Wash FR Clothing

Home laundering is a safe, cost-effective alternative to industrial laundering and can help preserve the useful life and protective qualities of FR clothing.

Tyndale has worked with Proctor and Gamble to select the best detergent to wash your FRC. The chemical properties of flame resistant clothing manufactured by Tyndale cannot be washed out over time if the washing instructions are followed. Liquid Tide (for top-loading machines) or Liquid Tide HE (for front-loading machines) offer the best cleaning performance.

For heavily soiled garments, wash FR clothing in the hottest temperature allowed on the care label (generally warm setting) to remove dirt. FR garments may be dry cleaned at any time.

2. Minimizing Shrinkage

While some FR fabrics shrink more than others, there are several tactics you can use to give your FRC the longest possible life.

Most FRC includes cotton, which shrinks when it’s washed. Flame resistant fabrics, like many non-FR fabrics, are susceptible to shrinkage no matter what company makes the fabric or manufactures the garment. Tyndale manufactures all garments to help accommodate future shrinkage.

It’s important to note that two-thirds of a garment’s shrinkage takes place within the first five washings. Tyndale recommends laundering garments at a “warm” temperature. Once you are happy with the way your garment fits, you can retain its size, like any other garment, by line drying it instead of using a dryer. If using a dryer is necessary, remove the garment from the dryer while it is still damp. Drying a garment on high heat could cause excessive shrinkage. The most shrinkage occurs at the very end of an over-dry setting.

3. Useful Wear Life

Do you know when it’s time to retire an FR garment from service? If any of these wear indicators appear, stop wearing the garment to minimize possibility of injury. First and foremost, be sure to adhere to your company’s safety policy.

Tyndale recommends removing clothing from service if the garment:

  • Is torn, ripped, threadbare or frayed around the edges (see images below).

  • Is stained with a flammable substance that cannot be removed through laundering (see image on right above). If exposed to flame or electric arc, flammable soil could ignite and continue to burn – even though the garment itself won’t burn.
  • Has had contact with bleach.
  • Has a frayed collar, frayed cuffs or torn, open or frayed seams (see images below).

Repairs of flame, thermal, and arc resistant clothing should be made from components equivalent to those used in the original manufacturing to avoid reducing the performance properties of the flame resistant garment. Garments that have irreparable damage, are worn out, or are unusable for other safety reasons, are not to be reused and should be discarded.

Knowing how to wash FR clothing properly will ensure that your safety apparel lasts as long as it should and will protect the way it is meant to. Along with that, recognizing when your FRC needs to be repaired or replaced is important for your safety on the job.

Did you know that Tyndale offers complimentary repair kits? When placing your order, simply request one and we’ll include it with your order at no charge!

For more information on Care and Maintenance of FR Clothing, please see ASTM F2757, Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing.


  1. Lori Evans says:

    Looking to purchase Tyndale Carperter/Utility ARC RATED FR Denim jeans size 38×30
    How – Where Can this be done?
    My residence is in Oakland County, Highland Michigan 48356

    • tyndaleusa says:

      Hi Lori, Thanks for reaching out! If your company has a managed program with Tyndale, you can shop by logging in at http://www.TyndaleUSA.com. If you do not have a company account, you can shop for Tyndale’s USA-made arc-rated flame resistant clothing at TyndaleFRC.TyndaleUSA.com; all items displayed on this site are in-stock for prompt delivery. Have a safe day!

  2. Tracie says:

    I use lavender essential oil with wool dryer balls to replace dryer sheets and fabric softener. Is this safe care for FR clothing? Will it reduce the FR properties in the clothing?

    Thank you.

    • tyndaleusa says:

      Hi Tracie,
      Thanks for contacting us. Many essential oils are flammable, and Lavender is among them. It is a class 3 flammable liquid, and has a very low flash point so it could ignite and contribute to injury in the event of an arc flash or flash fire. As a result, lavender oil should not be used with arc-rated/flame resistant clothing. Generally, we recommend against using fabric softeners; if you are washing cotton or cotton rich fabrics, fabric softeners can actually have a negative impact on comfort and we recommend avoiding altogether. If you are washing synthetic or synthetic rich fabrics and feel softener is necessary, be careful to select a nonflammable softener such as those designed for baby clothing.

  3. Murray Stephenson says:

    Do you have a guideline to how many washes a FR garment can be washed before the FR treatment washes out?

    • TyndaleFRC says:

      Hi Murray, Our apologies for the delayed response. Thank you for your question. All arc-rated flame resistant clothing Tyndale sells is thoroughly vetted for quality and guaranteed to retain its flame resistance through the garment’s useful life. The FR properties cannot be laundered out! Overall wear life varies from person to person; for your safety, FR garments should be retired from service when wear indicators – unrepaired holes, threadbare areas, fraying around the cuffs or collar, permanent stains with a flammable substance, etc. – begin to show on the garment. Have a safe day!

  4. Big Daddy says:

    Hello, so will washing with peroxide type laundry detergents remove the FR treatment on FR fabrics? Would like to know, maybe I need to change detergents.

    • TyndaleFRC says:

      Yes, you should switch detergents for your safety. Hydrogen peroxide and cleaners containing this ingredient can degrade FR properties through time and will also void the manufacturer’s warranty on your garments. We recommend using liquid Tide. Have a safe day!

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