How to Wash FR Clothing

This blog post, originally published in 2017, was updated in 2024.

Home laundry is a safe, cost-effective alternative to industrial laundering and can help extend the service life and protective qualities of arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing. It’s important to note that the quality, American-made fibers and fabrics sold by Tyndale are all guaranteed flame resistant for the useful life of the garment so long as home laundering instructions are followed, and bleach is not used during laundering. Laundering instructions are primarily designed to help get the clothing clean, minimize shrinkage, extend useful life, and provide guidance that aligns with industry safety standards, such as ASTM 2757: Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame Resistant or Arc-Rated Clothing.

First and foremost, you should always follow the instructions on the garment label. Additionally, Tyndale provides the following guidelines – included with every shipment containing AR / FR clothing and vetted by industry leaders – on garment care and maintenance:

  • Wash in warm water – for heavily soiled garments, wash in the hottest temperature allowed on the care label (generally a warm setting) to remove dirt.
  • Use small wash loads, if possible – this helps reduce wear and improve cleaning.
  • Wash AR / FR clothing inside out, separate from everyday clothing – this helps reduce wear.
  • Tumble dry on low or permanent press, or the “less dry” setting – drying a garment on high heat can cause excessive shrinkage. Most shrinkage is caused by overdrying, which occurs when a dry garment continues to be heated.
  • Remove from dryer damp or line dry to minimize shrinkage – two-thirds of a garment’s shrinkage often takes place within the first five washings.
  • Dry-cleaning is recommended for difficult stains – or try spot-treating stains with detergent prior to washing.

Tyndale worked with Proctor and Gamble to select the best detergent to wash your AR / FR clothing. Liquid Tide (for top-loading machines) and Liquid Tide HE (for front-loading machines) offer excellent cleaning performance.

Perhaps equally as important as knowing what you should do is knowing what you should not do when home laundering AR / FR clothing. DO NOT USE:

  • Liquid chlorine bleach
  • Oxidative bleach
  • Starch
  • Fabric softener
  • Detergent with fabric softener

While starch does not erode the flame resistance of the garment, it is a flammable substance – like many insect repellents, especially ones containing DEET. Any flammable substance deposited on top of the AR / FR fabric can contribute to body burn and should not be used on flame resistant products.

Watch our video for more information:

 

Make sure that all flammable substances – oil, gas, grease, etc. – are removed before the garment is worn again. To help with difficult cleaning, try applying detergent directly to the spot or dry-cleaning. Garments with permanent flammable substance stains should be retired from service. Additionally, you should retire your AR / FR clothing if it’s worn out. Look for thin or threadbare areas, unrepaired holes, excessive wear or abrasion, and damage like rips, cuts, tears, broken closures, or torn, open, or frayed seams. If damage is minor, contact Tyndale to request a repair or a complimentary repair kit. Stop wearing the garment until it is properly repaired using FR materials.

For more information on the care and maintenance of AR / FR clothing, please see ASTM F2757Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing. You can also visit our Care and Maintenance FAQ page. For even more detailed information on how to launder your AR / FR clothing at home, download our white paper by completing the information below.

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