Spin Cycle: 50 Washes with Oxidative Bleach on an AR/FR Garment

Tyndale’s Spin Cycle series explores uniform rental companies’ claims that arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) apparel’s safety performance is reduced through home laundering. How true are these claims, if at all? We put them to the test.

Each episode subjects an AR / FR garment to a different laundering method and exposes the garment to an arc flash. Follow along as we separate fact from fiction.

Please note: Tyndale does not endorse the intentional use of bleach, oxidative bleach, or fabric softener when laundering AR / FR clothing, as it is prohibited by safety standards.

For episode two of Spin Cycle, we head back to the testing facility with Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, as he takes us through today’s test: whether oxidative bleach affects an AR / FR garment’s performance.

Many laundry detergents contain oxidative bleach products, but does oxidative bleach have any negative effects on AR / FR clothing? The uniform rental companies say yes, but our realistic tests show a different result. See for yourself as Scott discusses our tests below.

Please note: Tyndale does not endorse the intentional use of bleach, oxidative bleach, or fabric softener when laundering AR / FR clothing, as it is prohibited by safety standards.

Does oxidative bleach affect AR / FR garment performance?

Let’s see if 50 wash cycles with oxidative bleach compromises an AR / FR garment in a full-scale arc flash scenario.

We started our tests with a control garment – specifically, a new AR / FR garment with no oxidative bleach applied to it. As expected, the arc flash resulted in no afterflame or holes burnt through the garment, demonstrating its effective role in protecting the wearer.

Next, we conducted a comparison between our control garment and an AR / FR garment that had undergone 50 laundering cycles with oxidative bleach. As the smoke from the arc flash cleared, the oxidative bleach garment also showed no afterflame, no holes, and no shrinkage. Although there was a minor degree of discoloration, the garment effectively protected the wearer, even in the presence of contamination.

As you can see, our test concludes that 50 wash cycles with oxidative bleach have no effect on the performance of an AR / FR garment in an arc flash.

Is oxidative bleach really a concern for AR / FR apparel?

Tyndale stresses the importance of adhering to the laundering instructions provided on AR / FR garment safety labels – which clearly state that bleach should not be used. This practice aligns with the safety standard for home laundering of AR / FR garments, ASTM 2757: Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame Resistant or Arc-Rated Clothing.

However, it’s important to consider what accidental usage of oxidative bleach might do to an AR / FR garment. Our tests show that even after enduring 50 cycles with oxidative bleach, the AR / FR garment performed as expected in an arc flash scenario without encountering any performance-related issues. Therefore, uniform rental companies’ claims that oxidative bleach removes the garment’s arc protection and flame resistance are false.

In the next episode, we’ll explore if laundering with fabric softener spells trouble for AR / FR clothing performance.


Series: Spin Cycle

Some uniform rental companies use sales tactics to convince you that home laundering is unsafe. Such claims can make it seem like industrial laundering is the most advisable option, or even a requirement. Our Spin Cycle series separates fact from fiction through testing and video evidence. Access all episodes in this series, each focusing on the different claims rental companies make to try and steer you away from safe and economical home laundering.

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