Spin Cycle: Laundering an AR / FR Garment 100 Times

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.

In the fourth installment of our Spin Cycle blog and video series, we turn our attention to arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing durability and performance. Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, tests whether laundering an AR / FR garment 100 times under normal home laundering conditions affects its flame resistant durability.

Uniform rental companies claim that you simply can’t launder AR / FR apparel at home because your washing machine “washes out” the garment’s flame resistance. Prior to 1987, that claim could have held up – but since then, AR / FR clothing technology has advanced leaps and bounds. Flame resistant durability is now a given for quality clothing and has been for a long time.

But don’t just take our word for it – we’ll show you in our test results below:

Please note: Tyndale does not endorse intentional over-laundering of AR / FR clothing, as it is prohibited by safety standards.

We started the test with a control garment – a brand new AR / FR garment that had not undergone any laundering. After the arc flash test, the garment exhibited no signs of afterflame, holes, or shrinkage. The control garment was fully intact and protected the wearer as expected.

Next, we replicated the same arc flash test on the same garment that had undergone 100 times in a standard home washing machine. As the arc extinguished, the garment also showed no afterflame, holes, or shrinkage. Even with meticulous examination through slow motion and a side-by-side footage, there was no visible difference between the performance of the control and the garment laundered 100 times.

Our test concludes that 100 launderings had no effect on the flame resistant durability of an AR / FR garment in an arc flash.

Is there a laundry cycle limit for AR / FR apparel flame resistant durability?

Products sold by Tyndale are flame resistant for the useful life of the garment – flame resistance cannot wash out. AR / FR garments are typically retired not because of concerns related to flame resistant durability or laundry cycle limit, but rather due to mechanical wear and tear that compromises the garments safety on the job.  Rips, tears, frayed edges, and holes caused by repeated wear over time are the main reasons why AR / FR clothing is removed from service.  

Through our comprehensive testing, we debunked a common misconception surrounding claims made by uniform rental companies. Our findings reveal that 100 laundering cycles did not affect the durability of an AR / FR garment in an arc flash. Therefore, we can confidently state that the claims made by uniform rental companies are false.

You won’t want to miss the last episode of this series. We covered an AR / FR garment in five lint traps’ worth of lint and washed it 100 times before exposing it to an arc flash. Will it still perform as expected? Tune in to see.


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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