Spin Cycle: Laundering an AR / FR Garment 100 Times and Exposing It to Flammable Lint

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.

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of our Spin Cycle blog and video series.

Uniform rental companies claim you can’t launder AR / FR apparel at home, but is that necessarily true? They often suggest that when AR / FR clothing is washed with regular clothing, flammable lint can adhere to your AR / FR clothing and compromise the garment's flame resistant properties, potentially leading to a loss in flame resistance. Let’s put that claim to the test.

Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, launders an AR / FR garment 100 times, then places five lint traps’ worth of mixed lint from both flammable and non-flammable clothing on all parts of the garment. Do our tests prove that flammable lint affects FR durability and performance? Watch our test results below to find out.

Please note: Tyndale does not endorse intentional over-laundering of AR / FR clothing or intentionally placing flammable lint on a garment. Both actions are prohibited by safety standards.

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

Next, we replicated the same arc flash test on a garment that was washed 100 times and contaminated with flammable lint from five different lint traps, including those from loads with regular, non-FR garments. After the arc flash, the garment also showed no afterflame, holes, or shrinkage, even on the areas where the lint was placed. Our close-up and slow-motion footage showed no remaining lint, and no part of the garment was still on fire or damaged. In a side-by-side comparison, there was no visible difference between our two test garments.

Contrary to the claims made by unform rental companies, our test concludes that 100 launderings and even five lint traps’ worth of lint from loads containing regular, non-FR garments had no effect on the flame resistance of an AR / FR garment in an arc flash.

Does flammable lint pose any danger to an AR / FR garment’s flame resistant durability?

Flammable lint has an extraordinarily high surface area and extraordinarily low volume. Our tests prove that flammable lint does not affect the durability of an AR / FR garment in an arc flash. Therefore, we can confidently state that no, flammable lint from a mixed load of AR / FR and regular garments does not pose any danger to an AR / FR garment’s flame resistance. The claims often made by uniform rental companies are false.

Want to see the other uniform rental company claims we tested? Catch up on all the episodes of Spin Cycle here.


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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