We all know that Flame resistant clothing (FRC) plays an important role in protection of human life while working under hazardous industrial conditions. FRC needs suitable care so that they are a performing asset during various industrial applications
Care instructions, mentioned on each FRC label, is a very clear indication of how to wash and care for the PPE to ensure maximum life of the product. This is a very critical parameter for extending the longevity of the Flame Resistant Clothing so they continue to keep you safe.
It becomes imperative for all stakeholders, while placing the PPE in the market and for the end user to carefully study & clearly understand the wash care instructions mentioned on each PPE before use. Partial or no understanding on these instructions can cause irreparable damage to the PPE and cause major casualty to the wearer.
Flame Resistant Clothing is worn in areas where a worker is exposed to risks of flame, heat, welding sparks, metal spatters, flash fire, electrical discharge leading to arcs. Flame Resistant Clothing is intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames, and self-extinguish almost immediately after removal from the original ignition source. Also, the performance levels marked on each FRC has been tested with a Notified test lab under certain wash & care procedures on which these are effective and ensure labelled performance. Any wrong care instruction followed by the user could hamper the performance levels of the PPE.
Each wash care label includes upto 5 symbols which clarify the following:
- Ideal or maximum suitable temperature on which the clothing item is to be washed
- Washing procedure – Home laundry/ Industrial laundry/ Hand wash
- Whether to use any additional wash agents during care, like bleach etc.
- Suitable drying temperatures or procedure
- Whether or not Dry clean is recommended
Confused with the wash care symbols on your Flame Resistant Clothing?
First logo indicates the Washing temperature:
If the FRC is machine washable (Home laundry, ISO 6330) then a tub icon is visible on the label:
The number within the tub icon shows the maximum temperature that your Flame Resistant Clothing can be washed at. This can range from 40°C to 92°C, as instructed by the manufacturer.
The tub icon in certain cases can be replaced by a logo representing the Industrial laundry procedure, as per ISO 15797, showing PRO as the indicative logo. The Industrial laundry temperature for FRC can range from 75°- 85°C. 8 highlighted in the Pro logo, define procedure 8, which means that the washing temperature should not exceed 75°C.
Other recommendations while washing:
- Do ensure that hard water, softening agents or starch is not used while washing your FRC
- Standard globally available home laundry detergents can be used e.g. Tide, Ariel, Surf
- Any other mild detergent containing no enzymes, pH-neutral and with no bleach or brightening agent can be used
- Do not use hydrogen peroxide either alone or as part of a detergent while washing your Flame Resistant Clothing
Second symbol indicates use of Bleaching agents:
- Triangle indicates safe use of cold, dilute solution of bleach.
- Triangle with two stripes, indicates use of non-chlorine, color-safe, oxygen bleach only
- Crossed Triangle indicates that the use of bleach is strictly prohibited.
Third symbol indicates Ironing procedure and temperatures recommended:
The dots on ironing symbols correspond to the dots on an iron’s temperature settings:
- Single dot indicates regular ironing, steam or dry at Low setting – 110°C / 230°F.
- Double dots indicate regular ironing, steam or dry at Medium setting 150°C / 300°F
- Three dots indicate regular ironing, steam or dry at High setting 200°C / 290°F).
- If the iron symbol has a cross through it, that garment is not suitable to be ironed.
Fourth symbol indicates Dry cleaning possibilities:
- Circle means the FRC is suitable for dry cleaning
- A letter inside the circle indicates dry cleaning possibilities using various chemical
- P represents use of any dry cleaning solvent other than trichloroethylene.
- A represents use of any solvent. Usually used with other restrictions
- F represents use of use of petroleum solvents only. Usually used with other restrictions.
- If the circle has a cross over it, the Flame Resistant Clothing is not suitable for dry cleaning
Fifth symbol indicates recommended drying procedure
- Circles inside a square means you can tumble dry your Flame Resistant Clothing
- The dots indicate temperature levels while drying –
- One for low heat settings,
- Two for medium heat settings
- Three for high heat settings
- Crossed circle inside the square means Do not Tumble dry
In contrast to tumble drying machine procedure, natural drying symbols can be harder to interpret
- One drooping line means you can hang your Flame Resistant Clothing to dry on a washing line
- Three vertical lines in a square means drip dry your clothes on a rack indoors
- One horizontal line in a square means dry the garment flat to keep its shape
To conclude, it is very important to care for your Flame Resistant Clothing and to ensure that this is not compromised and continues to keep you safe. When you are out in any potential hazard, safety is never “good enough.”