How to clean Coveralls


Coveralls  are protective clothing that is used by millions of people to protect you from flames, electrical hazards, dirt, dust, and harsh environments. They are worn to protect your skin and clothing when working. The clothing extends from your shoulders to your feet covering shoulders and arms – which is the main difference compared to overalls. Some coveralls have added protection like Flame Resistant, High-visibility, or insulation features. Therefore, it is essential to clean your coveralls as the chemicals remaining may spark a fire, reduce protective capability or cause tears. Proper cleaning procedures and habits will keep you safe and also will save you money. This guide will discuss the various methods how to clean your coveralls.


When to clean coveralls

The most important reason to clean coveralls properly is for them to maintain their safety integrity. Poor maintenance may destroy the fibers that keeps coveralls flame resistance, electrical arc resistant, insulated, or have high visibility (Hi-Vis). It’s recommended to clean coveralls after every use. Cleaning frequently reduces the risk of carrying dangerous material on your work clothes that may lead to personal harm or safety incidents.

Immediate cleaning or change of clothes is recommended if your garments come in contact with flammable soils. Flammable soils may not come out during the cleaning procedure you choose. It’s recommended to clean your coveralls in an industrial wash if you believe flammable material is still present. Discoloration, visible stains or soils are potential clues to determine if a more thorough wash is necessary. 

Modern coveralls are designed to keep you comfortable all day long in almost any environment. Therefore, a secondary outcome of improper cleaning may lead to working uncomfortable. 

Read Instructions

First things first, carefully read and understand the manufacture’s instructions. Every coverall has its own intended use – Hi-Vis, Flame Resistant, Insulation, etc… and each has their own procedure of cleaning to protect its fabric and intended use. Washing machine temperature, chemical additives, laundry or by hand are potential differences. It all depends upon the fabric and intended use of the coverall. For instance, Hi-Vis material will deteriorate if you wash this fabric with too hot of water. Typically, these instructions are provided along the inside seam but the manufacture’s website will also have all necessary information.

Cleaning OPtions

There are four methods to clean coveralls that will be discussed:

  • Home Washing
  • Industrial Laundry
  • Light Soil Washing
  • Dry Cleaning
Washing TypeWater Temperature Setting
Home Wash120°F or less in 6 lb. load machine
Industrial WashNo more than 165°F
Light Soil WashNo more than 140°F
Dry CleanProfessional Wash
This table highlights the recommended washing temperatures for each type.c

Washing Hand

Determine what chemicals or stains are present on your coveralls. Do not wash by hand if you have flammable material, chemicals, or any other hazardous substance

Washing Coveralls At Home

Washing coveralls at your home saves time and energy. Home washing also is efficient if there isn’t too much stains or chemicals on your garments. Cleaning your coveralls at an industrial wash or dry cleaner may be more appropriate if you detect a large amount of chemicals or stains. Be sure to remove all other garments before you wash your coveralls. Use hot water (up to 120 degrees F) and any common laundry detergent. After adding detergent, allow the machine to complete its full working cycle. DO NOT USE BLEACH OR HYDROGEN PEROXIDE!

It is advised to wash your coverall after every use. This way you will not have to put in extra effort every time you need to wash your cloth coverall. Always apply gentle rubs. This will ensure high levels of effectiveness during the cleaning process. 

Here are some useful tips:

  • Wash in a normal or cotton cycle
  • Do not use bleach or hydrogen peroxide! 
  • Do not use fabric softeners as they are flammable with Flame Resistant material
  • Do not use detergents that contain animal fat
  • Turn garments inside out to reduce outer fabric abrasion 
  • Do not have any other garments present when washing
  • Close all zippers before washing
  • Wash with soft water 
  • Fill the washer with no more than 2/3rd full and use high water level
  • Do not over dry garments: Tumble dry on low. If needed you can iron with low heat
  • Always follow instructions!

Moreover, you should dry clean your coveralls (or industrial wash) if stains remain after wash. It’s important to remove all stains before using again as they might contain flammable material.

How to treat stains

Stains in coveralls are remnants of chemicals, hazardous material, or oils. It’s important to remove stains before wearing the coveralls again to reduce flammable risks. Before each wash, inspect properly to check if your coverall has any noticeable stain marks. If there are any, treat them with Shout or similar products before you put your coverall in the machine. 

After The Wash

Your washer and dryer must be cleaned and adjusted before and after you wash your coveralls. Otherwise, there is a probability of chemicals being left inside the machine. They may get on to your regular clothing afterwards. Wipe the inner surfaces with a perfect, soggy material. Run a short hot wash cycle with cleanser and then flush the unfilled machine with a simple water cycle. You can also sanitize with a solution of ¾ cup chlorine and one tablespoon of powdered cleanser for each gallon of warm water. Let it sit for some time and repeat this procedure couple of times. To keep the dryer from overheating, give it appropriate rest after each wash, and remove any build-up.

Industrial Laundry

Industrial laundry is the most thorough wash out of all the options since it has the highest temperature rating (140 to 160 degrees F). It comprises of either Industrial Washing or Light Soil Washing. Industrial washing can operate at 160 degrees F while Light Soil Washing operates at 140 degrees F.

Industrial washing is the most effective at removing heavy stains, soils, or chemicals. All the same useful tips in ‘Home Washing’ can be applied to industrial laundry. The major difference is the chemical formula used. More chemical detergent can be added since it operates at higher temperatures.

Dry Cleaning coveralls

The easiest option – drop off your coveralls at a dry cleaners! Most coveralls are dry clean friendly as it’s manufacture dependent.   Either petroleum solvent or perchloroethlyene can be used to dry clean coveralls. High Visibility coveralls can also be dry cleaned.

Washing High Visibility (Hi-vis) Garments

High visibility (Hi-Vis) workwear is designed specifially to reflect light as a safety measure and are typically made with a mixture of synthetic and natural fiber. Hi-Vis coveralls cleaning procedure follows the same guidance as regular coveralls in regards to home washing and industrial laundry. They can also be dry cleaned.

Apart from the same cleaning care as regular coveralls, Hi-Vis coveralls must be washed separately to not destroy any luminescent effect.

Replacing Your Coveralls

Coveralls protect you from harsh weather, fire, chemicals and are also designed to maintain comfort while working. The time to replace your coveralls depends on the environment and care for the garment. The coverall should be replaced if you determine the garment is unable to protect you. It is your responsibility to examine the coveralls condition.

Some points to consider when evaluating coverall condition:

  • Worn appearance: holes, excessive abrasion near elbows or knees, thin protective layer areas
  • Fitting: Too big or too little. Excessive drying after washing will shrink coveralls. Safety will be compromised if the garments are altered in any way that are not promoted by the manufacturer
  • Soiled: You should replace your coveralls if you cannot get the flammable material off by industrial wash or dry clean.
  • Damage to fibers: Cuts, rips, or any open area will reduce the effectiveness of having coveralls
  • Uncomfortable: Coveralls are designed to be comfortable throughout your day. It may be time to replace them if you are living in discomfort.
  • Hi-Vis coveralls: It is recommended that the lifespan of Hi-Vis Coveralls is 6 months with daily use. The lifespan increased to 3 years if not worn everyday

Coveralls can be expensive. Therefore, maintaining a great condition of coveralls is the most cost effective method to save money.