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.
There are four methods to clean coveralls that will be discussed:
- Home Washing
- Industrial Laundry
- Light Soil Washing
- Dry Cleaning
|Washing Type||Water Temperature Setting|
|Home Wash||120°F or less in 6 lb. load machine|
|Industrial Wash||No more than 165°F|
|Light Soil Wash||No more than 140°F|
|Dry Clean||Professional Wash|
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
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
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.