What Are Coveralls?

What are Coveralls

Coveralls are loose-fitting protective clothing that work as a shield against harsh weather, chemicals, liquid splashes and sprays, dirt, grease, fire, and dust. The protection covers your body from neck to ankles as well as covering arms and shoulders. This is also the main difference between coveralls and overalls. Some disposable coveralls come with a protective hood that can be used to cover your head as well.

Coveralls are usually worn over the top of personal clothing to protect your skins and undergarments. They are the gold standard for PPE (personal protective equipment) that protect against a number chemical, mechanical, thermal and biological hazards. Workers wear coveralls in many industries including Farming, Mechanics, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing (pharmaceutical, laboratory, industrial), electricians, Aerospace and many more. People also wear coveralls at home when doing home repairs or gardening to keep your clothes clean.

Coveralls can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, denim, nylon, polyester, Tyvek, polypropylene, and spandex. Each material offers different protective properties that are discussed in the sections below. Staying safe is everyone’s first priority and coveralls are the protective garment of choice for millions of people.

Dickies Insulated Duck Coverall
Insulated Coveralls
Medical Coveralls
Disposable Coveralls

Types of Coveralls

Coveralls are an essential PPE to stay safe at work or home. Many industries, companies, and organizations make it mandatory to wear proper coveralls at work – Fire resistance coveralls for example. Each material and coverall have different applications whether dealing with sparks, solvents, acids, oils, blood, aerosols, or other hazardous materials. Understanding the hazards you may be exposed to is a prerequisite to determine which material you may need. The two main categories of coveralls are disposable and cloth based. Depending on your industry and use you may wear one compared to the other. Medical industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing, laboratory workers wear disposable coveralls – think Tyvek or Polypropylene. Automotive, Oil and Gas, Heavy machinery, and manufacturing wear cloth coveralls for their own unique working environments.

Regular Coveralls

Regular coveralls offer protection against dirt, dry particulates, grease, soil, and light non-hazardous splashes often used amongst mechanics, carpenters, or at home repairs. You can choose between short sleeve or long sleeve depending on your environment and protective needs. However, they are not used for hazardous situations around flash fires, fires, hazardous chemicals, harsh weather, or high visibility use. Coveralls are designed to be worn all day so comfort is a high priority for manufacturers. Typical material includes denim, cotton, polyester, or added spandex for a little stretch.

Disposable Coveralls

Medical industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing, laboratory workers, or at home use will wear disposable coveralls. There are a wide variety of protection levels that disposable coveralls come in – including: liquid splashes and sprays, hazardous chemicals, dust, dry particulates, and even hazardous gases. They are not created equal so identifying hazards you will be exposed to is vital.

Some jobs do not require the heavy layer of protection compared to cloth coveralls. It’s another reason why people buy disposable coveralls. As the name implies, they are disposable. This is advantageous in many areas including quick and easy work. You don’t have to shell out a lot of cash to buy basic disposable coveralls for protection against dirt, dust, soil, and non-hazardous splashes.

Disposable coveralls are typically made with polypropylene, polyester, and Tyvek. It’s worth noting that Tyvek is a DuPont proprietary material so ONLY DuPont sells this product. The material is lightweight and breathable to be comfortable all day at work. They are equipped with a front zipper that extends from your neck to your waist to get in and out easily. Some added features that may be included are hoods to cover your face and allow you to wear a respirator, covers for your shoes, and 6 types of protection levels. Majority of uses will require Type 5 and 6 which protect against non-hazardous splashes and sprays, dirt and dust. 

FR (Flame Resistant) Coveralls

Flame resistant (FR) coveralls by definition is a characteristic of a material to self-extinguish after the heat source is removed. Electricians, Oil and Gas workers, and manufacturing may require you to wear FRs. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) created their own testing standards that are widely accepted and used within industry, government, and other safety organizations. 

There are two major categories in flame resistance (FR) coveralls. Some coveralls are inherently fire resistant, while others are treated with chemicals that make them acquire flame-resistant properties. Both work equally well and are very commonly used among firefighters. Moreover, if fire poses a real threat to you or your employees, it is always nice to have FR coveralls at your disposal. Under unforeseen circumstances, they can help save precious lives.

However, it must be kept in mind that flame resistant does not mean fireproof. That is why you need to be cautious when working around flames or sparks even when you are wearing FR coveralls.

You may have seen Fire Retardant clothing and wonder if it’s the same as Flame Resistance. They are different! Flame resistant textiles are made with inherently non-flammable fabrics while Fire Retardant textiles are chemically treated to be self-extinguishing. Fire Retardant materials are usually cheaper than Flame Resistant materials since they are less expensive to produce. 

Arc Resistant Coveralls

Arc resistant coveralls are commonly flame resistant but also protect against electrical arcs. Flash arcs are a common hazard at worksites which is deadly. Reducing the risk of burns is important when working. Understand the protection levels and if the coveralls are certified by IEEE before you purchase.

Insulated Coveralls

Winters can be harsh depending on where you work. Insulated coveralls protect against cold and wet weather. Staying safe and focused while working outside is the first priority. Nobody wants to be cold and miserable for a shift.

Insulated coveralls are typically made with a quilted pattern which are multiple layers stitched into one. The insulation material may be polyester, taffeta, or proprietary insulation to keep you warm. The lining is very comfortable and you will be comfortable all day at work. The outer shell is usually made with water resistant material such as nylon or cotton-twill.

They are also designed to be durable for significant wear and tear. The fabric is abrasive resistant and may come with double layer knees so you can work at any angle or position. Manufacturers like Dickies, Carhartt, Refrigiwear take pride in their clothing so you will have their guarantee of comfort, durability, and protection.

Waterproof Coveralls

Waterproof coveralls protect you against wet conditions and environments. It’s recommended to get insulated coveralls for waterproof protection in the winter since they are two-in-one protection. Waterproof coveralls have an outer shell made from nylon, cotton-twill, or proprietary material to protect against water. 

High Visibility (Hi-Vis) Coveralls

High visibility, or Hi-Vis, coveralls keep workers easily visible in low-visibility environments such as fog, heavy rain, nighttime, or even for day-time construction use. It’s important to be visible to keep you safe while working. 

Hi-Vis coveralls come in a variety of styles and materials. You can have the entire coverall as a florescent colors like light orange or light green, or have reflective tape stitched to the fabric. Whichever one depends on your environment and personal choice.

ADvantages of using coveralls

Coveralls are a versatile PPE for millions of people. They come in a wide variety of materials and uses in the sections above. Understanding your environment, working conditions, and hazards will lead you to the correct type of coverall. There are many advantages when wearing coveralls apart from the material used.

Skin Protection

Coveralls cover your body from shoulders downward compared to overalls. The wide coverage protects you arms, body, shoulders, and legs. One of the most advantageous aspects of coveralls is keeping your skin safe from dirt, chemicals, fire, grease, and other substances.

Many workers are exposed to hazards at work that can cause skin damage. Welders are protected against sparks, laboratory workers are protected against chemicals, and many people are protected against fires for example. 

Clothing Protection

Many people choose to wear coveralls – cloth or polypropylene/polyester to keep your clothes clean. Coveralls protect against unwanted chemicals, stains, grease, and other hazards to keep you clothes clean similar to skin protection. 

Disposable coveralls are great for dirty jobs at home or at work then throwing them away. They are also used for gardening as you can reuse them since you are not exposed to hazardous chemicals. They are comfortable and can be worn all day.

Cloth coveralls are great for working on cars or at home fixes. You don’t have to worry about a messy cleanup as you can wash them after each use to get stains out.


Major brands take pride in creating the perfect coverall for their customers. Comfort places a key role when designing a coverall. Coveralls are meant to be loose-fitting clothing so they aren’t restricting any movements or your body. 

Denim, Cotton, and Polypropylene are common fabrics used. They are all comfortable, breathable, and lightweight for use. 

Other protective properties include being comfortable in cold and wet weather. Insulated and waterproof coveralls are perfect to keep you warm and dry.


Fabrics vary widely when it comes to coveralls. As discussed previously, coveralls can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, denim, nylon, polyester, Tyvek, polypropylene, and spandex. Each material offers different protective properties that are discussed in the sections below. Staying safe is everyone’s first priority and coveralls are the protective garment of choice for millions of people.

  • Cotton, Denim, Cotton Duck, and polyester shells are used for outside work, manufacturing, automotive, and industrial use. 
  • Polyester, Tyvek, and proprietary blends are used for medical, gardening, laboratory, and food processing work. 


It’s important for your safety and pocket book to maintain the longevity of your coveralls. The fabric is designed to stop chemicals, oils, grease reaching your body and may have Flame Resistant, High-visibility, or insulation features. Therefore, it is essential to clean your coveralls as the chemicals remaining may spark a fire or cause chemical damage. Proper cleaning procedures and habits will keep you safe and also increase the coverall’s longevity to save you money.