SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 29 September 2016

An Evaluation of the Effects of Bleach Products and Fabric Softener on Properties of a Common Flame-Resistant Cotton-Nylon Fabric


In the flame-resistant (FR) industry, it is common practice to recommend against the use of fabric softeners and bleaches when caring for FR clothing. ASTM F2757-09, Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal, and Arc Resistant Clothing, Section 6.2.3, instructs users not to use chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, starch, fabric softeners, detergents, or pretreatment products with chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or derivatives of chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide for the laundering of FR clothing. There are few published studies, and older studies have used accelerated techniques to evaluate materials, such as higher bleach concentrations than recommended by the bleach manufacturers for home laundry. Because many end users indicate to trainers that they have had clothing exposed to bleach on occasion or accidentally, we wanted to evaluate common concentrations of bleach use. Our original goal was to discover pronounced or subtle effects of bleach use, such as color change, that could be evaluated by a safety professional. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of one FR-treated cotton blend twill material after laundering intervals of 0, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250, using three different consumer-simulated laundering methods in soft water. All specimens were evaluated after each laundering interval using ASTM D6413-13b (vertical flame), ASTM D1424-13 (tear strength), AATCC 61-13 (colorfastness), ASTM D3776-13 (fabric weight), and ASTM D5034-13 (breaking strength). Arc testing in accordance with ASTM F1959-14 was completed on samples after 250 cycles to compare to the original results of the fabric rating after three AATCC washes, per the standard. Results of the chosen methods were compared to industry requirements of ASTM F1506-15, Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Arc Rated Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards.

Author Information

Kirby, Jill, A.
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Klausing, Stacy, L.
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Hoagland, Hugh
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Price: $25.00
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Developed by Committee: F23
Pages: 63–77
DOI: 10.1520/STP159320160015
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7632-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7631-7