SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 28 September 2020

Effects of Bleach and Water Conditions in Laundering of Flame-Resistant and Arc-Rated Clothing Fabrics


In the flame-resistant (FR) industry, it is understood that bleach products are prohibited when caring for FR clothing. ASTM F2757-09(2016), Standard Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing (superseded), instructs users not to use chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, starch, fabric softeners, detergents, or pretreatment products with chlorine bleach, hydrogen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 to launder FR clothing. Of the conditions a protective garment is subjected to in its lifetime, washing to maintain clean, useable clothing for longevity is significant. Garments may be laundered more than 50 times in their useful life. This paper, an extension of previous research, summarizes findings on the evaluation of laundry conditions for three different fabrics using oxygen and chlorine bleach and hard (8 gpg) and soft water through three phases. The focused measure of flammability performance in this extension is ASTM D6413, Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Vertical Test). Arc testing to ASTM F1959, Standard Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating of Materials for Clothing, was performed on three materials laundered in soft water. This research is combined with a previous study presented at the 10th Symposium on Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment to include information on the effects of hard water and performance of additional materials commonly used in the FR and arc-resistant workwear industry. In Phases I and II, the strength of samples laundered with chlorine or oxygen bleach in soft water declined, and flame resistance was lost on an 88/12 sample after 100 cycles with chlorine bleach. For Phase III, hard water was introduced to determine whether failure points accelerated. For Phase III, laundry intervals were tightened to better pinpoint failure points.

Author Information

Klausing, Stacy, L.
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Kirby, Jill, A.
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Hoagland, Hugh
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
Baitinger, William
ArcWear, Louisville, KY, US
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Pages: 81–99
DOI: 10.1520/STP162420190092
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7695-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7694-2