Standard Guide for Industrial Laundering of Flame, Thermal, and Arc Resistant Clothing
ASTM F1449 outlines the industrial laundering process, although there is no Federal or State law or standard that says that clothing be laundered industrially. This guide also outlines the responsibilities of the fiber, fabric, and clothing manufacturers, as well as the processor, the processor’s chemical supplier and the end user.
Responsibilities of the manufacturer include:
- Flame, thermal, and arc resistant clothing must be specified by fiber, fabric, and finish.
- Type A category is clothing made exclusively of fabric made from inherently flame-resistant fibers that are tolerant to high-laundry and finishing temperatures
- Type B: inherently FR fabrics that have limitations on the maximum temperature for laundering and finishing
- Type C: FR Treated fabrics
- Type D: FR fabrics that are a combination of fabrics that are Type A, and/or B, and/or C.
- Type X: FR clothing with specific label instructions prohibiting laundering (i.e. “Dry Clean Only” or “Do Not Wash”) Information must be provided on the performance characteristics and maintenance needs
Responsibilities of end users include:
- Care instructions must be followed on label
- The end of a garment’s useful life must be determined
The standard also provides a brief overview on “laundering wash formulas,” which should take into consideration the following:
- Water temperature
- Drying temperature
- Water hardness
- Mechanical Action
- Machine Load Factor
- Soil Sorting
- Wash Room Chemistry
- Finishing Temperature
- Alkalinity of Detergents
- Cycle Times
Industrial laundering is not required by law or necessary to maintain the protective qualities of FR clothing. The standard can be purchased and downloaded from the ASTM website at: http://www.astm.org/Standards/F1449.htm.