The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015, and even though workplace fatalities are going down, accidents will inevitably happen. High visibility clothing plays an important role in keeping workers safe. But keeping your high visibility workwear clean can be a bit of a challenge, especially because safety shirts, pants, and vests are used in industries that are prone to tough messes. These reflective materials do require special care, so keep these helpful tips in mind when cleaning your reflective button up shirts, jackets, vests, and more.
- Always wash in cold water
While using warm or hot water might make stain removal seem more effective, it can actually compromise the quality of your reflective button up shirts and other clothing. If these materials fade, they can present a safety hazard and may violate official regulations. Virtually all hi vis clothing should be washed in cold water and with like colors.
- Turn them inside out
Before you throw your high visibility pants and reflective button up shirts in the washing machine, be sure to turn them inside out first! If you forget to do this, reflective tape can more easily tear or fade, even on the gentle cycle. This is also why you should also line-dry whenever possible. Absolutely need to throw it in the dryer? Be sure to tumble dry low and remove it immediately.
- Don’t use bleach or fabric softener
Even just one cycle using fabric softener or bleach can completely ruin these reflective materials. Resist the urge to add these to the wash and stick with mild detergent instead. If you wash your high visibility clothing with non-workwear, make sure there are no rough textures that could damage your work gear.
- Don’t iron or dry clean
Remember that hi vis workwear should be laundered at home, rather than at your dry cleaner’s. Ultimately, washing in a machine will get your garments way cleaner, and the dry cleaning process has the potential to damage certain fabrics. You should also refrain from ironing these garments, as the heat will likely damage the reflective materials. You may be able to cool iron certain fabrics (which involves setting your iron to the lowest setting) or steam to remove wrinkles.
While your work may never be totally straightforward, the cleaning of your work garments should be. By following these laundering tips, you’ll be able to extend the life of your workwear and ensure that you remain safe while on the job.