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Care & Washing

Care & Washing

Care & Cleaning Information for Bulwark  Excel-FRTM Flame Resistant 100% Cotton  and Excel-FR ComforTouchTM 88% Cotton/12% Nylon Garments

Bulwark Excel-FR durable “Flame Resistant” (“FR”) 100% cotton and Excel-FR ComforTouchTM 88% cotton/12% nylon blend garments are made from fabrics treated with a durable flame retardant finish.

These garments can be laundered at temperatures normal to cottons.  With the exception of FR denim, they can also be dry cleaned.  Do not dry clean 100% cotton denim as the indigo dye system will fade and bleed into the solvent.

If garments are contaminated with flammable soils or chemicals that may overwhelm the FR properties, they must be removed immediately and cleaned prior to wearing again.

These garments should not be worn where contact with strong oxidizers (e.g., >10% sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl) or reducing agents (e.g., sodium hydrosulfite, NaS2O4) is a consideration.


·         It is important that formulas are developed using detergents and wash temperatures (up to 165ºF) adequate to thoroughly clean all contaminants from garments.

·         Use non-ionic formulas.  Do not use natural soaps (anionic or tallow soap) or silicate supplemented detergents. Soft water is recommended. Hard water precipitates soaps.  It also contains calcium and magnesium salts.  These products can build up on the fiber surfaces, coating the fabric and masking FR properties. 


·         Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and hydrogen peroxide (oxygen bleach), whether separate or contained in detergents, must be avoided.  Repeated exposure to bleach can destroy the FR polymer and make the garments non-protective.

·         Starch, fabric softener, and other laundry additives can coat the fiber and mask the FR performance or serve as fuel in case of garment ignition.  Therefore their use is not recommended.  Garments should be appropriately soured.

·         If garments are heavily soiled with particulate or abrasive soils, a flush at the beginning of the cycle will help reduce abrasion in the wash wheel.  Wash formulas and load sizes should be set up to minimize redeposition and fabric abrasion.

·         Extract by methods typically used for regular 100% cotton garments.

·         Condition at a stack setting of 165°F so fabric temperature measured in the basket does not exceed 280°F.  Normal shrinkage of 5 % to 6% can be expected.  As with any 100% cotton fabric, excessive shrinkage may occur if overdried.

·         If desired, garments may be pressed using normal cotton pressing techniques.

HOME WASH                           

·         Use any typical home laundry detergent. Home wash detergents that contain sodium perborate and other “color safe” bleach alternatives, both liquid and powder, will not affect the flame resistance of the garments. However, they should not be used to launder Navy dyed garments as this will cause garments to fade to a purple cast.

·         Do not use chlorine bleach, liquid non-chlorine bleach or detergents that contain hydrogen peroxide. These include but are not limited to liquid Tide with Bleach, liquid Clorox II, and liquid Vivid.

·         It is important that all potentially flammable soils and other contaminants are completely removed from garments during the wash process. This may require the use of stain removal products, such as Shout, Spray ‘n Wash, or Zout; or presoaking garments prior to washing. The use of hot water can often make detergents more effective in the removal of soils. If all contaminants cannot be removed in home care, you should obtain professional help in getting your FR garments clean.

·         The use of conditioned or soft water can help improve removal of contaminants from garments. Hard water precipitates soaps and can result in the build-up of calcium and magnesium salts. These can serve as fuel in the event they are exposed to a source of ignition.

·         Starch and other laundry additives are not recommended because they can coat fibers and mask FR performance, or serve as fuel in case of garment ignition. If desired, one softener sheet may be used in the clothes dryer. Liquid softeners should not be used.

·         Do not overdry garments.  If desired, you may press with an iron on the normal cotton setting.

·         We recommend that you turn the garments inside out to help reduce streaking that can occur due to abrasion in the washer.


·         Either perchloroethylene or petroleum solvent can be used.  With petroleum, it is necessary to ensure that all solvent has been completely dried from the garments.  With both solvents, the garments must be free of redeposition of any kind. Do not dry clean indigo dyed FR denim.



Technical Information Bulletin RK-63

Nomex® Flame Resistant Garments Recommendations for Care and Maintenance

Red Kap aramid flame resistant garments are made from DuPont Nomex® fiber. Nomex

fiber is heat resistant and permanently flame resistant. Nomex IIIA®

incorporates an anti-static fiber which reduces nuisance static. In

static-sensitive environments, proper grounding procedures must be observed.

The garments can be laundered at temperatures up to 140°F with good

colorfastness. Processing in hotter formulas may be required to remove soils. It

should be noted that even under the best laundering conditions, color retention

is generally not as good as industrial polyester/cotton blends. These garments

can also be dry cleaned in perchloroethylene or petroleum solvent with no

adverse affect on the flame resistant properties.

Important considerations are temperature control in washing and drying and

removing flammable soils or chemicals that can overwhelm or mask the FR



  Process separately from other types of garments throughout the entire

  operation to prevent accumulation of lint from flammable fibers and minimize


  Sort by shade to reduce staining or color transfer which may occur.

  Use low temperature (140°F maximum), low alkalinity surfactant chemistry for

  water washing. Higher pH products and elevated wash temperatures accelerate

  color loss.

  Washing at hotter temperatures and higher levels of alkalinity may be

  necessary to remove soils. This will not damage the fabric or degrade the FR

  properties but may affect color. Removing flammable soils is more important

  than color retention.

  Use a multiple add procedure (break and second suds) where soil level

  requires. Wash formula and load size should be set up to minimize


  Do not use chlorine bleach. This will weaken the fabric and accelerate color

  loss. Use of oxygen bleach is acceptable where necessary.

  Temperature step-downs between baths should not exceed 15°F and cool to 100°F

  or less before extraction to minimize wrinkling.

  Rinse well and sour properly. Lower pH's will aid in the adhesion of softeners

  although a build-up of softener will reduce wickability and therefore comfort.


  As this fabric does not retain much moisture, short extraction at low levels

  should be sufficient. This should also reduce wrinkling.

  Condition at 140 - 160 F stack temperature so that fabric temperature measured

  in the basket does not exceed 280°F. This fabric will dry rapidly as it does

  not hold much moisture. Excessive heat will cause color loss. Cool down to

  100°F or less and remove promptly from the dryer.

  Shrinkage similar to 65/35 blends can be expected. The fabric will not stretch

  so allow for ease of motion in fitting wearers.

  Tunnel finishing will improve fabric smoothness but may cause hanger