‘Life of the Garment’ Limits FR Protection

Inherent Flame Resistance Never Washes Off Or Wears Away with TenCate Protective Fabrics

Laundering FR FabricsWhen selecting a fabric for a flame-resistant clothing program, safety managers are often confronted with a lot of promises.

“It can sometimes get really confusing,” says Celina Green, an FR education specialist with TenCate Protective Fabrics. “All the standards like 70E and 2112. Then there’s the OSHA rules. A safety manager is forced to digest a lot in a little amount a time.”

Ms. Green explains that it can get even more murky with some of the claims made by chemically treated cotton manufacturers.

“I think the most misleading phrase [for chemically treated cotton and cotton blend garments] has to be ‘life of the garment,’” Ms. Green says.

This refers to the fire protection promises often added to cotton and cotton blends that have a fire-retardant chemical added after the fabric has been made.

Because that chemical can wear off over time and with every laundering — especially when washed improperly — the exact moment when that chemical dissipates from the fabric is rather imprecise.

“Chemically treated cotton and cotton blends like 88/12 don’t come with an indicator on their protection,” Ms. Green says. “You can’t see when the protection is gone or even at a less than ideal percentage.”

On the other hand, one need never worry about FR protection with textiles from TenCate Protective Fabrics.

“All of our textiles are inherently flame resistant,” Ms. Green says. “Like in TenCate Tecasafe Plus, our fiber blend is flame resistant before we even make yarn. No chemicals needed!”

If a scrap of TenCate Tecasafe Plus fabric is found in a future archaeological dig, it would still wouldn’t catch on fire.

“TenCate Protective Fabrics only makes inherently flame resistant textiles,” Ms. Green says. “The protection never washes off or wears away.”

While one should never use fabric softener because it’s flammable and assuring it’s completely rinsed from the fibers is impossible, many TenCate fabrics can be laundered like most of other colored clothing without any special care instructions.

“Even TenCate Tecasafe Plus Knit Fabric can be washed at home but it’s also strong and durable enough for industrial laundering.” Ms. Green explains.

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