No item is ever completely flame-proof, but certain treated fabrics do have greater resistance to fire and heat. In the home, you’re likely to find fire-resistant fabric on your oven gloves: it helps to keep them intact despite close contact with hot pans and oven trays. Curtains and children’s sleepwear are also sometimes made using fire-resistant material.
Unfortunately, the treatment to make fabric more flame-proof doesn’t make it stain-proof, so you’ll still find yourself washing these items regularly. So, can flame-retardant be washed out? There are a few laundry methods that can damage a flame-retardant or resistant finish, but they’re easily avoided. Here’s how.
How to wash fire-retardant clothing and other items
The tips below should help you wash fire-resistant material safely, but it’s still a good idea to check the label on the garment before you start. This will tell you any additional important factors to take into account. If there are any images on the label that you aren’t familiar with, our guide to to wash care symbols can help.
- Washable flame-resistant fabrics should only be washed in detergent, never soap. This is because the soap's natural ingredients can react with the minerals in water to leave an insoluble film on the fabric, which can damage the flame-resistant finish.
- Don't wash above 50°C.
- Avoid soaking, as this can also damage the flame-resistant finish.
- A liquid fabric conditioner can be used, but be sure to follow the care label instructions carefully.
- Fabric softeners are not for use on children's sleepwear, or other garments labelled as flame-resistant, as they may reduce that flame resistance.
- Trimmings on garments can affect how they are washed or which product is used. For example, if a garment has a leather collar the care label may say "Dry Clean Only" even if the rest of the garment is washable.
There you have it: your flame-resistant items can be clean once again. Care needs to be taken when washing this type of fabric, but it’s not impossible, so there’s no need to throw those food-spattered oven gloves in the bin.
So, now that you know how to wash flame-resistant fabric, what else can we help you with? For more help with laundry dilemmas, why not check out the rest of the Laundry Tips section on our site? We’ve got handy guides to help you remove common (and rare) stains, safely wash many different kinds of fabric, and get the most out of your laundry detergent as well. Try it out here.