Can You Dry Fire Retardant Clothing?

Dry fire retardant clothing and washing them when required will help make them effective for longer. But the key is ensuring you carefully dry and wash your fire retardant clothes and use cleaners and detergents that don’t damage or ruin their protective capabilities.

As long as you’re correctly washing the fire retardant clothes as intended and using the right equipment, you’ll be able to wash flame retardant clothing easily, safely, and effectively. 

3 Types Of Flame Retardant Fabrics

Knowing the varying types of flame retardant fabrics is important as different types come with different care and safety considerations. 

Inherently Fire Retardant Fibers

These are fibers that are naturally fire resistant, so there is no need to use fire retardant chemicals to alter their fire resistance.

Treated Fabrics

Fire retardant chemicals are used to make these fabrics fire-resistant. Cotton is an example; it’s not naturally fire resistant, but by using fire retardant chemicals, cotton can be made fire resistant. 


Some fire-retardant fabrics are a hybrid combination of inherently fire-retardant fibers and treated ones

Dry Fire Retardant workwear
Source: Unsplash

How To Wash Your Fire Retardant Clothing?

  • Wash your fire retardant clothing separately. When fire retardant clothing is washed with other clothing that is not fire resistant, its protection may decrease. Separately washing your FR clothing will prevent your FR clothes from being contaminated.
  • Before you load your fire-retardant clothes into the washer, turn them inside out. This will reduce streaking and abrasion.
  • Avoid washing at the hottest temperature setting. If the temperature of the water is too high, your flame retardant clothing may shrink. Select warm or cool temperatures. Your clothing’s care label will have information regarding what’s the optimum and maximum temperature for it. Avoid letting the clothes soak in the washer for too long, as it can damage the garment’s protective capabilities.
  • Wash your fire-retardant clothes with a non-bleach detergent. Bleach can harm your FR clothing. Check the label on your detergent to ensure it doesn’t contain liquid non-chlorine or chlorine bleach. Liquid detergent is your best option for washing your FR garment. Avoid fabric softeners and starch also, as both can damage your clothing’s protection.

Drying Your Fire Retardant Clothing

  • Fit your fire retardant clothes to check how much they’ve shrunk. Even if you took preventative measures, fire-retardant clothing could still shrink by 5% when drying 
  • When drying your FR clothing, select a low or medium setting. They will prevent excessive shrinking
  • Avoid using fabric sheets in the dryer. These can leave a flammable coating on your clothes reducing their protection from fire
  • Avoid over-drying. Drying your clothing, even if they aren’t wet anymore, can increase shrinkage

Removing Stains

  • If your FR clothing gets dirty, clean it as fast as possible otherwise, its protection will decrease
  • Use hot water and detergent. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, and then rinse the detergent.
  • Avoid bleach-based products
  • Check the label if your FR clothing can be dry-cleaned. If it can, it’ll help remove deeper stains
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