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Do you want to extend the lifespan of your work gloves? Keep them clean. No, that doesn’t mean treading lightly at work and avoiding all things dirty and grimy. It simply means only laundering them when they’re soiled.
A professional glove laundering service can maintain the integrity of any washable glove, and they know how do to launder them correctly. But, as a guideline, or in case you want to launder your own gloves, here are some of the most common glove fibers and the recommended methods for taking them from grungy back to sparkling clean again.
How to Wash Work Gloves
1. Kevlar® Really is Tough
The same Kevlar® material that protects hands against numerous workplace hazards also performs very well in the wash. Avoid chlorine bleach and strong acids, oxidizers and bases, and your Kevlar® gloves will be in the clear throughout numerous launderings.
For traditional laundering, use hot water and about 5 pounds of soap or detergent for every 100 pounds of Kevlar®. Launder the gloves for 20 minutes, and rinse them in hot water. If they don’t come clean the first time around, you can launder them again, then rinse them in cold water. Note: This amazing material can also withstand tumble drying at up to 155°F/70°C for about 35 minutes.
2. Dyneema® is a Bit More Finicky
As with Kevlar®, Dyneema® stands up to repeated laundering without compromising the integrity of the glove fibers. It can even withstand chlorine bleach. However, this material can’t tolerate intense heat. For this reason, make sure you avoid wash and dry temperatures above 291°F/144°C to keep your Dyneema® gloves in tip top shape.
You can safely clean Dyneema® using laundry detergent, ammonium, sodium hydroxide, and hydrochloric acid, and this fabric will still retain its performance. But, for safety, it’s best to only wash these types of gloves in cold water and dry them using no heat or on the lowest heat setting.
3. Nylon, Wool and Cotton/Poly Blends Need Minimal Care
Good news: nylon, wool, and cotton/polyester gloves can all be safely laundered to help preserve their lifespan. The care required of each of these materials is very similar, with just a slight difference in temperature settings.
Ordinary laundry detergent works well with nylon and cotton/polyester, but wool requires a gentler detergent. Launder nylon and cotton/polyester in 105°F/40°C water, but make sure you use 70°F/20°C or lower for wool. For drying, cotton/poly gloves can withstand tumbling on medium heat. But, for nylon and wool, use no heat or the lowest possible setting. Coated gloves are a bit different from the other materials. They require laundering in cold water with a mild detergent and tumbling on a low or no heat setting.
Surprisingly, there are only two types of work glove materials that require professional cleaning: Proban® and leather. Proban® and any flame-retardant material can only withstand a set number of washings, but they’re also susceptible to flammability when certain contaminants build up. It’s a big conundrum. Leather gloves should also be professionally cleaned using a dry cleaning method. (Detergent or soap can remove all of the natural oils in the hide, making them stiff once dry. Nobody wants that!)
A clean work glove lasts longer, which saves you money in the long run. As contaminants build up, they can break down the glove fibers and even pose a flammability risk. For this reason, your safest best is to launder your gloves on a regular basis. Looking for more information about how to properly launder your work gloves and sleeves? Download our Glove Laundering Guide now.
Have your gloves seen better days? Not sure if they’re on their last leg? Did you know that we offer FREE glove audits? That’s right — we’ll send our brilliant glove experts right to your door. They’ll evaluate the hazards and demands of your workplace and pair you with the best PPE for your industry on the market. What are you waiting for? Request your free glove audit now.
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Hand Injury Rates are Reduced by 60% when using the right gloves.