View Poll Results: How do you wash your bunker gear?

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  • Cleaning agents from manufactuer

    3 6.67%
  • Gear cleaning agents sold from local dealer

    14 31.11%
  • Regular laundry detergent

    24 53.33%
  • No cleaning agent at all

    4 8.89%
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    shammrock54's Avatar
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    Default Washing Bunker Gear

    What do you or your dept use to wash your turnout gear? In my dept we just use regular liquid laundry detergent. We wash liners, shells, and hoods in it and haven't had a problem.
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  2. #2
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    we have 2 washing machines 1 on the east side and 1 on the west, these are the heavy duty type machines that add the detergents and cleaners automaticaly also cleans gear for blood borne pathogens. rather expensive machines but they get the job done.

  3. #3
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    There is no problem with doing this. The garment labels that now come with gear all recoomend this. Things to remember:

    wash liners separate from shells

    no bleach/chlorine

    liquid detergents recommended

    front loading washers recommended... extractors preferred

    best to have a dedicated machine... don't use a public machine or even worse, your one at home

    air dry out of sunlight/UV light. fans work swell.

  4. #4
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    We purchased a machine that is advertised for washing turnout gear. From what I can remeber it is called a Uni-Mac (not sure if thats right). It is advertised in Firehouse Magazine and Fire Engineering. It works great however if I remeber right it costs us $10,000. we also purchased a industrial dryer to go along with it. As for detergent, we order it locally. It is made by Lever 2000. It also has a neutralizer that goes with it. If you are doing a search for the machine, I believe it is advertised as an extracter.

  5. #5
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    Interesting, we use a washer and dryer that we some how acquired.
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  6. #6
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    Our Dept uses a standard home type heavy duty washer, and regular detergent to wash with. We hang dry everything inside the building - takes about a day to dry liners and shells. Other than the washer is dedicated strictly to washing gear and rags nothing special about it.
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  7. #7
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    I just take out the liners, wash them in a washer.
    take the outers outside with a bucket & brush ,hose it off.
    hang on the line for a day

  8. #8
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    You can find washing instruction for Kevlar(PBI), Nomex, and Spectra @ http://www.hatch-corp.com/OtherPages/care.html. They are pretty straight foward and should help anyone looking for advice. The one thing noted is never use bleach.

  9. #9
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    marcelstl...do not wash your liner in a machine that has an agitator in it. The twisting back and forth action tears at the fibers and destroys it causing delamination....especially in the vapor barrier.

    Also...a reminder to all. You should air dry the gear. DO NOT DRY IN A DRYER and do not place in direct sunlight.

    Also...make sure you check the PH of the material you are using to wash with. It should be no higher than 10.5 per NFPA 1851. Make sure it does not contain sodium hydroxied, sodium silicates and sodium hypochlorites. Ask for the MSDS sheets. These are all chemicals in bleach.

    Yes...wash liner and outer shell seperately.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  10. #10
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    We have the comercial front loading type machine and use a non bleach liquid detergent. For drying, we take out the bottom racks of our mechanical hose dryer and hang the gear in there. The hose dryer worked so well, one of our fire fighters made a second one with a squirell cage fan on top just for the gear. It will hold and dry 3 full sets of bunkers in a matter of a couple hours.

  11. #11
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    Question Drying

    I have always wondered why you shouldn't dry your gear in a machine.

    Is it the tumbling??? Like the washers tumble? (front loader)

    Is it the heat??? It can't be the heat!!!

    Just curious.
    FTM-PTB
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  12. #12
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    gfdtrk4 That is a good question... I have asked it also and never got a good answer. It has to do with the garment not having a way to relieve the heat... I think...
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  13. #13
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    Default gfdtrk4

    When we bought our washer and dryer, we were told by a neighboring dept who had purchased one a year or so before us that when they dried their gear, they started noticing the seams on the gear started giving out a lot quicker.

    When they stopped using the dryer, the seams stayed.

  14. #14
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    We have an extractor to wash our gear, and a front-loading dryer. Not sure what the detergent is that is used for the gear - it's a liquid that's sucked out of some bottles that sit alongside, and I've never had to change them. The dryer is an industrial-sized unit, but it's more of an airflow dryer, as there's no heat involved. Takes about 1.5 hrs to dry the shells or liners.
    Never have seen any problems with seams coming apart using this method. Machine design maybe?
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