1. #1
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    Default Cleaning Turnout/Bunker Gear

    What is the best way to clean my turnouts? I was told by one of my fellow Explorers that I can use Dawn dish soap but I want to be sure that it doesn't hurt my gear. If I can't use Dawn, then what can I use?

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    Read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations that were (or should have been) issued to you with the gear.

    In general:

    Use the washer at the station, not your washer at home, with a small amount of Tide or Cheer or similar commercial laundry detergent only as indicated by the manufacturer's recomendations. No bleach, no fabric softeners, no other additives.

    Allow gear to air dry. DO NOT USE A CLOTHES DRYER.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations that were (or should have been) issued to you with the gear.

    In general:

    Use the washer at the station, not your washer at home, with a small amount of Tide or Cheer or similar commercial laundry detergent only as indicated by the manufacturer's recomendations. No bleach, no fabric softeners, no other additives.

    Allow gear to air dry. DO NOT USE A CLOTHES DRYER.
    I wasn't told how to clean my gear when I got it. Also, the Fire Chief does not want the Explorers(and Firefighters) to use the station washer for our turnouts(the washer is loaded from the top, so it has that pillar in the center).

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    Don'ts
    Do not use high-velocity power washers or hose streams for cleaning. You may seriously damage the fabrics, seams and reflective trim.
    Do not scrub vigorously with any brush. Moisture barrier and thermal liner materials, seams and reflective trim are particularly vulnerable.
    Do not use any cleaning agent that has a pH greater than 10.5. Even one washing with a high-pH cleaning agent may cause a dramatic and irreversible reduction in the durability and performance of the turnout gear fabrics and trim.
    Do not allow wash or rinse water temperature to exceed 105°F. Higher temperatures will increase fabric shrinkage and risk of degrading the reflective trim.
    Do not use, under any circumstances, chlorine bleach or chlorinated solvents. Even one washing with chlorine bleach may cause a dramatic and irreversible reduction in the durability and performance of the turnout gear fabrics.
    Do not clean soiled or contaminated protective clothing with anything other than similar items of PPE; i.e. clean bunker coats and pants only with bunker coats and pants.

    Do's
    Do use specialty turnout gear cleaner and spotter having neutral pH (5.0 to 10.5). Such products should only be purchased from reputable companies that guarantee that their products are specifically intended for cleaning turnout gear. Examples of such products are Winsol and Citrosqueeze.

    Where liners are separable from outer shells, do clean liners only with liners, and outer shells only with outer shells.

    Pre-Treatment
    1. Wear protective gloves and eye/face splash protection.
    2. Pre-treat severely soiled areas of garment component (e.g. an outer shell or a liner) with a specialty spotter agent for turnout gear. Allow specialty spotter to soak into the fabric and stain; gently scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush may aid in removing of stubborn stains.
    3. for globs of tar that have adhered to the fabric, allow spotter to soak into the tar and fabric. Then, using a plastic or wood scrapper, gently attempt to lift tar.

    Utility Sink Cleaning
    1. Wear protective gloves and eye/face splash protection.
    2. Put garment component(s) in sink but not so many as to prevent thorough cleaning and rinsing.
    3. Fill the sink with water whose temperature does not exceed 130°F.
    4. Add turnout gear cleaning agent or detergent.
    5. Agitate garment component(s) by hand until they are thoroughly wet (the use of a stirring stick is discouraged because it may damage the moisture barrier or the liner seams).
    6. Where time permits, leave the garment component to soak for 10-30 minutes, stubborn soiling will often be more easily removed as a result.
    7. Using a soft bristle brush, scrub soiled areas.
    8. Take particular care when scrubbing the moisture barrier side of the liner or the silver stripe on reflective trim.
    9. Drain the water from the sink.
    10. Squeeze out as much wash water as possible from the garment component(s). (Wringing of the liner is discouraged because such action may damage the moisture barrier or liner seams)
    11. Refill the sink and thoroughly agitate the garment component(s) by hand.
    12. Repeat steps 10 through 12 until the rinse water runs clean.
    13. Dry the garment component(s).
    14. Clean the sink of any residue from washing.
    15. Inspect the dry garment component, rewash if necessary.

    Machine Washing
    N.B. Use a front-loading washing machine only, top-loading agitator machines may damage protective garments.
    1. Wear protective gloves.
    2. Fasten all closures, e.g. hooks & dees, zippers, Velcro, snaps, etc.
    3. Load the machine as per machine manufacturer's instructions.
    4. Select wash cycle and start the machine using water whose temperature does not exceed 105°F.
    5. Add approved turnout gear cleaning agent.
    6. Complete the full cycle, which should include at least two rinses.
    7. Dry the garment component(s).
    8. Inspect the dry garment, rewash if necessary.
    9. If the washing machine is also used to wash items other than PPE, it should be cleaned after each washing of PPE. This cleaning can be accomplished by running it, with no load in it, through one full cycle using detergent and hot water.

    http://www.wfrfire.com/website/front...ning.htm&front

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 1 - Inspection
    Routine Inspection
    Conduct a routine inspection of garments after each use. Look for:
    • Soiling
    • Contamination
    • Physical damage
    • Damaged trim
    • Damaged closures and hardware

    Advanced Inspection
    At a minimum, conduct inspection every 12 months or whenever routine inspections indicate that a problem may exist. Advanced inspection areas include:
    • Moisture barrier and seam sealing integrity
    • Fit and coat/pants overlap
    • Seam integrity including broken or missing stitches
    • Material integrity for loss of strength due to UV or chemical exposure
    • Loss or shifting of thermal liner material
    • Wristlet integrity and functionality
    • Reflective trim and Velcro integrity, attachment and functionality
    • Label integrity and legibility
    • Liner attachment systems
    • Closure system functionality



    Table 2 – Cleaning Procedures
    Routine Cleaning
    Perform the following steps after each use:
    • Brush off debris
    • Rinse with water
    • Lightly scrub item with soft bristle brush, if needed
    • Spot clean, if needed
    • Inspect item
    • Clean again as necessary

    Advanced Cleaning
    At least every six months, subject clothing to more thorough cleaning; general precautions include:
    1. Examine manufacturer’s label
    2. DO NOT USE Chlorine bleach or chlorinated solvents
    3. Use cleaning solutions with a pH range of not less than 6.0 and not greater than 10.5
    4. No high velocity water jets such as power washers
    5. Clean and decontaminate protective ensembles separately from non-protective items
    6. Where shells and liners are separable, clean and decontaminate those items with like items (i.e., shells with shells and liners with liners)

    Procedures when cleaning in a utility sink
    1. Do not overload sink
    2. Pre-treat if necessary
    3. Water not to exceed 105 degrees
    4. Add cleaning solution or detergent
    5. Wear protective gloves & eye/face splash protection
    6. Scrub gently using a soft bristle brush. Use care with moisture barrier assemblies
    7. Drain water from sink
    8. Refill sink; agitate gently using gloved hand or stir stick
    9. Gently wring out garments and drain water
    10. Repeat (7) and (8) until garment is rinsed
    11. Dry the elements
    12. Inspect and rewash if necessary
    13. Rinse out sink

    Procedures for machine washing
    1. Do not overload the machine
    2. Pre-treat if necessary
    3. Fasten all closures, including pocket closures, hook and loop, snaps, zippers, hooks and dees
    4. Turn garment inside out and place in a mesh laundry bag
    5. Wash temperature not to exceed 105 degrees
    6. Add detergent
    7. Run one complete cycle, rinsing at least twice
    8. Dry the elements
    9. Inspect and rewash if necessary
    10. If the machine is to be used for other than protective ensemble elements rinse out machine by running while empty through a complete cycle with 120 degrees to 125 degrees water and detergent

    Air Drying Procedure
    1. Place elements in an area with good ventilation
    2. Do not dry in direct sunlight

    Machine Drying Procedure
    1. Do not overload the machine
    2. Fasten all closures
    3. Turn garments inside out and place in a mesh laundry bag
    4. If the dryer has a no-heat option, use it
    5. If heat must be used, the basket temperature shall not exceed 105 degrees
    6. If heat is used, remove garments before they are completely dry



    http://www.firerescue1.com/Columnist...rticles/85118/
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
    ------------------------------------

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    Quote Originally Posted by whfdExplorer View Post
    I wasn't told how to clean my gear when I got it. Also, the Fire Chief does not want the Explorers(and Firefighters) to use the station washer for our turnouts(the washer is loaded from the top, so it has that pillar in the center).
    Then how does the "Chief" expect it to get washed? How are the firefighters washing their gear as required?

    If he doesn't want it washed at the station, drop it off there and have the "Chief" take care of cleaning it. Don't wash it at home.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Then how does the "Chief" expect it to get washed? How are the firefighters washing their gear as required?

    If he doesn't want it washed at the station, drop it off there and have the "Chief" take care of cleaning it. Don't wash it at home.
    I think they wash their gear in a sink like what RFRDxplorer posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whfdExplorer View Post
    I think they wash their gear in a sink like what RFRDxplorer posted.
    Then it would make sense for you to do the same, huh?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    I would more prefer using a station washer, if you have one. You can also look in a ifstas book. And they tell you how to wash it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Then it would make sense for you to do the same, huh?

    .......Now why didn't I think of that.

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    According to the new NFPA/IAFC Fundamentals of Firefighting book, read the manufacturers instructions listed on the tags on the gear.
    Firefighter/EMT
    My words stated here do not necessarily point towards organizations which I am affiliated with.

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    Thanks to everyone who posted, what you guys said has been a great help. Next time I go to the station, I'll hopefully have time to clean my gear. On a side note, how would I clean my rubber bunker boots?

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    Not to be rude but why are you asking these questions here?

    You're in an Explorer post attached to a fire department. You have adults overseeing the post, there are firefighters and fire officers in the fire department who advise the post. Somebody who owns and is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of the bunker gear issued it to you.

    Why do you belong to the post if it's not to learn from those people directly instead of relying on anonymous posts on an internet forum? Be a part of your group.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    I can never understand the concept of not putting gear in a dryer. Did they forget we do go into burning buildings with wet gear?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Not to be rude but why are you asking these questions here?

    You're in an Explorer post attached to a fire department. You have adults overseeing the post, there are firefighters and fire officers in the fire department who advise the post. Somebody who owns and is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of the bunker gear issued it to you.

    Why do you belong to the post if it's not to learn from those people directly instead of relying on anonymous posts on an internet forum? Be a part of your group.
    Because they told me to use dish soap to clean my turnouts at my house when I am not at the station. This is the reason why I started this tread in the first place; to find out if dish soap is a good alternative to clean my gear. Also Deputy, why are you getting mad at me for me asking questions? I thought that this is the reason why the forums are here. If I have a question and I can't get to the station, I'm going to post it here for someone to try to answer. Yes, I know I should be talking to someone at the department about this but, like I said, Explorers sometimes can not go to the station. If the shift on duty is having a busy day, most of the time they will not let Explorers come in after school for the rest of the day. I'm not meaning to be a butt here, but I am trying to learn something that will help me become a better Explorer and(hopefully one day) a full time firefighter.

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    Unfortunatley, people say that because of a typical type of behavior. Certain explorers/juniors will come here and ask question because they don't like the answer their own department already gave them. Example, they come and ask if explorer can use lights and sirens on their cars and drive apparatus. This is usually because their department already told them NO.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Back on topic...

    Gear should only be washed in an extraction machine. A top loader is made for cleaning station uniforms and bedding, not gear.

    Take a flashlight and look at the bottom of the tub in a top loading washer.. you will find water. This water may contain contaminents washed out of the fabric of the turnouts... which will then be deposited on the clothing of the next person who uses the machine.

    When I was a line oficer, I washed my gear a minimum of quarterly, and after every fire. My FD buys laundry detergent from our ZEP distributor.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by whfdExplorer View Post
    I wasn't told how to clean my gear when I got it. Also, the Fire Chief does not want the Explorers(and Firefighters) to use the station washer for our turnouts(the washer is loaded from the top, so it has that pillar in the center).
    There is a special washer for turnouts at my dept station 4 is the only station that has one. To one find at your dept ask around thats how i found ours.

    http://www.edarley.com/finditem.cfm?itemid=15352
    Last edited by afrexplorer1; 09-21-2007 at 06:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    I can never understand the concept of not putting gear in a dryer. Did they forget we do go into burning buildings with wet gear?
    did you forget about the dryer gnomes? the ones that take your last white sock.. The gnomes have dreams and wanna be firefighters too.. don't trash the gnomes dreams..

    -Damien

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    I can concur with the Jr on this. My dept has an explorer post with idiots running it. But thats who the chief wants doing it since there his buds. We have several kids that ask more expiernced vetran FF what to do on the down low. It sucks for these kids to have to do this but thats politics for you.

    Take your gear to a local laundromat and drop 2.00 in quarters to wash it. Thats what I do now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFENGINE51 View Post
    I can concur with the Jr on this. My dept has an explorer post with idiots running it. But thats who the chief wants doing it since there his buds. We have several kids that ask more expiernced vetran FF what to do on the down low. It sucks for these kids to have to do this but thats politics for you.

    Take your gear to a local laundromat and drop 2.00 in quarters to wash it. Thats what I do now.

    Just stay there and keep an eye on your gear. I know of at least one set of gear that came up missing when using this method when the individual cleaning it went to grab some food.

    Both departments I am on use a fire gear cleaning and repair company to clean our gear.

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    I wash mine at my station. We have a special washer and dryer for just fire gear. I use some normal clothing detergent and it always comes out.

    Every time i wash my gear though there is a major call where i need it but its in the middle of a rinse cycle. haha.

    Dirty gear is not a badge of honor. Keep your gear clean!
    Hello. Fire dept.. You light'em, We fight'em!

    "hard working, gear jamming, nail driving, "jake". "

    IACOJ
    4-16-2010 "On the approach"

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    We just send ours away to be cleaned professionally. Easier, a bit more costly but less chance to do anything and mess it up.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    We just send ours away to be cleaned professionally. Easier, a bit more costly but less chance to do anything and mess it up.
    Whats the company you use and how much does it cost?

    Just out of curiousity.
    Hello. Fire dept.. You light'em, We fight'em!

    "hard working, gear jamming, nail driving, "jake". "

    IACOJ
    4-16-2010 "On the approach"

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemonkey311 View Post
    Whats the company you use and how much does it cost?

    Just out of curiousity.
    Not sure to be honest. It's a small local company. They just started sending it off to them. I came in one night and had a spare set of gear sitting in my locker.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    This is an actual recreation of an event that happened at a county wide training drill involving an old jake and a young fire fighter with filthy ripped up gear.

    Old Jake: You should really wash your gear.

    Young Fire Fighter: I would but I am afraid it might fall apart.

    Old Jake: I use that excuse for my truck.
    Hello. Fire dept.. You light'em, We fight'em!

    "hard working, gear jamming, nail driving, "jake". "

    IACOJ
    4-16-2010 "On the approach"

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