Aluminized PPE are often used by firefighters (ARFF) and steelworkers as protection against radiant heat. Because aluminized fabric is the most effective material to reflect infrared heat waves from a clothing, aluminized PPE are highly recommended for all the people working in a high temperature environment. However, unlike other types of clothing, aluminized garments cannot be laundered. This makes them difficult to clean and to decontaminate. Properly inspecting, cleaning and repairing your proximity suit is essential to its safety and efficiency.
Why is it important to take care of your aluminized PPE?
A dirty aluminized PPE suit can considerably alter its comfort and its ability to protect you. Not properly maintained, a suit can end up being very uncomfortable, diminishing your efficiency at work, increasing risks, and having a shorter lifespan. For instance, a dusty suit may obstruct the reflective surface of the outer shell, leading to a poor protection against radiant heat. A defective zip or a torn coverall may lead to partial exposure to radiant heat that can be associated to dangerous consequences. Exposed to toxic smokes, a proximity gear can also carry away carcinogenic particles that can be harmful for the user.
Sweat inside a PPE not properly cleaned can generate odours. Bad smells can create discomfort to the user leading to a lower performance at best or even accidents due to improper usage in the worst case scenario.
How to clean your aluminized PPE: the Don’ts
Unlike other protective clothing, aluminized fabrics are not suitable for laundry. Water and repetitive frictions will alter the chemical composition of the material, leading to delamination issues of the aluminized layers or apparition of creases and cracks on the surface. The consequence is a loss of reflection, thus affecting its performance to radiant heat.
2. Chemical cleaning:
In parallel to water cleaning, dry cleaning can also damage the coating of your aluminized PPE suit, rendering the surface dull and less reflective.
How to clean your aluminized PPE: The Dos
1. Wipe the surface with a dry cloth:
For the aluminized outer shell, use a dry cloth (microfibre cloth works best) to gently wipe the surface of grease or residue. In case of light stains, we recommend using isopropyl alcohol to help clean the fabric. It won’t affect the surface and help sanitize the fabric.
2. Sanitize using alcohol :
For the inside of the suit, we recommend sanitizing after usage by spraying isopropyl alcohol and let the suit dry inside-out in a ventilated place for a couple of hours. If the odour persists, using housekeeping smell remover is possible but make sure to only use it on the inside of the suit.
3. Vacuum particles and dust:
We recommend using a simple vacuum machine. You can use on the interior by using a brush nozzle to remove the dust and prevent a too strong suction.
Who are we?
OTEGO is French technical textile company specialized into developing and manufacturing fabrics for heat and flame protection, mechanical and chemical release and abrasion resistant applications, using coating and lamination technologies.
We work closely with our customers to define their needs, in order to not simply provide them with materials but also with smart solutions. We offer a complete range of heat protective fabrics for firefighting garments and steel industry (foundries, furnaces).