5 tips for washing functional work clothing

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Do you wear functional work clothing on the job and have to wash it yourself? If so, you likely know that washing it isn’t as straightforward as washing your casual clothes. How do you keep the logos intact and ensure your clothes get really clean without looking worn out? In this article, I’ll share 5 tips for washing functional work clothing.

5 tips for washing functional work clothing
Photo:  PlanetCare – Unsplash

Who is responsible?

It’s easy for an employer to tell you to wash your own clothes. This saves the company a lot of work, time, and energy. In some cases, you can indeed wash your work clothes at home, but you need to be critical.

The following work clothes are better not washed at home:

  • Clothes with special coatings, for example, against chemicals.
  • When you work with asbestos or other carcinogenic substances.
  • High-visibility clothing with fluorescent fabrics and reflective bands.
  • Clothes that should only be washed a few times (like flame-retardant clothing) as they lose their protective qualities after several washes.
  • Clothes that need to be washed very well and hot due to hygiene concerns.

The above list includes some examples; in practice, it is much longer. There are countless situations where you should not wash your work clothes at home. Be critical when your employer asks you to do so. The company might not be aware of the consequences or dangers involved.


2. Washing labels and sorting

Do you wear work clothes that you can wash at home? Always check the washing label and, more importantly, follow these washing instructions carefully. This might mean you have to run two or three different loads, but this ensures you’ve followed the advice.

If you’re unsure about the washing symbols and what they mean, use your phone. Some new phones now have a built-in feature that explains what the washing symbols mean. All you have to do is take a picture, and the details under the photo will provide the explanation.

Pay close attention when sorting the laundry. It’s best to wash work clothes separately. If the work clothes are mainly dirty from dust and sweat, you can combine them with your casual clothes.


3. Pre-treat stains

If there are stubborn stains on the clothes, it’s advisable to pre-treat them. For fabrics that can be washed at a maximum of 40 degrees, use a stain remover. There are numerous types and brands available. If in doubt, read online reviews or check which ones are best-selling. 


4. Limit damage

Want to prevent your clothes from getting damaged during washing? Pay attention to the following points:

    • Close all zippers. This prevents the zipper teeth from rubbing against the fabrics.
    • Avoid short or water-saving programs. These programs may use higher spin speeds, which can damage your clothes more quickly.
    • Pay attention to the properties of the detergent you use. Some detergents contain bleach, which can affect both the color and special coatings on your clothing.


5. Do not use fabric softeners

When washing your work clothes, it’s better not to use fabric softeners. This can cause logos and reflective bands to come off. The fabric can also discolor, making it no longer meet the required standards. It’s also not advisable if the clothing has a special coating. Fabric softener creates an extra layer over the fabric.

Looking for a good alternative? Check out the article I previously wrote about fabric softeners and work clothing.

What are your tips for washing functional work clothing?

Best regards,


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