How to Wash Safety/High Visibility Vests (Step By Step)

How to Wash Safety VestsHigh visibility vests are made of retro-reflective materials and fluorescent dyes. They attract eyes from distance because of the luminance and vibrancy in their colors. They are very important in terms of safety in workplaces to make you visible in high traffic areas.

But, the truth is they will stop giving you the protection once they lose their luminance or brightness and that is bound to happen if you do not clean and wash them properly.

Washing the high visibility safety vests isn’t that easy as washing normal clothes because you need to be very careful about fading of the colors. And once the fluorescent colors are lost, the safety vests would be of no use for your safety. Dirt and grime can easily settle on the microscopic glass beads that are present on the retro-reflective tapes.

So, while washing the safety vests, be careful you do not wash them along with other rough fabrics like jeans and use a mild detergent that won’t take off colors from the safety vests that easily.

Not only this, there are also other ways and tips to wash your high visibility safety vests and in this article, I am going to share with you the most effective and proven ones.

So, let’s get started with the infographic on how to clean reflective vest!How to wash safety vests infographic

Steps to Wash High Visibility Safety Vests

washing his vis clothesAs I have mentioned earlier, washing high visibility safety vests demands some extra care and that can be taken care of by following the simple steps stated below:

1.) The very first step is to remove the loose dirt from the safety vests using a clean dry cloth, else that dirt and grime can settle in the fabrics of the cloth while the washing cycle.

2.) Only use cold water for washing the high visibility clothes.

3.) Use very mild detergent to wash them.

4.) Remember NOT to wash them with other rough fabrics like jeans or work clothes because rough fabrics might pull away the reflective heat transfer film that enables the safety vests to reflect light back in low-lighting conditions.

How to remove stains from the high visibility safety vests?

If you are a construction worker, it is inevitable to catch hold of stains in your high visibility safety vests. But that again demands immediate cleaning because stains would obstruct the visibility of the clothes:

1.) At first you need to work out the stains using a dry cloth for the loose dirt that can go off with the mild rubbing of the dry cloth.

2.) Next take a mild stain remover those are marked safe for fluorescent colors.

3.) Use a dry cotton cloth to apply the stain remover on the spots.

4.) Do not go harsh with the stains or you might end up fading the fluorescent colors and reduce the reflectivity of the safety vest.

Top 10 Best High Visibility Work Jacket

Do not forget to dry them after the cleaning process:

Drying the safety vests correctly is very important and do not forget to read the drying instruction label on your safety vests before carrying out any procedure.

Heating the safety vests in machine will end up damaging the heat transfer film on the reflective tapes and it might also damage the adhesives used in attaching the reflective tapes:

→ While machine drying your safety vest, put on the lowest heating temperature.

→ Once complete, take out the safety vests immediately and hang them using a hanger under the fan.

OxiClean Stain remover safety vest

→ Shout, OxiClean, Zout, Fels Naptha Soap and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser are good options to consider for removing stains from your high visibility safety vests.

Note: It is always better to avoid heat drying your safety vests. Drying them under the fan in normal temperatures is always advisable.

Pro tips:

Do not rush out from the site before reading our pro tips because they are valuable:

      • Never forget to read the washing and cleaning instructions on the label of your safety vests.
      • Never use alkaline detergent for washing, it will damage the fluorescent colors.
      • Instead, use a neutral detergent. 
      • Neutral detergents are cold water soluble.
      • If you are still confused, use a mild shampoo instead for the washing process.
      • Soak the safety vest in the mild shampoo and cold water solution for about 10 minutes.
      • Then gently hand-scrub the safety vest.
      • Do not dry-heat the safety vests because heat will only damage the luminous fabric of the cloth.
      • Never dry your safety vests under the sun after washing. UV exposure will again damage the reflecting ability of the safety vests.
      • Try to always line-dry your reflective high visibility safety vests.
      • Never ever use bleaching agents to remove stains from the high visibility safety vests. It will not only remove the stains but also fade the reflective properties of the cloth thus throwing you in danger as your visibility will be dimmed in required conditions.
      • Do not dry clean safety vests.

See also: Best Class 3 Safety Vests for Work

What do the washing icons on the safety vests mean?

Washing icons on the safety vest

How to Clean a Hi-vis Jacket?

Cleaning a hi-vis jacket is quite similar to that of cleaning a safety vest with just the difference that whereas it is easy to clean to clean safety vest with hand, you will need the washer to wash hi-vis jackets.

Let’s see the cleaning steps below:

      1. Take a clean dry cloth to remove any loose and dry dirt from the hi-vis jacket
      2. Use a stain remover that does not contain any bleaching agent to remove stains in specific areas only
      3. Use a mild detergent in the washer (that do not contain any bleaching agent)
      4. Put the hi-vis jacket in the washer and turn on the “delicate cycle” option of the machine
      5. Once the machine is done with the washing turn on the “no heat” setting of the dryer
      6. Take out the hi-vis jacket and hang it in the hanger

Points to remember:

      • Do not use the heat settings of the dryer to dry the hi-vis jacket
      • Do not dry them in the sun
      • Do not wash them with harsh clothes or clothes that may give up colours
      • Do not scrub the hi-vis jacket
      • Do not squeeze hi-vis jackets

Why wash safety vests?

It is for the very same reason that you wash your daily clothing!

To clean them and to get rid of the dirt and grime!

Often while working you tend to make your safety vests dirty with the dust and other elements at work. It might be that you rub your dirty hands on the safety vests unknowingly or your safety vest might get stained with dirt from the cement at the construction, or it might be just the pollution that starts gathering in your vests, making them dirty after a couple of days!

The end result is that your safety vests become dark in color and the fluorescent color of the vest that was supposed to give you safeguard by making you visible to the impending dangers, get diminished. 

So, in simple words dirt will diminish the intensity of the fluorescent color of the vest and it will not be easily visible to the impending danger from far and thus your safety would be at stake!

Therefore, it is very important to wash your safety vests before it loses its fluorescence intensity.

Discover the top safety vest for men and women in the video below

Top 10 Safety Vest For Construction For Men And Women

Before we say Good Bye:

Safety Vest wash labelRemember, different safety vests have different care labeling on them. So, before beginning with the washing process, make sure you read the care instructions very carefully because once damaged, the safety vests would be of no use to you.

The care-labeling also specifies the number of times the safety vest can be washed before its time to abandon it permanently. For example, say 50 washes.

So, count the number of times you have washed your high visibility safety vest.

Once the color of the safety vest has started fading, immediately discard them.

Do not wash the safety along with any other colored clothes or rough fabric clothes. They will only stain and damage your safety vest’s longevity.

Never use a steam iron to remove creases from your safety vests.

Well that was all we had to say about washing and cleaning your safety vests. Hope you have learnt the do’s and don’ts of washing safety vests. You can thank us later! LOL!

Well that’s all guys for today’s article. We will be soon back with another care instruction soon.

Till then take care, stay safe and…

Work safely!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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