How To Keep Hi-Vis Clothing Clean

Posted by Cathy Houghton at

Whether you are working in the construction industry or another field requiring high visibility (hi-vis) clothing, keeping your work uniform clean and tidy should always be your top priority. Whether it’s a fireman’s jacket or a reflective wind breaker for running at night, you probably know how difficult it can be to clean hi-vis clothing. If you use soap that is too harsh, the material ends up falling apart. Too gentle, and the material doesn’t get cleaned properly. However, there are a few top tips to consider when wondering how to clean hi-vis clothing. If you’ve recently purchased new Snickers hi-vis clothing, follow the advice listed below to keep your Snickers workwear trousers and vests looking good for months to come. 

What to Consider When Cleaning Hi-Vis Clothing 

Temperature: The washing temperature must be kept high enough to remove stains effectively but not too high to cause lasting damage to the clothes.

pH: Excessive or prolonged alkalinity can cause damage to the reflective tape. Under no circumstance should pH levels of 11 be exceeded.

Multiple washes: Repeated washing or abrasion by the wearer can cause the reflective tape to degrade over time. The effects of this are especially noticeable to the joints of the clothes, such as the knees and elbows.

Make sure you always read the care label on your new Snickers hi-vis vest or jacket. It specifies how many times the clothing item can be washed before it must be discarded. Typical hi-vis clothing needs to be replaced after roughly twenty cleaning cycles. Once the colour of hi-vis clothing has begun to fade, immediately dispose of it. Hi-vis clothing is designed to make you stand out in the dark or a crowd, and when it begins to dull, it starts to lose its designed function.

How often should you clean hi-vis clothing? 

You should only clean hi-vis clothing when the intensity of the clothes colour has been affected. Usually, all you need to do is use a dry cloth and gently rub off any loose dirt or debris on the clothes.

How do you remove stains from hi-vis clothing? 

First, use a clean, dry cloth to remove loose dirt from the clothing. This is essential to avoid dirt and grime from settling in the material during the wash. These can also be abrasive towards the apparel. Only use cold water and mild detergent when washing high-vis clothing. If you are unsure what kind of detergent you should use, use a neutral detergent or mild shampoo. Allow the clothes to soak in a tub for twenty to thirty minutes.

Then, gently rub the vest with a light brush, focusing on the brightly coloured areas to thoroughly remove any stubborn stains. This is safer than washing it in a washing machine because you can control how much force you use. Lastly, dry the clothes in the shade. Avoid drying them in direct sunlight as UV exposure can damage the reflectivity of the clothes. If the clothes are still soapy for whatever reason, rinse them in cold water and dry them again.

For very stubborn stains, only use stain removers marked safe for bright colours and ones that don’t contain bleach. There are many good options on the market today, but make sure you double-check their packaging before using them on your new Snickers workwear trousers or jacket.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Hi-Vis Clothing

  • Brightening agents in washing products: Some detergents may contain optical brightening agents (OBA's), which can adversely affect the retro reflective tape and fabrics, jeopardising fabric and tape luminosity. 
  • Avoid mixing hi-vis Snickers trousers and Snickers hi-vis jackets with rough fabrics. Rough fabrics, such as jeans, can damage the heat transfer film that enables reflectivity.  
  • Washing with mixed colours: This can stain the clothing. Only wash hi-vis clothes with clothes in similar colours.  
  • Dry cleaning – this will almost certainly damage the clothing. 
  • Using bleach or fabric softeners. 

If you need to use washing machine and a dryer, follow these tips: 

  • Use the delicate cycle on your washing machine with a light detergent.
  • Use your dryer’s lowest heat setting or line dry your hi-vis clothes.
  • Remove your clothes once the cycle is complete to prevent permanent creases.
  • Hang hi-vis clothes (especially hi-vis jackets) on a hanger until you wear them again. This will prevent unwanted creases from developing.

Regardless of why you are choosing to wear a Snickers hi-vis vest or jacket, the whole purpose of these clothing items is for you to be seen. Keeping your hi-vis jacket and clean and hygienic is essential for your safety and the safety of others around you. While you don’t want to overdo the washing of this item, it should be kept clean enough to be bright and visible at all times. Snickers workwear offers a full range of high-quality hi-vis clothing, which are easy to wash when needed, thanks to the clear care instructions on each item. 

Reference video: Malta Dynamics

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