While it may seem obvious, one of the easiest things you can do to decrease your PPE cost is to take care of it. Companies who properly launder their safety gloves can often increase lifespan by up to 300%. Laundering removes harmful chemicals, perspiration, and everyday grit and grime that can weaken protective fibers and seams. Think of the grit like sandpaper. Every move you make is creating friction as these particles rub against the threads of your gloves.
Additionally, many OBMs and other chemicals over time begin to break down the fabrics from which gloves are made. Even OSHA has a statement regarding PPE cleaning “Clean and properly maintained PPE is important to ensure the effectiveness and proper functioning of PPE…“
At HexArmor®, we have countless examples of companies that instituted simple cleaning procedures whereby doubling, or tripling the life of their gloves. Some of the things that we have seen work well include:
- Provide each worker two pairs of gloves, which they alternate daily. This gives the gloves an opportunity to dry out, which extends life;
- Purchase a scratch-and-dent washing machine from your local appliance center and wash gloves each night with Dawn® dishwashing liquid, Oxy Clean®, or Simple Green® to remove as many oils as possible. When using laundry detergent, powdered works better than gels;
- If you don’t have access to a washing machine, rinse off and scrub with Dawn® dishwashing liquid or Simple Green®;
- Wash your gloves with your hands in them like you are washing your hands. Then use an old toothbrush to remove sand and debris from the seams. Let dry overnight;
- Make sure gloves fit correctly , as wearing the wrong size can reduce glove life;
- If one hand of a glove gets ruined, make sure you keep the other glove available in case the opposite glove gets ruined for someone else;
- Check the care label of all gloves, or check the website for launder-ability. Some materials and gloves are not launderable or lose their performance when washed;
- Always store your gloves or other PPE in a dry, ventilated area away from the sun. Moisture, heat, and UV light can over time break down components of almost all PPE.
Download washing instructions: Glove Care
This article was originally published in HexArmor Safety Blog, March 2015.
If you have questions about the hand protection equipment for your specific application, please contact one of PK Safety Customer Service experts at 800-829-9580, or visit pksafety.com.