Bulwark® Firewear®

Care & Cleaning Information for Bulwark® FireWear® Apparel

FireWear® is a flame resistant blend of 55% Fibrous Flame Retardant Fiber (FFR) and 45% combed cotton. The FFR fiber is spun with a flame retardant in the fiber forming polymer. The flame resistant characteristics of the fabric are permanent and are not degraded by laundering.

The FireWear® protective properties come from the FFR fiber which is self-extinguishing. When exposed to flames or temperatures in excess of 500ºF, noncombustible gases are released to prevent the fabric from burning. The fabric manufacturer reports theses gases have been extensively tested and are not harmful to the wearer.

Flame resistant garments should be removed immediately and replaced with clean FR apparel if they become fouled with flammable material.

Flame resistant apparel should be washed using soft water (less than 4.0 grains). Hard water adversely affects cleaning, resulting in increased detergent usage. Hard water contains mineral salts that can form insoluble deposits on the surface of fabrics. Sufficient buildup can negate the flame resistant characteristics of the garment, and may serve as fuel if garments are exposed to an ignition source.

The greater level of mechanical action, abrasion, and harsher chemistry typical to professional laundries can accelerate fabric fading, high point abrasion, cause fabric sheen, and create collar and interlining impressions. Turning FireWear® garments inside out prior to wash can help reduce appearance issues.

  • Process separately from other types of garments throughout the entire operation to prevent accumulation of lint and to minimize pilling.
  • Use low temperature wash formulas (110°F to 120ºF maximum), low alkalinity surfactant chemistry. Higher bath temperatures will significantly increase fabric shrinkage while elevated pH levels will adversely affect color and appearance.
  • Do not use chlorine bleach or detergents containing chlorine bleach. The use of these products will accelerate color loss and reduce useful service life. Non-chlorine bleach alternatives may be used if necessary.
  • Rinse well and sour properly. We recommend a fabric pH between 5.5 and 6.5 for wearer comfort.
  • Do not use fabric softeners or starch on FireWear®. These products coat the fibers and buildup to the point they form a flammable layer on fiber surfaces masking the flame resistant properties.
  • Condition at a stack setting of 140°-160°F so measured fabric temperatures in the basket do not exceed 230°F. Excessive fabric shrinkage can be expected if garments are exposed to higher temperatures in conditioning. Do not over dry. Cool to 100°F or less prior to removal.
  • FireWear® apparel may be tunnel finished to improve appearance. Operating temperatures must be reduced so temperatures measured on garments while in the tunnel do not exceed a maximum of 230ºF or excessive shrinkage can be expected.
  • Wash and dry separately to prevent accumulation of lint that may contribute to pilling.
  • Pre-treat greasy, oily stains and do not overload the washer to help insure removal of soils.
  • Wash using the permanent press cycle (no hotter than 120ºF). Higher temperatures may contribute to excessive shrinkage.
  • Use any home laundry detergent following the manufacturer's recommendations. Do not use chlorine bleach or detergents containing chlorine bleach as fabrics will lose color rapidly and service life will be reduced. Non-chlorine bleach products may be used if necessary.
  • Do not use fabric softeners. Do not use starch. These products coat fibers and buildup leaving a flammable layer that can mask the flame resistant properties.
  • Tumble dry FireWear® apparel using the permanent press or lowest temperature setting. Do not over dry. Excessive drying temperatures and over drying will cause excessive shrinkage.
  • Garments can be touched up with an iron if desired. Use the lowest possible setting, typically permanent press or the acetate or acrylic setting.

Either perchloroethylene or petroleum solvent can be used. In cases of heavy, oily soil, this may be the preferred approach. With petroleum, it is necessary to ensure all solvent has been completely dried from the garment.


Minor repairs that do not affect the integrity of the garment should be made with like materials by sewing on patches or darning small holes.

The information in this bulletin is based on the results of testing in our laboratory and information from the fabric vendor. It is provided for your guidance and knowledge. As of the publication date, this bulletin contains up to date information on care and cleaning. Please visit our website at www.bulwark.com for the latest information.

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How flame-resistant fabrics work

Flame-resistant (FR) fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement, and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of the ignition source.

Normal work apparel will ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition source such as flame or electric arc. Everyday fabrics will continue to burn until they are extinguished or all flammable material is consumed.