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  • washing turnout gear

    Can anyone help me out with ways to washing turnout gear? Im on a Search and Rescue team thats with the county's EOC and am also the only one who has to wear the turnout gear since im the medical supervisor. Last night we had a call and, well, me and my turnout gear wound up covered in mud. Is there ways to washing it other than sending it away to "pro washing companies"?
    Thanks...

  • #2
    Originally posted by JonathanStevens
    Can anyone help me out with ways to washing turnout gear? Im on a Search and Rescue team thats with the county's EOC and am also the only one who has to wear the turnout gear since im the medical supervisor. Last night we had a call and, well, me and my turnout gear wound up covered in mud. Is there ways to washing it other than sending it away to "pro washing companies"?
    Thanks...
    If it's just mud you're talking about, first hose it down good to get as much off as possible. Separate the liner from the outer shell (if possible). Then, take it to a laundromat and toss it in one of the bigger front loading machines. You can use a little bit of mild liquid laundry detergent with WARM water, but NO bleaches, NO bleach alternatives (some detergents have that) and NO softeners. Liquid Tide, Cheer or Wisk will work fine. I would recommend running it through a second time with no detergent for a good rinsing. AIR DRY ONLY! Do NOT put it in a dryer of any kind! Hang it up outside (not in direct sunlight), or inside where there is good ventilation.

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    • #3
      Good info Chauffer....Also once you seperate the liner, zip the coat up and fasten all closures and velcro. That will keep your velcro from collecting all the "fuzzies"
      Buck
      Assistant Chief/EMT-B

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      • #4
        Alright, ill deff try that out. however, my gear doesnt seperate...the outer liner is attached to the inner liner. what should i do for that? still take it all to the laundry mat? The mud is heavily caked into the tan outer liner. i was practically swimming in mud tryin to extract the person. the mud on the pants came out great, just sprayed it with a hose, but the jacket, well the mud came off but left massive dark stains on the outer.

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        • #5
          If the gear is sewn together and doesn't separate, that's fine too. You can still wash it in the machine, it'll just take a lot longer to dry is all.

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          • #6
            alright. thanks. ill give it a try tomrw. how long would u estimate itll take to dry and what soap do i use for it at the laundromat. Since we have hurricane ernesto coming into our county, hopefully the gear will be dry by thursday or so.

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            • #7
              Use only a little bit (maybe 1/4 cap) of regular liquid laundry detergent like Wisk or Tide or Cheer. Use only the regular stuff though, not the kind with "bleach alternative" or any of that other junk. The gear will probably take at least a day or two to dry fully.

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              • #8
                sounds good. what do you think about maybe instead of detergent, i use the actual bunkergear wash soap? since a website said a bit NO on regular detergant?

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                • #9
                  I don't think it will hurt to use the correct stuff for the job.

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                  • #10
                    To help dry it faster you can always put a fan on it. Good luck with Ernesto!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JonathanStevens
                      sounds good. what do you think about maybe instead of detergent, i use the actual bunkergear wash soap? since a website said a bit NO on regular detergant?
                      My posts were based on the assumption that you didn't have any of the specialized turnout gear washing detergent. OBVIOUSLY if you do, then use it.

                      I have to ask though, what is the point of having the detergent if you seemingly don't have the means (an in-station washer/extractor) to actually use it? It would seem that if you had the detergent, you would already know how to launder the gear.

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                      • #12
                        Well, i dont have the detergent for it, i was just asking so as not to damage the gear. And our station is in the process of getting an "industrial" sized washing machine. since im on the county's search and rescue team, we really dont use bunker gear. but since im the medical supervisor, im instructed to wear it to all outings. its a bit of a pain, but it keeps me dry from the rain and mosquitos.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JonathanStevens
                          Well, i dont have the detergent for it, i was just asking so as not to damage the gear. And our station is in the process of getting an "industrial" sized washing machine. since im on the county's search and rescue team, we really dont use bunker gear. but since im the medical supervisor, im instructed to wear it to all outings. its a bit of a pain, but it keeps me dry from the rain and mosquitos.
                          You're totally confusing me here. If you don't actually have the gear detergent, then why did you ask if you should use it? If you know someone that has some and can give you a squirt of it, good. If not, just use the liquid Wisk or Tide like I said. It'll be fine, trust me. I've had many, many years of experience with the cleaning, maintenance and repair of turnout gear, having started and run our dept's program back in the early 90s and working closely with Globe, Janesville and Morning Pride as well as National Safety Clean and Trilex.

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                          • #14
                            Alright. sorry for confusing ya. Ill take your advice and use the wisk or tide. thanks again.

                            Jon

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                            • #15
                              I was taught NOT to wash turnout gear in commercial or home machines because of the danger of leaving carcinogens from the fire scene in the machine for the next load, or washing them into the sewage system in the drain water. Any opinions on that?

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