Why Do Welders Starch Their Shirts?

by WeldingWatch

Starch prevents the accumulation of dirt on fabrics. When dirt has been accumulated on starched cloth, it will wash off easily. The starching of cloth depends on the material of the cloth so when choosing your shirt the best shirt to wear for welding is cotton or denim, they are the easiest to starch. 

Starching denim prevents stains and there won’t be any trace of wrinkle left on your shirt afterwards. Get your cloth and wash it with the detergent that does not have hydrogen peroxide and starch it. Cotton fabric is very easy to starch, you have to add little water to your starch before applying it on your cotton fabric. 

If you’re unsure of how to starch, there’s a short 10-step guide toward the bottom of this article.

Starch gives a fresh fragrance to your cloth if you are uncomfortable with strong smells. The nice fragrance on your starched cloth will make you feel comfortable at your workplace. Starching your cloth will also add to the protection and flame resistance your clothing gives you because starched cloth doesn’t accumulate dirt.

Heavy starch is suitable for welders to prevent sparks and electrical arcs that might affect the skin. Ensure the starch is not too heavy so that you can work freely.  Welders don’t just starch their clothes for functional purposes. When clothes are starched, they become nice and crisp, not to mention free from wrinkles. This makes ironing easier and also protects the cloth from heavy staining.

What are welding shirts made of?

The job of a welder is a hazardous one. Care must be taken when welding as there’s potential for harm when working with extremely high temperatures, harmful fumes and gases from welded materials. This can lead to a number of injuries including burns from both flames and electrical arcs. 

To do a welding job, make sure you are fully armed with appropriate clothing and accessories before you begin your welding job to avoid being injured while doing your job. One of the safety precautions to take is to wear good protective cloth such as a welding shirt or jacket.

Welding shirts are personal protective equipment (PPE) that shields welders from metal splatter and high heat by the use of fire resistant insulating materials.

Welding shirts are made up of fire resistant and durable fabrics that can offer safety from abrasion and electrical resistance. The shirts are enhanced like other clothing and it contains metal foil liner. The most common welding shirts are long sleeves leather fabrics that can easily protect the arms. 

One of the things you should note when welding is that when welding, make sure you wear clothing made from heavyweight, tightly woven, 100% wool or cotton to protect you from UV radiation, hot metal, sparks, and flames. Your cloth must be kept clean and free from oil and combustible contaminants, it must be dark-colored because dark color cloths prevent light reflection.

You must consider avoiding synthetic materials when you are looking for a good welding shirt. Synthetic materials are made from nylon or polyester and this can burn easily. When burnt it will turn into a liquid-like substance and this can stick to your skin causing skin burn. The best cloth to wear when doing your welding job is a heavy cloth such as leather, wool, denim or 100% cotton.

Lastly, welding shirts are meant to protect you from any danger that may occur when doing your work. Make sure you get a good welding shirt that is made of 100% leather or denim for better and easy protection. Cotton made shirts can get burnt as time goes on so it is not 100% advisable, reliable, and recommended.

Why should you wear dark clothing for welding?

Welding produces an arc that is effectively hotter than the photosphere of the sun. It contains more ultraviolet than sunlight. Welding creates dangerous fume that is hazardous to the health so keeping our workplace safe is all welders’ priority. Dark clothes are required to be worn by all welders, a dark clothing is the best option when we talk about welding because it reduces the ray of light when working under the sun or the ray of light from the welding flame.

Do not wear clothes that are made from a polyester material they might melt and stick to your skin and this can cause skin burn.

When choosing your welding cloth, always get a fire resistant material. Bright or light clothes reflect the fire flame back into the body or eyes and it is harmful. Appropriate protective welding cloth varies in sizes and the location of your workplace.

Welding clothing is meant to provide adequate coverage to minimize skin burn. Dark clothes protect the body from ultraviolet and infrared ray flash burns.

Dark clothes reduce the reflection of light, they also provide heat resistance for welding. Other clothes that should be worn include a flame-resistant apron that is made from leather which can be able to protect the body from sparks and flash of light.

Burns are the most common injury for all welders due to the spark of light that affects the skin, welding arcs cause severe skin burns when exposed to spark of light so dark clothes are advisable to avoid burns to the skin.

Are FR Shirts good for welding?

Flame resistant (FR) shirts are very good for welding work. It keeps one comfortable and protects you from heat and sparks.

Flame shirts are made from cotton and durable fire resistant material which is compliant with NFPA 70e, and NFPA 2112 which will provide you a more than adequate level of protection. Flame resistant shirts are available in the US from brands like Rasco in a variety of colours and styles.

If you are working in a hazardous environment such as electric arc, flash fire, and combustible dust explosion hazards, flame resistance can be recommended. A normal cloth can be flammable and this may cause skin burn.

Clothing that is not flame resistant will not resist combustion, it will catch fire and continue to burn when it comes in contact with fire until fire extinguisher is been used.

Flame resistant (FR) clothing has a fire self-extinguishing feature that gives all welders a good flash fire escape when being worn. It is made from components that does not melt onto the skin and they do not contribute to the skin burn injury. Flame resistant clothing comes with thermal insulation that protects the skin from breaking open when exposed to fire or hazards.

Flame resistant clothing provides a split second of protection in a flash fire and doesn’t stick to your body. Wear the flame resistant clothing under your normal long sleeve shirt. Always was your FR clothing with a mild detergent that is free from hydrogen peroxide, animal fats, and bleach. Make sure you wash in lukewarm water (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

How do you heavy starch clothes?

Starching cloth dates back to the 1400s, when launderers noted that using starch on fabric kept it from wrinkling. Modern dry cleaners often employ starching when finishing clean clothing. A heavy starch makes shirts look crisp and well-maintained.

You can obtain a professional look for your clothes at home, even without the machine press that many dry cleaning establishments use, with starch and a proper ironing technique. Iron when the shirt is still slightly damp for best results.

Things you’ll need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Basin or bowl
  • Spray starch
  • Hanger

Follow the 10 easy steps below to quickly learn how to starch your welders shirts:

  1. Turn on the iron and set it to reach the proper temperature. Check the shirt’s care label to confirm the manufacturer’s recommendations. Place the iron upright on the ironing board to heat.
  2. Mix the instant starch powder with water, according to package directions, in a wide bowl or basin.
  3. Dip the shirt’s cuffs and collar into the instant starch mixture.
  4. Spray the spray starch lightly over the front of the shirt. Roll up the shirt front and let it sit for a minute or two to allow the starch to soak into the shirt.
  5. Unroll the shirt and flatten the collar on the ironing board.
  6. Iron the underside of the collar, then the top side.
  7. Iron the yoke of the shirt, the upper back section that reaches to the neck and shoulders.
  8. Iron the underside of each cuff, then the outside. Iron each sleeve with slow, steady strokes. Take your time and check for big wrinkles or creases in the sleeves.
  9. Iron the body of the shirt, working on one side and then the other. Work from the top of the shirt down and iron between the buttons without touching them.
  10. Slip the shirt onto a hanger until the fabric has cooled.
  11. Once cooled, you’re ready to go!

A final thought

In short, the reason welders starch their shirts is to protect themselves from heat, sparks and flames. For the ultimate level of protection, an FR shirt that you’ve starched yourself is the best way to go. 

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