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How to take care of your Hi Vis vests and workwear

Imagine this: you’ve just invested in a brand new personalised high visibility vest, but just one day on site and it’s already completely covered in dirt. You want to clean it, but you don’t want the hi vis components to fade, and the vest needs to last as long as possible. What do you do?

Hi vis clothing, especially personalised hi vis clothing, can be tricky to clean. You can’t just throw it in with everything else, especially when the hi vis components and personalised design features are important to both compliance and your business image. What if the colours fade? Or the reflective panels peels off?

In this blog we explain how to clean and dry your hi vis garments, but first, let’s talk about why hi vis clothing is so important to workplace safety in the first place.

Hi Vis Clothing Keeps You Safe On Site

High visibility is vitally important on a work site. Whether you work in construction, aviation, or oil and gas, all industry personnel need to be easily seen in their working area. If you can’t be seen then you risk being struck by machinery or a moving vehicle. When no one can see you, accidents can and do happen.

Hi vis clothing is essential in low light conditions and darkness. If you’re working in a busy industry or around hazards, then hi vis clothing could save your life.

Hi vis clothing also ensures that you can be found and recovered in the event of an accident.

Finally, hi vis clothing makes it easier for managers to track where people are and what’s happening on site.

Hi vis clothing is a requirement of the law. In Australia your employer must supply you with personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes hi vis garments suitable for your role and surroundings. It’s a legal requirement that you wear it at all times on site.

Some companies will get your PPE gear professionally laundered for you. However, if you’re not so lucky, or need your hi vis garment cleaned ASAP, then there are ways and means to wash your workwear yourself at home.

How to Clean Hi Vis Workwear

Different kinds of hi vis clothes will have different washing requirements, so it is important to always check each individual garment’s tag or contact the supplier for customer support. However, there are a few general recommendations that will help you to wash your hi vis gear at home. These are:

1. Always remove dirt and loose debris with a clean, dry cloth before washing, as dirt and debris can become abrasive during the washing process, and may end up wearing away the hi vis and personalised features if not removed first.

2. Always wash colours with like colours in cold water, unless the tag states otherwise.

3. Use a gentle detergent. Avoid any products that contain bleach. Only use detergents and stain removers that are safe for bright colours.

4. Don’t scrub any of the his vis or personalised areas of your clothing, as this could lead to fading, and reduce the lifespan of your workwear. Faded hi vis clothing will also reduce your visibility on site, which could lead to dangerous working conditions for yourself and others.

5. Choose a gentle wash cycle. You should use the same wash cycle that you would use for delicate items and on a cold setting.

6. Always make sure it’s safe to machine dry your hi vis wear. It is advisable to air dry if in doubt. If it is safe to machine dry your garment, use the lowest heat setting. Take care to remove the garment as soon as the cycle is complete and hang it up to air, to ensure the reflective components do not become creased while hot.

7. If you are drying your hi vis wear on the clothesline, ensure your garments are not placed in direct sunlight, as this may fade the colours and reflective features.

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