Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

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Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by bostonimproper » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:36 pm

Random question, but of all the internet spaces I frequent, I feel like this one is most likely to have a high quality answer.

Recently replaced a couple fiberglass insulation panels in our basement ceiling. Remembered to put on a face mask and goggles but forgot to wear beat up clothes and now my favorite jeans are covered in fiberglass particles. Whoops.

I've read conflicting info online about whether (1) there's a good way to salvage clothes to completely remove fiberglass particles and (2) whether trying a wash cycle in my front loading washer is going to result in contamination there that may spread to other clothing. I have eczema so while I don't want to be super precious about small amounts of this stuff clinging on, I also don't want to break out forever.

Any suggestions on good fiberglass removal techniques or is it better to cut my losses and toss the clothes?

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Re: Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:55 pm

The contamination could definitely spread unless you then wash out the washing machine. You can try washing it in a bathtub or a laundromat if you are feeling douchy. But short of a lot of washing effort, there is not much to be done. Glass is chemically boring and durable.

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Re: Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by subgard » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:55 am

Of all the times I've worked with fiberglass insulation, I don't remember it lasting in my clothes beyond one wash cycle.

I don't think the glass fibers are very "clingy" (unlike natural fibers, which are rough specifically to cling to one another.)
And, they're probably brittle and easily broken, so they're very unlikely to tangle up in anything. When broken up, they probably act similar to a fine sand.

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Re: Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by Frita » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:01 am

I also have eczema and understand not wanting to trigger a flare. This anecdote is not predictive of your situation, just the results of mine. When I helped DS install fiberglass insulation, it did get on our clothing. Our topload washer did completely remove the particles with no lasting residue. Whatever you decide, I hope that you can salvage your favorite jeans without a breakout.

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Re: Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:20 am

Could you hit them with compressed air (100psi or so from a blowgun connected to an air compressor) as a first step to try to get it out?

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Re: Washing fiberglass out of clothing?

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:26 pm

And don't forget duct tape. Wrap it around your hand, sticky side out, and use it like you want to remove lint.

Then run it through the wash, twice. I always follow up with a load of rags, as I keep some of these around for cleaning before reuse, and they are good for cleaning the washer after I wash something awful.

Fiberglass insulation isn't all that bad. But I am not overly sensitive to it, so please use as much caution as you like.

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