Hi-Viz Clothing – Everything You Need to Know

How Often Should You Replace Your High Visibility Clothing?
Safety gear comes in different shapes and sizes, from hard hats and gloves to respirators and eye protection. Another common piece of safety gear is high-visibility clothing. High visibility (hi-vis) clothing is an essential form of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn to mitigate risks at work. Hi-vis clothing goes beyond protecting from various injuries – it can be life-saving. However, just like all other PPE, high visibility clothing doesn’t last forever and will require replacements after a certain period.  

High Visibility Clothing High visibility clothing plays a critical role in several industries, including construction sites and roadside maintenance jobs. It serves as a form of protective gear, ensuring other individuals can clearly see each particular individual on a job site.  

Colorful fluorescent components combined with unique pigments create a hue brighter than natural colors. The pigment reflects invisible ultraviolet light from the sun, creating a bright visible light. Additionally, light streaming from vehicle headlights bounces off reflective strips, ensuring the individual is safely visible. High visibility clothing allows individuals to work safely regardless of the time of day, whether it is day, dusk, or dark.  

How Often Should You Replace Your High Visibility Clothing?
Given the critical purpose of high visibility clothing, it’s equally as important to replace it as it is to wear it. Generally, with standard usage, high visibility clothing begins to wear out within four to six months. However, hi-vis clothing that is used extensively may demand replacement sooner than four to six months. Additionally, individuals who work in extreme or hazardous conditions may need to replace it more frequently.  

Ultimately, the lifespan of high visibility clothing falls to care practices and frequency of use. Before each wash, check for signs of general wear and tear, verifying that the clothing still meets visibility standards. You need to routinely check for the following:  
Fading: Make sure the fluorescent nature of the fabric has not become dull or discolored   Damage: Ensure there is no significant damage to the reflective strips or overall item  
Visibility: If it is no longer visible from a distance, you need to replace it  
Cleanliness: If the fabric is excessively dirty, to the point that cleaning will not restore its original state   Rips or tears: If the garment has bad tears or fraying  
Comfort: If the garment is no longer comfortable, it may be best to replace it   If your safety gear no longer meets the above expectations, it’s time to replace it. It’s imperative that you feel safe, secure, and generally confident in your gear. If you have doubts about the effectiveness of your gear for any reason, it’s time for a change. It’s better to be safe than sorry.  

Keeping Your Hi-Vis Clothes In Better Condition
While hi-vis clothing will generally require replacements within four to six months, proper care will help prolong its lifespan. The best ways to properly care for hi-vis clothing include the following:  
Store clothing out of direct sunlight: Try to avoid storing high visibility clothing in direct sunlight, as the light will cause the colors to fade quicker, thus reducing the overall effectiveness of the garment.   Maintain cleanliness: While many job sites that require hi-vis clothing are far from sparkling clean, it’s essential to attempt to remove the day’s grime from clothing after the fact. Whether this means tossing it into the washer (if the label confirms that is okay) or wiping down the garment to remove dirt, it helps.  
Refrain from compacting clothing: Avoid smooshing your clothing into tiny spaces. Doing so puts additional stress on the fabric’s fibers, causing them to break down faster.  
Wipe down between washes: Building off the previous tip to keep the garment clean: wipe it down between full washes if you cannot wash the item. This will help extend the garment’s lifespan.  
Check the label: Always check the label on your hi-vis clothing. Not all manufacturers develop hi-vis clothing suitable for a quick machine wash, so remember to check the label before cleaning it. The label on some items will give a specific number of washes that the item can withstand before the reflective strip is rendered ineffective.  

Can I Put My High Visibility Clothing In The Laundry?
While some hi-vis garments may be machine wash safe, washing machines may not be suitable as a washing method for all high-visibility clothes. Check the care instructions to determine whether you can put your high visibility clothing in the laundry. Generally, the care label on the garment itself will outline specific washing instructions, such as whether the item can be machine washed, dried, dry cleaned, or bleached. It is imperative to follow these instructions, as failing to do so could significantly high-visibility diminish the lifespan and performance of your clothing.  

I hope this has helped to answer any and all questions you may have.

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