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Fact Sheet #3

How to Launder Clothing Used While Spraying Agricultural Chemicals

Studies have shown that during spraying, operators cannot completely avoid exposure to the chemicals which they are applying. This exposure can occur during any of the many activities involved in the spraying operation:

  • transporting the pesticide
  • tank filling and mixing
  • container rinsing
  • spraying
  • sprayer maintenance
  • pesticide storage and
  • early re-entry to treated areas.

The exposure can involve contact with pesticide vapors and aerosols, the concentrated pesticide formulation in a liquid, granular, or powder form and the spray mixture itself. The worker can absorb chemical into the body through the skin, eyes, respiratory (breathing) or digestive system (swallowing).

General Recommendations:

Studies have shown that good personal hygiene practices reduce the risk of long term health effects. Workers should:

  • Bathe or shower after completion of pesticide application, includes shampooing your hair thoroughly and cleaning under nails.
  • Put on clean clothing.
  • Clothing worn during application must be washed daily after each use.
  • Launder all clothing used for spraying separately from your family's regular clothes.
  • Personal protection equipment should be cleaned daily after use.
  • Discard any clothing that is heavily soiled with pesticide concentrate.
Always read and understand the product label and material safety data sheet
before using any pesticides.

Instructions for Cleaning Protective Equipment

  • Wash your hard hat or waterproof hat, goggles, face shield, apron, boots with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
  • Wash your respirator facepiece only. Before cleaning, remove the cartridges. Wash the respirator in warm soapy water, rinse and air-dry. Check seals and valves for signs of damage or wear.
  • Store the respirator and cartriges in a sealed plastic bag
  • Last wash your gloves with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
  • Inspect and replace any worn or damaged protective equipment.
  • While cleaning wear rubber gloves

Preparation for Laundering

When applicable:
  • Remove pesticide granules from cuffs and pockets outdoors (in the field).
  • Discard (according to label instructions) any garment saturated with a full-strength chemical contaminate.
  • Handle soiled clothing with chemical resistant gloves.
  • Use disposable plastic garbage bags for temporary storage of pesticide-soiled clothes before washing.
  • Pre-treat pesticide-soiled clothes with a laundry stain removal product intended for oily stains when an oil-base (emulsifiable) formulation has been used.
  • Pre-treat heavily soiled areas.
  • Read the pesticide label for information.
  • Pre-rinse pesticide-soiled clothing:
    • on pre-soak cycle of automatic washer or
    • presoaking in a suitable container (dump water on field) or
    • spray/ hose the garment outdoors (away from children and pets).

Laudering

  • Isolate pesticide-contaminated work clothes and wash them separately from regular family laundry to avoid contamination.
  • Do not overcrowd clothes in the washing machine.
  • Use hot water (600C/140OF) setting.
  • Use full water level.
  • Use normal wash cycle (about 12 minutes).
  • Use more detergent than recommended by product label.
  • Use fabric starch. Pesticide residues cling to the starch and are removed in the subsequent wash cycle when the starch is washed away.
  • Choose a heavy-duty detergent (liquid or powder).
  • Re-wash clothing two or three times.
  • Line dry clothing to avoid contamination of the dryer and to allow sunlight to break down pesticide residues.
  • Run the empty washer through a full/wash rinse cycle afterward.