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Starching clothing became popular around the 16th century when it was used to stiffen the collars and lace of the “high-society”. To this day, starch is still in use to provide that clean, crisp appeal to garments.
However another advantage to starching clothing was that it was found that dirt and sweat and general grime would attach to the starch rather than to the garments. This made the garments easy to clean and maintain in a pristine condition. Starch also increases the life of the fabric, providing for many more years of wear.
Given then, that starch is known to form somewhat of a protective layer on clothing, it makes sense that starch can also help prevent sparks and slag and splatter from burning through a welder’s shirt and burning the welder.
Starch also has the added bonus of being flame resistant when applied properly (i.e. with heavy starch) – another positive for the modern day welder.
Flame Resistant Clothing
These days, there are ample choices of flame resistant clothing on the market. There are countless welding shirts to choose from that manufacturer’s claim to last longer than ever before.
However, specific welding clothes can be quite expensive and some welders may not be able to afford or be prepared to spend a week’s income on protective clothing. Not only that, despite best efforts, this welding-specific clothing will end up with burn holes and marks.
Having said that, there’s definitely compelling reasons to spend the money and get the best protective clothing and equipment as possible. Nothing can replace the proper protective equipment and clothing.
Starch and Welding
To add another level of protection to your welding wardrobe, consider applying heavy starch to your clothes.
Using starch can help protect your clothing and ultimately you and your skin from burns from wayward sparks and debris.
Make sure the clothing you wear while welding is either 100% cotton or wool. Although wool can be quite hot during summer, some discomfort maybe required to protect your health. Any synthetic type of material will easily burn and melt to your skin – not a situation you want to be in. Denim can also be used, however ensure that it is 100%.
These materials lend themselves well to being starched. A decent starch will help protect your clothes and ultimately you and your skin. Starch will also help prevent your clothes from wearing out too quickly.
It is also worth noting, and this is not specific to welding, is that starch will help with the washing of welding clothes. As mentioned, this is due to the dirt and grime preferring to stick to the starch rather than the fibers of the clothing material.
It’s easy enough to starch your clothes yourself making it an easy step to help further protect yourself from the dangers of welding.
A liquid starch such as this one is pretty inexpensive and can be applied easily to your welding clothing.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the container to ensure a thorough job and you’ll be on your way to protecting your clothing and yourself.
Alternatively, your local dry cleaners can starch your welding clothes for you. However this could end up a little bit expensive depending on the number of clothes you have and the frequency you get them cleaned.
Whichever way is your preferred method, rest assured you are doing one more thing to help protect yourself from the hazards of welding and ultimately enhancing the lifespan of your clothes while you’re at it.
Must Read: What Are Welding Shirts Made Of?