Recommended Steps for Washing Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing

Recommended Steps for Washing Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing

May 15, 2009

Play it Safe

Clothing worn during pesticide application can become contaminated, endangering the health of the wearer as well as others who might come in contact with the clothes or pesticide. Using proper laundering procedures can help avoid re-exposure to the applicator or exposure to other family members.

Contamination can occur with any pesticide formulation — liquid, granular, or powder. To reduce potential exposure to pesticide residues during an application, always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment and clean, uncontaminated clothing. To reduce exposure after the application, remove clothing immediately upon finishing the job. Wear chemical resistant gloves when handling pesticide contaminated clothing. Change into clean clothes before going home for the day. Another option is to wear chemically resistant, disposable (non-reusable) coveralls over your clothing when applying pesticides.When possible, wash contaminated clothing immediately. Otherwise, store it separately from the family's laundry and wash it separately. Even when you aren't aware of potential contamination, don't wear those same clothes the next day. Wash pesticide-contaminated clothing daily. When washing contaminated clothing:

  • Wash only a few items at a time and do not mix with regular laundry.
  • Use liquid detergent.
  • Use hot water and the highest water level on the regular wash cycle.
  • After washing, remove clothing from the machine and run the empty washer through another cycle with hot water and detergent before laundering other clothing.
  • Line dry the clothing, if possible, or use the regular dryer setting.

If clothing is too heavily soiled with pesticides, dispose of it. This includes pesticide saturated shoes and boots. Always follow the label for proper disposal instructions. In case of a pesticide emergency, contact The Poison Center (for aid in human poisoning cases) at (800)-222-1222 or The National Pesticide Information Center at (800) 858-7378. Erin Bauer, Extension Assistant
Clyde Ogg, Pesticide Safety Educator
Leah L. Sandall, Extension Assisstant