Tips for Washing Pesticide Contaminated Clothing - UNL CropWatch, August 24, 2011

Tips for Washing Pesticide Contaminated Clothing - UNL CropWatch, August 24, 2011

August 24, 2011


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Your clothing can become contaminated whenever you apply pesticides in any formulation — liquid, granular, or powder. To reduce potential exposure to pesticide residues during an application, always wear uncontaminated clothing and the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Play it Safe!

Wear protective equipment and take precautionary measures when washing clothing worn during pesticide applications.

To reduce exposure after application, remove clothing immediately upon finishing the job. Wear chemical-resistant gloves, such as those made of nitrile or neoprene, when handling pesticide contaminated clothing. Change into clean clothes before leaving work for the day.

Another option is to wear chemically resistant, disposable (non-reusable) coveralls over your clothing when making pesticide applications. This includes, but is not limited to, Tyvek coveralls. This reduces the amount of exposure your normal clothes will receive from the pesticide. In addition, the type of material and the tightness of weave can affect the level of protection the clothing will provide.

Wash Pesticide Application Clothes Separately

Whenever possible, wash your contaminated clothing immediately. Otherwise, store it apart and wash separately from the regular laundry. Wash pesticide contaminated clothing daily.

When washing contaminated clothing, wash only a few items at a time and do not mix with regular laundry. Run on the regular wash cycle with hot water, at the highest water level, and use liquid detergent. If using a high efficiency machine, also use the highest water level available and the hottest water setting.

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, disposal rather than washing may be warranted. This includes shoes and boots that have been saturated with pesticides.

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 Associate
Clyde Ogg, Pesticide Safety Educator
Pierce Hansen, Extension Assistant
Jan Hygnstrom, Project Coordinator