The Science of Cleaning Firefighter Gear

by | Mar 19, 2024

Firefighting is an inherently dangerous profession, not just because of the immediate dangers of fire but also due to the long-term health risks posed by contaminated gear. Recognizing this, RedLine Gear Cleaning has revolutionized the process of cleaning firefighter gear through scientific methods and innovative technology. This blog explores the science behind effectively cleaning firefighter gear, ensuring the health and safety of our heroes.

The Dangers of Contaminated Gear

Firefighter gear, while protective against the immediate dangers of fire, can become a carrier for harmful contaminants. These include carcinogenic chemicals from smoke, biological contaminants like blood and pathogens, and physical debris from fire scenes. Continuous exposure to these contaminants can lead to severe health issues, including cancer and infectious diseases. Proper cleaning and maintenance of gear are crucial to minimize these health risks.

NFPA 1851 Standards

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has set standards (NFPA 1851) for the care and maintenance of firefighter personal protective equipment. These standards specify the procedures for cleaning, inspection, repair, and retirement of gear to ensure it provides maximum protection. Adherence to these standards is not just about compliance; it’s about ensuring the safety and well-being of firefighters.

The Science Behind Gear Cleaning

The cleaning of firefighter gear is not as simple as laundering regular clothing. It requires a scientific approach to effectively remove all types of contaminants without degrading the protective fabrics. RedLine Gear Cleaning utilizes the Mobile Extraction Unit® (MEU), a state-of-the-art solution equipped with advanced extractors, dryers, and specialty equipment designed specifically for firefighter gear.

The process begins with a pre-wash inspection, followed by an effective cleaning cycle that uses specially formulated detergents. These detergents are designed to break down contaminants without harming the gear’s integrity. The MEU’s extractors use a combination of water temperature, pH levels, and mechanical action tailored to remove different types of contaminants thoroughly. After washing, the gear is dried at controlled temperatures to prevent damage to the protective fibers.

Inspection and Repair: Essential Steps Post-Cleaning

After cleaning, each piece of gear undergoes a thorough inspection to identify any damage or wear that could compromise its protective capabilities. This includes checks for tears, broken seams, and other signs of wear. RedLine’s expert technicians can then perform necessary repairs, ensuring that the gear continues to provide optimal protection. This comprehensive approach ensures that gear not only meets cleanliness standards but remains structurally sound and reliable.

Benefits of Professional Gear Cleaning

Professional gear cleaning services like those offered by RedLine Gear Cleaning provide numerous benefits. They ensure that cleaning meets NFPA standards, thereby extending the lifespan of the gear and safeguarding firefighters’ health. Moreover, outsourcing gear cleaning to specialists allows fire departments to focus on their critical life-saving duties, knowing their gear maintenance is in expert hands.


The responsibility of firefighting demands that every precaution be taken to ensure the safety and health of firefighters. This includes the meticulous care and maintenance of their gear. Understanding the science behind cleaning firefighter gear is essential for removing harmful contaminants and preserving the gear’s protective qualities. RedLine Gear Cleaning stands at the forefront of this essential service, employing scientific methods and specialized technology to ensure firefighters are equipped, protected, and ready to serve our communities safely.