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Lead is a toxic metal found in many everyday items, including clothing. While lead poisoning is rare, reducing exposure and protecting yourself from potential health risks is essential. So when you get some lead on your clothes, you will wonder whether you can wash them out of clothes.
Yes, you can get rid of lead from your clothes. Washing leads out of your clothes can be done manually or using a washing machine. However, there are some crucial things to have in mind.
It is common knowledge that lead-contaminated clothing is dangerous around the house, as it can cause potential health risks to kids, pets, and other family members.
Additionally, lead is not environmentally friendly and is toxic; this is why companies take care of their workers’ work clothes, as it will be a terrible idea for them to take them home. Removing lead from clothes is essential, especially if babies are around.
In this article, we will throw more light on washing lead out of contaminated clothes, what cleaning agent to use, and how to adequately get rid of lead to prevent some potential risks.
All You Need To Know About Lead
The most common way people come into contact with the lead on their clothing is through second-hand items or vintage pieces that may contain metal traces.
Lead was used as a pigment in paints until 1978, so any item painted before then could have traces of lead. Also, it is best to know that lead is added to items like gasoline, plastic, crayons, glass, ink, chalk, and many other household materials.
That said, lead has an oddly satisfying taste, which is why babies or kids will gladly latch on to them; this can cause health issues such as brain damage, seizures, and sometimes death when ingested in large quantities.
It is very common for leads to come in contact with clothes in the form of dust, and if you suspect that an item might contain lead, it’s best to avoid wearing it or washing it at home.
How To Detect Lead On Clothes
For most of it, it is a great idea to make sure that your cloth doesn’t contain lead even after you must have washed them. This is an extra safety measure to take to prevent lead poisoning and all the health problems that come with it.
That said, if you do need to clean an item that may have been exposed to lead, there are several ways to detect its presence:
- Using a black light as this will cause any areas containing lead paint to glow brightly under ultraviolet light.
- Testing for heavy metals using swabs and test kits available online or at hardware stores.
- Get the item professionally tested by a lab certified by your local health department.
Once you’ve determined whether an item contains trace amounts of lead, remove them from your clothing safely and effectively.
Methods Useful For Getting Rid Of Lead From Clothing
After it is proven that your clothes are lead-contaminated, you will need to wash them out properly. And when it comes to washing clothes that contain lead, it has to be done carefully and intentionally.
The following are methods to safely wash lead-contaminated clothing;
1. White Vinegar Solution
Besides the fact that it can serve as a fabric softener, whiten clothes, and eliminate odor, white vinegar is one of the best cleaning agents for removing these toxins from your fabric. Ideally, you will have to mix it up with one part vinegar and four parts water.
Soak the garment in this solution for 30 minutes before laundering as usual. This will help break down any remaining paint particles or other contaminants without damaging the fabric itself.
You can also use baking soda instead of vinegar if desired by just mixing 1/2 cup baking soda with 2 quarts warm water and soaking the clothes for 15 minutes before laundering as normal.
2. Surfactant Laundry Detergent
These are another effective tool to use to get rid of lead from your clothes completely. Instead of using natural or organic detergents, make sure to use laundry detergents that contain surfactants.
On another note, using surfactant detergent alongside phosphate-rich detergent will do more justice to cleaning out any trace of lead on clothes.
Bleach can also wash off lead from fabrics, especially if the clothing is white.
The best formula is using 3 drops of bleach in 3 – 4 liters of water. Allow the clothes to soak for about 30 – 40 minutes. Then you rinse it out with another batch of water before putting them in a washing machine.
Pro Tip: Never wash lead-contaminated fabrics with your bare hands, as this can be dangerous; using your washing machine remains the best way.
However, use the abovementioned methods or thoroughly rinse the clothes with water before washing them in the washing machine. You can go the extra mile by ironing the clothes after washing them to ensure no traces of lead are left on them.
Wrapping it up
In conclusion, while washing clothes contaminated with trace amounts of lead isn’t necessarily dangerous when done correctly, it’s always better to avoid caution when dealing with hazardous materials like these.
If possible, try avoiding any contact with lead, or better still, make sure not to bring lead-contaminated clothes home, as it can be dangerous to you and the people or animals around you.
With proper care and attention paid to what we wear daily, we can ensure our safety against potential hazards like these.