Will a Fire Extinguisher Stain Clothes?

In the event of a fire emergency, spraying a fire extinguisher to put out a fire will inevitably lead to some particles getting onto nearby surfaces. This even includes the clothing of the person using the fire extinguisher. So, will a fire extinguisher stain clothes? Find out in this post.

Getting Fire Extinguisher Spray on Clothes

Fire extinguishers are designed to fight fires and put them out as quickly as possible. They work by discharging fire retardant chemicals that either stop combustion or prevent fire from spreading. Fire extinguishers usually come in the form of a pressurized vessel filled with contents that spray out when the handle is squeezed or pressed.

Spraying a fire extinguisher will likely leave particles on clothing. When fire extinguisher powder or foam gets on clothing, it can usually be removed with washing. If it is not washed soon after, it could leave a stain.

A person who is caught on fire, such as during an auto wreck, may need to be sprayed with fire retardant to put out the flames completely. This is after or during the stop, drop, and roll maneuver if it is performed.

However, during a fire emergency, grabbing a fire extinguisher and spraying the fire to put it out is your primary goal. Worrying about if it will stain a replaceable peice of clothing will only distract you. Having your house burn down or be burned in flames is a much worse outcome than a ruined shirt or jeans.

Fire Extinguisher Types

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Substances That Can Stain Clothes

Clothing inevitably gets dirty, and sometimes stained from regular use. To help reduce the amount of stains on clothes, it’s important to know what substances can be harmful.

Here are some common substances that can stain clothing:

  • Oil or grease
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Coffee
  • Ink
  • Paint
  • Blood
Fire Extinguisher Stain Clothes

The salts in fire extinguishers do not stain clothing, but in their separate forms (ie. baking soda) they can actually be used to remove stains.

It is helpful to know what type of fire extinguishers you own prior to needing to use them. If it contains foam, or is a multipurpose ABC fire extinguisher, it can cause stains on clothing.

How To Remove Fire Extinguisher Spray From Clothes?

When fire extinguisher spray gets onto clothing, removing it is not as hard as it might seem. It just takes the right cleaning solution and a little bit of patience. You can even use a regular washing machine to clean your clothing. It the clothing is white, regular bleach can be used to remove any of these stains.

It is very important to clean up any clothing that was sprayed by a fire extinguisher. This is especially true for dry chemical fire extinguishers that have a big downside to electronic equipment and human health. If this residue remains on clothing, not only can it leave a stain, but it can end up being inhaled by the wearer and cause serious negative effects on the lungs and cardiovascular system.

Unfortunately, most people that own fire extinguishers have general purpose ABC dry chemical extinguishers which can be bad for their health if it is ever sprayed and not cleaned up.

What Fire Extinguishers Will Not Stain Clothes?

Water fire extinguishers (Class A) or water mist extinguishers that are used for fighting class A fires, such as cloth, wood, paper, and rubbish will not stain clothing. Any other fire extinguisher type that includes mixtures of chemicals can cause damage to clothing when sprayed.

Don’t Worry About Clothing Stains!

If your clothing ever catches on fire, it’s urgent that you do anything to put the fire out. Spray yourself with a fire extinguisher if you have one! You can stop, drop, and roll on the ground to smother the flames but you’ll have holes in them anyway.

In Closing

Fire extinguishers are made to put out fires, and have contents that do just that. A side effect could be a stained sweatshirt or shorts if you ever need to use it on a fire in your home. What is most important, however, is to keep yourself safe while extinguishing the fire.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium

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