Can You Wash Asbestos Out of Clothes?
The short answer is no. Asbestos is a highly stable material that is resistant to most common solvents. Attempts to wash asbestos out of clothes will not be successful as the fiber will remain trapped in the fabric, making it unhygienic to wear. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, even at very low levels of exposure.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of thin, fibrous crystals. It was widely used in many consumer and industrial products from the early 1930s until banned in the 1970s. Common applications included roofing, siding, brake pads, roofing tile, and textiles used for insulation and fireproofing.
Asbestos is made up of tiny, durable particles that can be easily inhaled. Once these particles become airborne, they can remain in the air for many hours, increasing the risk of inhalation and health risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Health Risks
Breathing in high levels of asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, such as mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Studies have also linked asbestos exposure to lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural disease.
Due to the serious health risks associated with asbestos exposure, it is important to take steps to reduce your exposure as much as possible. This includes avoiding direct contact with materials that may contain asbestos fibers and staying away from dusty areas where there may be asbestos particles in the air.
Cleaning Asbestos Out of Clothes
Since regular washing or dry cleaning won’t remove asbestos from clothes, what other options do you have to make your clothes safe to wear? The only sure way to protect yourself is to discard any clothes that may have been exposed to asbestos fibers.
If you’re unable to discard the clothing, you may consider having it professionally dry-cleaned. Dry-cleaning won’t remove all of the asbestos but it can reduce the amount of fibers present.
It is also important to carefully dispose of contaminated clothes to ensure that they don’t put other people at risk. Wear protective clothing, such as a mask and gloves, when disposing of contaminated items and be sure to adhere to the disposal instructions recommended by your local health department.
Washing asbestos out of clothes is not possible as it is highly resistant and trapped in the fabric. Attempts to wash asbestos out of clothes may only cause it to become airborne, increasing the risk of inhalation and health risks associated with asbestos exposure. The only sure way to protect yourself is to discard any clothes that may have been exposed to asbestos fibers or have them dry-cleaned. Be sure to handle disposal of contaminated clothing safely to avoid putting anyone else at risk.