Imagine wearing a shirt, noticing little pokes on your chest, shoulders, or tummy and thinking, “What’s poking me?” That’s what fiberglass does.
Fiberglass is a reinforced plastic material that is composed of glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix. They are mostly woven together to be used in the creation of mesh fabric, drywall tapes, wall coverings, or windows.
These are all familiar things used in homes, stores, offices, and the environment in general. So, whether you are a construction worker or a homemaker, it is possible to get fiberglass from any of its mentioned uses in your clothes.
We understand that it can be very uncomfortable, so how do you get fiberglass out of your clothes? Continue reading to find out how to stop the poking and get back to normal.
Table of Contents
What is Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a good-performing inorganic material that is not made of metal. It is a material made from very fine glass fibers. It is also called “glass fiber.”
It is added to many polymer products to make them stronger. It is made by melting ore at high temperatures, drawing out the wire, winding it, weaving it, and doing other things to it.
Its primary constituents are silica, alumina, calcium oxide, boron oxide, magnesium oxide, and sodium oxide. Each group of fiber strands is made up of hundreds or even thousands of single strands, called monofilaments. It is a good insulator, can withstand heat and corrosion, and is very strong.
The Danger of Fiberglass in Clothes
Although there are advantages to using fiberglass in construction, it can be dangerous to humans. Just as the name suggests, fiberglass is a pseudo-glass. It is made of plastic materials composed of little glass shards. Imagine something like that in your skin! It will be painful.
Fiberglass in clothes pokes through the fabric into the skin. It can poke through your skin until there is redness, a rash, or swelling because of the constant itching and reflex scratching, and because of how small they are, it can be hard to spot them at first or even think that they are non-harmful substances.
Even worse, they can be transferred from one individual to another through a hug or any form of contact that requires the affected person to touch the non-affected individual.
The redness, rash, or swelling from scratching a fiberglass-infected spot can be hard, and sometimes it might even last for days or weeks if you have sensitive skin. If not properly taken care of, fiberglass can easily spread, rendering people sick.
What to do When You Discover Fiberglass in Your Clothes
Before removing fiberglass from your clothes, there are certain precautionary measures to take to avoid the further spread of fiberglass. These include:
1. Separate the Affected Cloth
When you notice the constant poking of your skin through your clothes, take the cloth off, put it in a plastic bag, tie it, and keep it separate from other clothes. This will save you from scratching incessantly.
2. Wear Coveralls and Hand Gloves
When it is time to treat or get rid of fiberglass from clothing, find a disposable coverall and a hand glove. Fiberglass is tiny and airborne. Because of how light it is, it can fly and move from one cloth to another. Since you are trying to get rid of fiberglass completely, wearing a disposable coverall can help prevent the fiberglass shards from moving from the affected cloth to the one you are currently wearing.
3. Protect Your Hair and Scalp
Protect your hair and scalp. Fiberglass on clothes causes itchy skin; now picture it on your hair and scalp. It is going to be painful. So, to avoid the pain, always protect your hair and scalp with a scarf or a one-use cap.
4. Wear a Mask
Fiberglass dust, although not long-term dangerous, can irritate your nose and your respiratory tract when inhaled. It can cause a very unpleasant irritation that could be painful and last for days. So, to avoid that completely, wearing a mask is a safe option, as it protects you from inhaling fiberglass.
5. Wear Protective Goggles
Even though it is unlikely that fiberglass will get into your eyes, you should still take precautions to protect them. One way to do this is by wearing goggles that are customized to fit your face.
3 Ways to Get Fiberglass Out of Clothes
Because fiberglass pieces are so small, they might be difficult to detect on clothing materials. However, the consistent probing indicates that something is obviously wrong with your clothes and requires immediate attention.
Fiberglass typically appears as white or yellow microscopic shards when examined carefully, and the good news is that they can be removed. Let us show you how to get fiberglass out of clothing by following the methods indicated below.
1. Removing Fiberglass by Washing
After fiberglass gets into your clothes, washing is probably the first thought you have, and you are not wrong for thinking about washing it. But, there is a particular way to wash, and there are steps to take to remove fiberglass from your clothes by washing them successfully.
What You Need:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cold water
Steps to Remove Fiberglass from Clothes by Washing
- Place the affected cloth or clothes in a basin and add cold water.
- Then add a sufficient amount of apple cider vinegar.
- Ensure that both the water and apple cider vinegar mix thoroughly.
- Allow the clothes to soak for about 15 to 45 minutes. This helps to dissolve fiberglass in clothes.
- After the stipulated duration has elapsed, remove the clothes from the basin, squeeze out excess water, and place them in the washing machine bowl.
- Using cold water, run multiple washing cycles to eliminate fiberglass. Ensure to check in between wash cycles to see if the fiberglass shards are gone.
- After that, spread clothes in a non-fiberglass affected area and allow them to air dry.
2. Removing Fiberglass by Brushing
Using a brush is another way to get rid of fiberglass from your clothes. It is a pretty straightforward option, but, like the previous option, there are specific ways to do it and a specific type of brush to use.
What You Need:
- A boar bristle brush
- Hand gloves
- Nose mask
Why Do You Need a Boar’s Bristle Brush
A boar bristle brush is made from the bristles of a boar. It is very soft, and unlike other brush types, it helps in removing lint, or in this case, fiberglass, without ruining your clothes, unlike other brush types.
Steps to Remove Fiberglass from Clothes by Brushing
- Wearing hand gloves and a face mask, lay the affected clothing on a flat surface.
- With a boar’s bristle brush in hand, run it through the clothes gently.
- Do this repeatedly until you notice that a considerable amount of fiberglass has come out of the cloth.
- After this process, add water to a basin. Warm water is preferred, and the cloth should be placed inside.
- Allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes to do its work.
- After the specified time, take the clothes out and throw the used water away.
- Proceed to wash with detergent and allow to air dry afterward.
3. Removing Fiberglass by Using Tape
A tape is a strip of fabric, paper, or plastic with an adhesive surface that is used to seal, bind, or adhere items together. It is also known as adhesive tape or masking tape. Due to its adhesive nature, the tape can be used to get fiberglass out of your clothes, and we will show you how.
What You Need:
- Any brand of tape
- Flat surface
Steps to Remove Fiberglass from Clothes by Using Tape
- Lay the cloth on a flat surface. If possible, find a way to mount it on a flat surface so that it doesn’t move too much as you strip.
- Carefully place the tape on one part of the cloth, spread it well, and then pull it out.
- Repeat this process on different parts of the cloth affected by fiberglass.
- After stripping, proceed to wash in cold water and allow the cloth to air dry.
NOTE: Every time you strip the tape from the clothing, fiberglass comes out and is glued to the tape. Now, instead of using that same tape on another part of the cloth, cut a new tape and use it on a different part. This will prevent wasting time and make the work more efficient. You can also repeat the process all over again after the first round of strips.
How Fiberglass Gets in Clothes
Working with items like insulation panels and fiberglass sheets is one of the most common ways to get fiberglass dust on your clothes.
Fiberglass is also used to make certain mattresses, but it is often covered by a piece of fabric to keep it protected and away from the skin. However, it can be exposed to both skin and clothes if there is an accidental tear on the mattress.
Most fiberglass is thin and hard to see, but it is usually either pink, white, or light yellow. Since it is very light and in the air, brushing it off without carefully following the step mentioned above will cause it to move to another place or item. They are also identified by their jagged edges, which help them stick to any kind of fabric.
You can check to see if your clothes have fiberglass particles by running your hands over them and noticing if they feel sharp or prickly. Another way to know if fiberglass is in your clothes is if they are shiny when bright light is shed on them.
You might also feel it pinching your skin and making you feel uncomfortable. If that is the case, you should change your clothes immediately because fiberglass can cause rashes and pain for days.
Fun Facts About Fiberglass
There are some surprising facts concerning fiberglass that you should be aware of. These interesting facts include
- The main component of fiberglass is silica or silicate. Boron, magnesium, and calcium are also present.
- Glass fiber should have minimal damage, which is why it is classified as fiberglass.
- Fiberglass is used in various products, such as bathtubs, automobiles, boats, kayaks, aircraft, casts, water tanks, septic tanks, hot tubs, swimming pools, external door skins, and surfboards.
- Fiberglass is also known as GFRP and GRP, which stand for glass-fiber-reinforced plastic and glass-reinforced plastic.
- When compared to other metals, fiberglass has exceptional weight and strength. It also possesses a degree of felicity, allowing people to shape it into various shapes.
- Fiberglass, unlike wood, won’t bend, rot, or break down when exposed to water. It also won’t be damaged by corrosion, insects, mold, or mildew.
- In the protrusion process, which is how fiberglass is made, a machine holds the raw materials and “pulls” them through a series of steps until the finished profile reaches the cut-off saw.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from Vinegar, What can Dissolve Fiberglass in Clothes?
Yes, various solvents, besides vinegar, can dissolve fiberglass on clothing. Alcohol, specifically ethanol, is one of these solvents. However, for these alternatives to work, you must ensure that the fiberglass product is composed of polyester resin.
Does Bathing Get Rid of Fiberglass from the Skin?
Bathing after being exposed to fiberglass can aid in the removal of fiberglass from your skin and prevent irritation, redness, and swelling. Warm water is the best sort of water to bathe in for effective fiberglass removal.
Does Baby Powder Prevent Fiberglass from Sticking to the Skin?
Baby powder does help to keep the fiberglass from sticking to your skin. Applying the baby powder to your skin immediately before handling fiberglass protects the pores and keeps the fiberglass from sticking.
Although fiberglass is small and difficult to detect, it can be removed. As we have proven in this article, there are suitable methods to take to remove fiberglass from clothing effectively. Follow the mentioned steps and let us know whether they work once you attempt them. If you have any further questions, please leave them in the comments section below.