Handling and Laundering Pesticide-Soiled Clothing Quiz

  • Mock, Judy;
  • Jennings, Harriet T.


  • True - ALWAYS be aware of the pesticide that was used and ALWAYS read the label.
  • True - To PREVENT contaminating items in the home, it's safest to remove garments outdoors (away from traffic paths) and to shake any pesticide from the garments. If a granular pesticide was used, all pockets and cuffs should be emptied. Remove as much of the pesticide as possible from the garments at this time to lessen the chance of contaminating the washing machine.
  • True - Wear unlined rubber gloves (the lining in gloves can become contaminated) to handle pesticide-soiled clothing. Carefully wash the gloves in hot water after each use and store and use them ONLY for this purpose.
  • False - Remove clothes immediately if they become saturated with highly toxic pesticides and discard them in an appropriate manner so that others won't be contaminated. Do not try to launder them.
  • False - Prerinsing is a very important step as it helps to remove pesticide residue. Prerinsing can be done by:
    • - presoaking in a suitable container before washing;
    • - prerinsing with agitation in an automatic washing machine;
    • - spraying or hosing garment(s) outdoors.
  • False - NEVER store contaminated clothing with family laundry.
  • True - To PREVENT contaminating family laundry always wash contaminated garments separately.
  • True - The more water used the better. Large amounts of water aid in thoroughly flushing pesticides from fabrics. Using a full washer level also decreases the possibility that a pesticide would be redeposited back on the fabric.
  • False - In general, washing in hot water removes more pesticide from the clothing. Avoid cold-water washing! Although cold-water washing might save energy, research has shown that cold water is relatively ineffective in removing pesticides from clothing.
  • False - Most laundry detergents are similarly effective in removing pesticides from fabric if the pesticide isn't oil-based. Research has shown that heavy-duty liquid detergents are more effective than other detergents in removing oil-based (emulsifiable concentrate) pesticides. Heavy-duty liquid detergents are known for their oil-removing ability.
  • True - Bleach and ammonia don't remove pesticides from clothing. NEVER mix these two products because they react together to form poisonous chlorine gas.
  • True - Small amounts of pesticides remain in the washing machine after the wash cycle is over, so it's important to rinse the washing machine with an empty load. Use hot water, the same detergent, and the same machine setting and cycle used for laundering the soiled clothing and run the machine through an extra cycle.
  • False - Line dry the clothes to keep from contaminating the dryer. Sunlight and air movement will aid in decomposing or breaking down any pesticide residue not removed during laundering.
  • True - Wash hard hat, goggles, respirator, gloves and neoprene boots in hot, soapy water after each use. If possible, remove the charcoal filter to avoid getting it wet. Store the clean articles away from where pesticides are stored.

This document is from a series of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Publication date: January 1992.

Specialist-in-charge (human environment), Extension Clothing Specialist; North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More