Pesticide Safety

Q. How should one wash clothes worn while applying pesticide?

A. Wear rubber gloves when handling pesticide contaminated clothing. Clothing that has had a highly toxic pesticide spilled on it should be discarded. For clothing that was worn while handling, mixing, or applying pesticides, first hang the garments outdoors to air. This will allow some of the pesticide to volatilize and will reduce the amount brought into the house. Pre-rinse the garment by either hosing it off outdoors, rinsing it in a separate tub or bucket, or using a pre-rinse cycle in an automatic washer. Use a heavy-duty liquid detergent to pretreat heavily contaminated spots or garments, then wash the garments in an automatic washer, separately from any other clothing. Do not overload the washer - the fewer the garments, the better they will be cleaned. Use hot water, heavy-duty detergent in the amount recommended on the package for heavy soiling or hard water, and select the longest wash cycle offered by the washer. If the chemical used was highly toxic, run the clothes through the wash cycle twice. Rinse the clothes with two full warm water rinses. Line dry the garments so that any pesticide residue cannot possibly contaminate the dryer, and clean the washer of any residues by running it through a complete cycle, with detergent and hot water, while empty.

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