How To Clean Fabric and Other PPE Products

Posted by Dana Jordan on 18th Nov 2020

Among many things, COVID-19 has changed the way we must approach our methods of disinfecting rescue, and first aid equipment. Bloodborne pathogens have always been challenging to deal with. Now, the introduction of an easily transmitted viral threat has made it apparent that there's a need to increase the diligence with which we approach PPE and disinfecting techniques. Careful selection of products are also a consideration, as we evaluate everything we use and its ability to be adequately sanitized.

How To Clean Fabric and Other Products

We are often asked how to clean fabric, and other products, that have been contaminated with body fluids. While the rules are not absolute, the information below helps with products made of nylon, poly, vinyl or similar fabrics. Other, more substantial products like toboggans and litters can also be disinfected using these measures.

The NFPA standard for cleaning rescue gear of blood borne pathogens calls for a solution of 60 ml of household bleach for every 4 liters of tap water or 1/4 cup per gallon. 

The item is soaked for 10 minutes and then thoroughly rinsed off. Alcohol can be used to speed drying. Thoroughly rinsing the product is very important to ensure the bleach solution doesn't damage the material over long term contact. (See additional notes below)

COVID Resistant Products

At Cascade Rescue Company, we are proud to be able to support the containment of these pathogens with a select group of featured products:

Cascade Wrap Splints: Not only can it be repeatedly washed with anti-viral solutions, but this innovative splint designed at Cascade Rescue is also made of heavy-duty 18oz vinyl with a cold crack resistance of -40 degrees which covers a cushy 1.5" foam pad laminated to a flexible backing. 

Cascade Patient Protector: Custom designed to fit your Cascade Toboggan or litter, this may be the best thing that you can do for your patient. Manufactured of heavy-duty and waterproof vinyl, this padded wrap is tailored to easily enclose your patient in order to keep them warm, dry, and feeling secure on their way down the mountain. 

Cascade Patient Packaging Tarp: The same size as our HD Cold Weather Pack Cover but made from 18 oz striated vinyl. This tarp is 100% waterproof and very durable, making it ideal for stowing gear inside your toboggan or litter.


The concentration of bleach explained above is 1.5%.

NEVER use a higher concentration of bleach than stated above. Higher bleach concentrations are known to seriously damage nylon.

ALWAYS rinse products thoroughly after the 10 minute exposure to the bleach mixture.

After rinsing, allow the product to dry in a cool dry place, but not in direct sunlight. The use of a fan to blow air across the product can be used to speed the drying process. Do NOT lay products out on asphalt, concrete or other potentially hot surfaces to dry.

Excerpt from DuPont Technical Information - Nylon - Bulletin N-161