Over the years I’ve worn all kinds of pants when welding from your normal cotton cloth pants to denim jeans. If you’re new to welding you might be wondering why do welders where wear jeans while they are welding? Does it protect them in some way or is it just for the looks.?
Many welders wear jeans because it is made of a tightly woven cotton fabric called denim that does not burn easily. It also protects well against Ultraviolent and Infrared radiation, lasts a long time, and is more affordable than wearing fire retardant clothing.
Whether you’re new to welding or have been doing it for a while and looking for welding pants that will hold up to these tough conditions then keep reading. I’ll also share a special tip at the end of the article that will help you get more life out of your jeans.
5 Reasons Why Welders Wear Jeans
If you’re a welder you know how important it is to wear clothes that will hold up against the harsh conditions of welding. If you’ve never welded in your entire life it is important that you know how to protect yourself from all the dangers of welding.
Below are my top tips as to why you should wear jeans when welding.
1. Burn Through
To start jeans are made of a tough cotton fabric called denim. Cotton by nature does not burn easily. This doesn’t mean it won’t burn but it takes along more than just a few sparks to catch them on fire.
As your welding sparks will fall from your weld. With bare skin or plastic types of fabric such as Polyester, these sparks will melt through and burn you. I’ve personally had this happen to me when I was welding with a pair of sweat pants on.
However, the worse part about wearing the wrong pants is the slag. Sometimes when your welding small pieces of metal can break off and land on your pants.
In most cases, this slag will likely burn right through Polyester types of clothes but with jeans, it will take all more time to burn through.
2. Radiation Protection
Jeans also do a great job of protecting your legs from getting burnt from the radiation welding gives off. Welders burn and melt metal between 10,000 and 15,000 degrees.
As a result, the welder puts out ultraviolet and infrared radiation that can give you sunburn. I’ve personally had this happen to me a few times and it does not feel good.
The bad part is most people’s legs don’t get a lot of sunlight, especially your upper legs. If any part of your legs is exposed it will get burnt.
However, jeans do a great job of protecting your legs from this intense radiation. I recently had an employee who learned this the hard way when he had a hole in his pants and had a 2nd degree burn on his leg.
3. Long Lasting
Jeans are also a strong and durable material. This means they will last a long time. More so than other types of pants you might weld with like 100% cotton pants.
The thing I found with 100% cotton pants is that they are thin and don’t protect as well as jeans will. I’ve found people who weld with 100% cotton pants typically go through 2 to 1 over welder who wears jeans.
The only downside I’ve found to jeans is that they tend to tare somewhat easy if they get snagged on something. If you happen to get a hole in your jeans you’ll want to patch it with something before you start welding.
Quick Tips: I’ve found a rag and duct tape to work the best to protect your leg from welding flash if you happen to rip your jean while at work or at home.
I guess it’s like they always say, duct tape can fix anything, or at least till you can get a new pair of jeans.
Next, you also have to look at the affordability of your clothes. If you’re planning to wear fire retardant clothes be prepared to spend some money as this type of clothes can get quite expensive.
For a decent pair of fire retardant pants your looking at between $50 to $200. If you work 5 days a week you’ll need at least 5 to 6 pairs of pants and you can see how expensive this can get.
Now let’s look at what a pair of men’s work jeans cost.
As you can see men’s work jeans are much cheaper running between $22 to $33 a pair. Buying 5 or 6 pairs of these pants can be much cheaper.
Important: This does not imply that jeans are fire-retardant material.
So if cost is important to you then jeans are a great way to go. Later in this article, I’m going to cover where to get your jeans at.
Finally, the last thing to consider is the rotation of jeans you’ll need. If you have a job that requires you to wear durable pants then jeans are a great way to go.
As I showed in the last tip jeans are a lot cheaper alternative to fire-retardant pants. If you have a job that requires you to wear them then you’ll want to buy several pairs so you can keep them in a rotation.
For example, I have 11 pairs of jeans. I use one pair each of the 5 days of the workweek. The next week I wear the second 5 pairs and wash the five from the week before.
The extra pair is just in case I have to work an extra day in the week or tear a pair of pants.
Why Do Welders Starch Their Jeans
Want to know a simple way to toughen your jeans up even more. Then you consider starching them to help strengthen them. Why should you do this?
Starched jeans will make them more rigid and tough. It will help protect your legs from getting burnt from falling slag and sparks. It also helps to resist stains and keep them cleaner.
So if you want to add an additional layer of strength to your jeans then have them starched.
Where To Get Jeans for Welding
Finally, you might be wondering where to get jeans for welding, and for this, I have two possible solutions.
1. Ask Your Uniform Supplier
Your first option is to talk to your uniform supplier at your place of work. For example, at my shop we use Cintas.
They offer a wide range of different uniforms but they also can get you jeans if your workplace allows you to have them. I have a few workers who prefer jeans over 100% cotton pants because of well they work at protecting them.
On top of that, they will wash them, and keep fresh new pants in rotation for you every week. If you can do this it will be a lot cheaper than buying them yourself.
The other option you can look at is buying them on Amazon and keeping them in your own rotation. If your place of work does not provide uniforms you can try this option. Here are a few pairs I recommend.
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Regular Fit Comfort Flex Waist Jean
- Dickies Men’s Regular-Fit 5-Pocket Jean
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Relaxed Fit Boot Cut Jean
I recommend picking up 10 to 11 pairs. That way you can keep 5 fresh pairs in rotation each week while you wash the five you wore from the week before.