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The Importance of Wearing a Lab Coat

Scientist buttoning up lab coat


The laboratory coat is an underrated, unsung hero for anyone who works in a laboratory environment. It is almost impossible to visit your local laboratory or laboratory chemical suppliers and not see dozens of lab coats being used all over the facilities. Here are just a few of the many reasons that is the case.

It Is a Barrier

Just like laboratory glassware supplies, a lab coat is a barrier that protects you from the chemicals you work with. Your lab coat makes sure your street clothes and body are protected from spills, splashes, drops, and even unanticipated reactions. It is a barrier that keeps you from being exposed to accidents in the lab and, in some cases, might save you from injury or even save your life.

Fire Protection

Good lab coats are semi-fire retardant. The best mixture of materials is 35/65 poly-cotton. That is a good ratio between polyester (35%) and cotton (65%) because the polyester resists chemicals and is easy to maintain, while the cotton provides fire-retardant properties.

Fast Removal

If you get into a situation where you need to remove your lab coat, it comes off seamlessly, unlike other articles of clothing. For example, if a caustic chemical was spilled and got on your lab coat, or if a fire broke out that started to ignite the coat, getting out of it before you got burned is quick and easy, while still containing the hazard.

Sleeve and Arm Protection

Your arms are the most vulnerable part of your body when working in a lab if you are wearing appropriate safety clothing. Arms are the most exposed to hazardous materials and, without a lab coat, most shirt sleeves tend to hang a little loosely, making them ideal for brushing up against chemicals or fire. A lab coat protects the clothing beneath, as well as the arms.

Cross-Contamination Avoidance

You leave your lab coat in the lab when you take off for the day. Everything that is outside of the lab is kept from the coat, and everything on the coat is kept away from the outside. If you are wearing the full complement of lab safety clothing and equipment, as recommended by most laboratory supplies companies, the only way cross-contamination could occur is via your hands or other exposed skin.


Scientists looking at computer screen in lab

Clothing Protection

If you are like most laboratory workers, researchers, students, professors, or scientists, you probably do not have a lot of cash lying around for new clothes. A lab coat can help protect what you do have for clothes. More importantly, with the variety most laboratory supplies distributors offer, you can tailor your lab coat to meet your clothing style to ensure your clothes are protected at all times.


A sharp, clean, and professional-looking lab coat creates an aura of seriousness and competence that speaks well for you and your organization. Coupled lab coats have to be well maintained to pull this off, but their sense of professionalism is unmistakable. With most vendors of laboratory equipment supplies, you can negotiate to have your coats replaced and/or cleaned periodically to keep up the look and feel of a top-notch organization.

Lab coats are the unsung heroes of laboratory safety equipment. Without them, just about every part of the lab would be affected, from cross-contamination to injuries to staff. For more information on lab coats, please visit Hi Valley Chemical.