Plastic clothes hangers are modern wonders. Their tubular shape and construction makes them appear as though they would not be able to hold clothing items very well, and yet they are actually very strong. If you have ever wondered how plastic hangers are made and whether or not you could make your own at home, here are the answers to all of those questions.
Plastic Extrusion Does the Job
The manufacturing of plastic hangers begins in a plastics processing plant. Here, multiple chemicals combine to create various plastics. Some have a high tensile strength, meaning that these plastics can withstand a lot of pressure, force or pull before they break. This is exactly the type of plastic used to create hangers.
Next, the liquid plastic is forced through an extruder, a type of machine that creates a specific shape, often tubular in nature. Other machines cut the extruded plastic into appropriate lengths, then the plastic strips are quickly shaped into the triangular form commonly associated with hangers. Before the hot plastic has a chance to completely cool, the hook portion of each hanger is formed and attached or formed from remaining extruded plastic at the top of each triangle. The plastic hangers are allowed to cool, then trimmed for a smoother appearance.
Another method of plastic extrusion cuts sheets of extruded plastic and then uses a die-cutter to cut the hangers out of the still-hot plastic sheets. The hangers are removed like cut sugar cookies from rolled dough, and the remaining plastic is recycled into more hangers. This method is used less often because of the amount of leftover plastic that needs to be disposed of or recycled.
Why You Cannot Make Your Own Plastic Hangers
Melting plastic requires some very special equipment that can heat the plastic to a certain temperature, something your home stove cannot do. Additionally, melting plastic produces some very toxic fumes. In a manufacturing plant, those fumes are disposed of and dispelled properly and in accordance with the EPA laws. Because you cannot remove those fumes safely from your home (even if you could melt plastic at the correct temperature), you would be sending poisons into your home's air supply. Then there is the problem of being able to cut and shape your own hangers, which would require special safety equipment as well as machines. Even if you were able to pass by some of the initial hurdles, you still could not safely make plastic clothes hangers at home.