Are Bodies Cremated with Clothes On?

Sometimes our brains go to weird and wonderful places, don’t they?
Are Bodies Cremated with Clothes On?

If you think you’re a tad creepy for asking yourself – and Googling – questions like, ‘Are bodies cremated with clothes on?’, we’re here to tell you that you’re actually pretty normal. In fact, many people find themselves asking slightly strange (but relatively intriguing) questions like these.

So, let’s cut to the chase: Are bodies cremated with clothes on?

Yes, generally they are. However, some religions and cultures require that specific clothes or garments be worn during cremation. So while typically people are cremated with their clothes on, what these clothes actually look like and represent can differ.

For example, Hindu families will often follow the tradition of dressing their loved one in white clothing or will wrap them in a simple shroud. Equally, if the deceased is a married woman who died before their spouse, they’ll be dressed in red clothes.

Does that mean anything and everything can be cremated with the body?

Nope. Not all materials can be safely cremated. Certain items – like garments made from synthetic fibres, jewellery, medical devices, and more – can release toxic gases during cremation. As a result, cremation providers will generally have safety guidelines and regulations around what an individual is allowed to wear during cremation.

It’s always worth asking the cremation provider to provide these details before you decide on your loved one’s attire – that way you won’t have to scrap a memorable or meaningful idea you had at the last minute.

Materials that can be safely cremated include:

  • Cardboard
  • Cotton
  • Wicker
  • Wool
  • Paper

Materials that cannot be safely cremated include:

  • Rubber
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Electronic devices
  • Mechanical devices
  • Anything that’s battery-operated
  • Synthetic materials (it’s always worth checking what clothes are made of)
  • Plastic
  • Silicone implants

And more – so check with your chosen funeral director for details.

Can I choose the clothes my loved one is cremated in?

Yes, usually you can. However, as mentioned above, all cremation providers have rules and regulations around what a person can wear during cremation. Some funeral directors might assign a professional cremation dresser to your family, whereby they’ll prepare (and clothe) the deceased for their cremation. Other providers will allow families to dress their loved one prior to cremation.

What happens to the clothes when they’re cremated?

In case you haven’t yet read our other guide on cremation and what the process entails, we’ll share one important fact: The body (and the clothing on it at the time of cremation) will be passed into a cremation chamber with an industrial furnace. This furnace heats up to around 2,000 degrees (hot, we know) thanks to propane, diesel and natural gas. This means the body and the clothes it’s dressed in will turn to ash. Any metal remnants left behind will be removed and sent to be recycled.

So, put simply, clothes that are cremated will turn to dust. Much like the body.

I want to choose the clothes for my loved one, and dress them prior to cremation. What does this process usually involve?

Dressing your loved one for cremation can be a really meaningful way to say goodbye to them, but it can also be a confronting experience. This is often why families opt for a direct cremation entirely organised by the funeral home.

Here’s what the process usually involves:

Prohibited clothing and accessories are removed

This can include any items you’d rather your loved one is cremated without, any materials the cremation provider has stipulated can’t be cremated, or any heirlooms/meaningful items a family member will inherit (like a necklace, ring or pair of earrings).

The deceased is washed

This part of the process can be confronting and uncomfortable to the uninitiated so it’s often best left to the professionals. It’s also important to note that cleaning the deceased isn’t 100% necessary or required, but it is a process many families like to ensure takes place, out of respect for their loved one.

Choose an outfit they would've wanted to be cremated in. 

Some people choose to properly dress their loved one, while others prefer to simply cover the body in a shroud. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, so pick whichever option you feel most comfortable with.

Complete their look with shoes and accessories.

Just remember to exclude any items that aren’t able to be cremated, like items that feature metal or toxic/synthetic materials. Some families also like to apply makeup to their loved one so they look their very best when they’re cremated.

Wrap up

While there are a few rules around the materials that can and can’t be cremated with a body, there are a range of ways you can personalise the process and make it meaningful for yourself, your family, and the deceased. It’s always worth chatting to the cremation provider of choice before making decisions around your loved one’s cremation, just to ensure you’re opting for a provider who will be supportive of you and your family during the cremation process.

If you need support arranging a direct cremation or you'd like to preplan for yourself, please give the team at Willed a call on 1300 945 533.

Share this guide:
share buttonfacebook share buttontwitter share buttonlinkedin share buttonemail share button