HOME

How to determine fabric content by using the burn test.

Snip a piece of fabric equivalent to 1" square.  Using a butane lighter and holding the fabric with a pair of tweezers ignite the fabric over a non-flammable surface in a well ventilated area.

Examine the quality and color of the flame, the odor produced, and the  quality of the resulting ash or cinder.  Use this table to help determine your fabric's content.
 
 
FABRIC
FLAME
QUALITY
ODOR
ASH
QUALITY
COMMENTS
WOOL orange color
sputtery
burning hair
or feathers
blackish
turns to powder 
when crushed
flame will self extinguish
if flame source is removed 
no smoke
SILK burns slowly burning hair
or feathers
grayish
turns to powder
when crushed
burns more easily than wool
but will self extinguish is flame 
source removed
COTTON yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
grayish, fluffy slow burning ember
LINEN yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
similar to cotton takes longer to ignite than cotton but otherwise very similar
RAYON fast orange flame burning paper
or leaves
almost no ash ember will continue to glow after flame source removed
POLYESTER orange flame, sputtery sweet or fruity smell hard shiny  black bead black smoke
ACETATE burns and melts,sizzly acidic or vinegary hard black bead will continue to burn after flame source removed
NYLON burns slowly and melts,  bluse base and orange tip, no smoke burning celery hard grayish or brownish bead self extinguish if flame source removed
ACRYLIC burns and melts, white-orange tip, no smoke acrid black hard crust will continue to burn after flame source removed