fabricburn

Fabric burn test

Have you ever been stumped as to the fiber content on some mystery fabric or yarn you've acquired?  Try the burn test!

Snip a piece of fabric or yarn equivalent to about 1" square. Using a butane lighter, not a match, 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 if 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, bluish 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