Fiber Content 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|