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Upholstery Burn Test: Springfield Missouri

What Is An Upholstery Burn Test?

A burn test is used to determine the type of fabric and the meathod of cleaning that must be used. If you do a burn test yourself you can be educated when you call a company to clean your upholstery. This is just another tool you can have to make sure you dont get taken to the cleaners. 


Burn Test

Burn test is the most accepted method for identifying the true nature of any fabric. This test is carried out to know whether a fabric is made up of a natural fiber, man-made fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers.The burn test has to be carried out with precaution. Have some water near the site of test and should be done in a metal bucket, glass ashtray or a metal can.

The Method

To identify the fibers cut a snippet of the fabric to be tested. This specimen should be about 1" long and a triangle at most 1/4" wide. The snippet of fabric should be held in a pair of tweezers over the dish. With either a match or cigarette lighter, the snippet should be put directly into the flame long enough for it to catch on fire.

Most of the fabrics burn and they have to be extinguished. There are other fabrics that burn until there is nothing to burn, or they burn and go out on their own after a few seconds leaving remaining unburned fiber and are therefore self-extinguishing. There are certain other fabrics that do not burn even with a flame held directly to it.

Fibers can also be identified through the smell of the smoke it gives off in burning, and the ash or melted bead that remains after it has burned. Some of the fabrics are blends, and the blend of fibers may make the burn test rather unreliable test for fiber content. Moreover, some fabrics have chemical finishes applied to them that will change the way they burn, which can make the burn test unreliable.

The fiber burn chart given below helps in identifying the nature of the fibers on the basis of their burning characteristics and the smell and other properties of the remains such as smoke, ash etc.


The following fabrics would be considered “Hard to Clean” requiring special cleaning technics and a well-trained upholstery technician.

Cotton This is a cellulose fiber. It burns and may flare up when lit. No melted bead is left by it. After burning, it continues to glow. It gives out smell like that of a burning paper. The smoke is gray or white. The ash is fine, soft that can be easily crumbled.

Silk Is a protein fiber, which burns slowly and curls away from the flame. It leaves a dark bead, which can be easily crushed. It is self-extinguishing and leaves ash that is dark, gritty, fine powder. It smells like burned hair or charred meat. It gives out a little or no smoke and the fume has no hazard.

Wool Is a protein fiber, which burns slowly. It sizzles and curls away from flame and may curl back onto fingernail. It leaves beads that are brittle, dark, and easily crushed. It is self-extinguishing and leaves harsh ash from crushed bead. It gives out a strong odor of burning hair or feathers. It gives out dark smoke and moderate fume.


The following fabrics would be considered “Easy to Clean” still requiring special cleaning but a trained upholstery technician should be used.

Polyester Is a polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products. It burns quickly and shrinks away from flame, may also flare up. It leaves hard, dark, and round beads. After the flame, it burns slowly and is not always self-extinguishing. It has a slightly sweet chemical odor. It leaves no ash but its black smoke and fume are hazardous.

Acrylic, Modacrylic, Polyacrylic Made from natural gas and petroleum, they flare up at match-touch, shrink from flame, burn rapidly with hot sputtering flame and drip dangerously. Beads are hard, dark, and with irregular shapes. They continue melting after flame is removed and are self-extinguishing. When burning, they give out strong acrid, fishy odor. Although no ash is left but their black smoke and fume are hazardous.

At Ultra Carpet Care, we have many years of traing and experiance, and thousands of satisfied hapy customers who call us back year after year. For Professional Upholstery Cleaning in Springfield Missouri, Give Ultra Carpet Care Of Springfield Missouri a Call Today. (417) 459-1971 

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