The Burn Test

One of the requirements of WIRES pouches is that be made of 100% cotton so that the animals can breath inside them. I have heaps of fabric that I think is cotton as that is all that my mum and I used to buy but to be certain I do the burn test on the fabric.

If you have never done the burn test its really simple. I would suggest the first time you do that you try it on a piece that you know is 100% cotton and on a piece that you know is poly cotton that way you can really see and smell the difference. You should only do this in a well ventilated area and have a source of water on standby. Your kitchen or laundry sink is perfect.

Cotton Burning

When 100% cotton is ignited it burns and smells like paper. The flame is small but it spreads across the fabric as it burns. The smell is mild like burning paper or leaves. A very organic smell. Its a slow burn

Cotton Burnt


When you blow out the flame the burnt area is very brittle and crumbly. Its very similar to burnt ash and it smells like paper has been extinguished. The fabric remains very flat.

Poly Cotton Burning


When poly cotton is ignited the flame is very intense. It burns very fast. Be careful with this one as this is the one you don’t want to be holding it for too long. The smell is a very synthetic smell. The flame spreads very quickly and isn’t a uniform shape.

Poly Cotton Burnt 1


When the flame is blown out you smell a melted plastic odour. The fabric itself looks melted. Its not flat its puckered. The burnt area is hard and doesn’t come away from the fabric easily


So after doing the burn test you can see the difference between the two fabrics. Cotton when burnt resembles burning paper. It has a very organic smell and burns smoothly. When its blown out the burnt area is ash like and crumbles. Poly cotton when burnt has a synthetic smells. It ignites fast and melts the fibres. When extinguished the burnt area is very hard and puckered not flat at all.

The burn test is really simple to do to test to see if fabric is 100% cotton. Once you know the differences between the two burning fabrics you’ll know instantly as soon as you burn the fabric what it is.




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