Does 100% cotton fabrics can be flame retardant ?

The customer contacted and shared that their 100% cotton fabrics had shrunk after washing. They said the number of washing times was not up to the standard of flame retardant fabrics. If you are in the manufacturing industry, you must have because; many customers ask if the product has passed this kind of flam standard.

Before the answer to this question, I like to introduce you to a brief of flame retardant raw materials such as aramid fiber. This blog post will show you whether 100% cotton fabrics can be flame retardant and the methods of improving the washing skill and the durability of cotton fire retardant fabric.

What is the flame retardant fabric?

Flame retardant fabrics are special kinds of materials used in clothes, particularly for preventing fire spreading. Well, a large part of the fabrics we usually use in our homes isn’t flammable or fireproof. If we happen to have a fire next to us, it is going to spread very easily. Aramid has high thermal stability and excellent flame resistance. Flame retardancy refers to the degree of resistance to fire on the material performance, not only means that material is non-combustible, but also refers to the ability of a combustive material when the action of heat, unable to ignite or burn again after extinguished.

The Characteristic of flame retardant fabrics

The main characteristic of flame retardant fabric is its heat resistance, so, when the fiber’s temperatures reach their stability limit, there is a thermal transition that helps to resist the development of the fire.

The fire retardant fabrics normally contain mineral salt as an additive, which reacts with the moisture released by the fabric, resisting combustion. Fire retardant fabrics are made from synthetic fibers as well as natural fibers. The most common materials used for making fire-retardant fabrics are cotton, polyamide, polyester, and wool.

 The fabrics are woven and cut into required shapes and sizes and then treated with fire retardant chemicals to give a high flame retardancy finish.

Many types of flame retardant fabrics can be used for different applications. One of the most common & popular fabrics used in clothing is 100% cotton fabrics.

Which Fabrics are Most Flame Resistant?

We all know that flame retardant fabrics play an important role in protecting people from fire and that they’re used in a wide variety of non-flammable products, including children’s sleepwear, undergarments, apparel, and more. But what many people don’t realize is that treated fibers are made from natural materials – like cotton.

Cotton is the only fabric not derived from petroleum sources that can be treated as flame-resistant. Because of this, and because of its high demand around the globe, cotton accounts for 20% of the total acreage planted globally with fiber crops like flax, jute, and hemp; it’s the most valuable crop in the world.

When you evaluate the different fabrics for flame-resistant qualities, you absolutely have to look for certain traits. If your goal is to create an outfit or a piece of furniture that will offer protection from fire, there are certain characteristics you need to consider first.

How aramid can be permanently washable

Aramid fiber is one of the most important products of the Chinese textile industry. Although the strength and toughness are good, because the processing temperature is high, and it is easy to damage and broken after the burn test. The flame retardant of aramid can be permanently washable. It can be in a highly flammable environment that does not catch fire and release toxic gases such as dangerous situations.

Well, there are too many aramid manufacturers in the garment industry. They adopt different technologies of flame retardant aramid. The most common technology is the thermal process. There is a high temperature above 200C in the thermal process, which causes the melting and decomposition of the fibers. If you want to wash out the flame retardant chemicals from the aramid after the flame retardant treatment, it will take years to restore their original flame retardancy.

However, some new technologies can be used immediately after washing them after finishing the flame retardant process.

How to make cotton-based flame retardant to be washable 50-100 times

Washable flame retardants have some important purposes. They are used to move the protection segment of fabrics from the end-of-life phase to the use phase, which is not only easier for consumers to understand, it can also lead to positive environmental impacts.

A flame retardant chemical treatment is added to the cotton fabric before the textile dyeing process, therefore this kind of flame retardant cannot be washed out easily.

Have you ever seen a flame retardant t-shirt that was made out of cotton? There are a lot of people who know that cotton is an important material for firefighters since it is washable and light. However, the majority of the relatives of cotton are not washable. Washing or water often means fading, instability, and volatility. The ecofriendly washing standards for proteins are decreasing day by day.

Although there are various researches conducted by some chemical companies, to make their fire retardants washable, there are no certified results regarding the safety problem of washing these non-organic chemically compounded fabrics.

Advantages and disadvantages of aramid

Many people do not understand what aramid fabrics are and how they have changed the face of the sporting world. I will try to simplify the process by providing some basic information here of what aramid is and the different types that exist.

 Aramid fabrics are among the strongest and most useful fabrics in the world. At the same time, though, they can be sharp like a blade because of their high modulus of elasticity. Due to these properties, they can be used in many applications; Aramid cloth is an ideal material for many applications. It has excellent tensile strength and high-temperature resistance.

The Aramid’s main disadvantages are relatively high cost and difficulties in handling. Due to its strength, heat-treated aramid is stiff and brittle. If not carefully handled on the way from the manufacturer to its end-user, aramid can lose its strength, becoming less useful as a reinforcing fiber.

Advantages and disadvantages of cotton retardant fabric

From time to time, we have to face the heat, or some might literally be in the same situation. We are talking about fire and high temperatures that can break your things quickly and even burn them. For this reason, there is always cotton retardant fabric that is needed to be used as a form of protection against such circumstances. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of cotton retardant fabric.

Cotton retardant fabric is a synthetic material made of natural commonly the cellulose obtained from wood and jute. Its excellent fire retardant characteristic can effectively control the fire; prevent clothing and all kinds of materials. Here we take advantage and disadvantages of cotton retardant fabric as follows:

Cotton retardant fabric is not only used on firefighting uniforms but also has wide application in civilian self-defense and police combat clothing. Cotton retardant fabrics are made of coating materials with good performance of flammability retardance, and the appearance, cost, and maintenance of cotton cloth are kept similar to ordinary cotton cloth.

Although there are environmental advantages, such as less water use and reduced particulate emissions into the air, it still does not measure up to other fibers. However, it has some disadvantages, one of the main disadvantages is: if the FR fabrics with a thickness of fewer than 150 grams, the strength will be relatively low, and the flame retardant effect will be deteriorated due to the thinner fabric.

The cost of aramid significantly exceeds that of cotton products

The cost of aramid fabric is high, why? Because by the time processing and packaging are completed to a finished product, it costs more than twice as much as cotton products. The cost of aramid significantly exceeds that of cotton products. Quality technical textiles, especially fiberglass fabrics for the markets of Russia, China, and Ukraine are produced in Belgium and Turkey. The cost of aramid thread differs depending on the capacity and production experience of the manufacturer and the structure of a contract with him.

Cotton retardant fabric is not as expensive as aramid, but it certainly has a very serviceable price, and when you are buying only the cost of the difference does not seem much, but if we are talking about large purchases to replace cotton fabric for aramid fabric definitely is not a small amount.

Cotton has better air permeability and water absorption, but from the cost point of view, aramid fabric is much more expensive than cotton products.

Although the aramid material is more expensive, in daily life, aramid fiber textile products a small amount can be used for a long time, lasting longer than other materials. So if we use up the products and have business processing needs, then it is worth purchasing or home textiles.


100% cotton fabrics are widely used in clothing such as pajamas, shirts, and T-shirts. Does 100% cotton fabrics can be flame retardant? Yes, a fabric made of 100% cotton is flammable and cotton fabrics can be flame retardant. Flame-proofing fabrics is also an important step in the safety of textiles. It makes sure that the clothes you wear every day or your upholstery at home are safe from being ignited by fire.

There are two main classifications for flame retardant fabric; one is using intumescent chemical mixture impregnated into the fabric to delay or inhibit ignition, the other is using fluorocarbon plastic compounds combined with other bio-based polymers.

Aramid and cotton aramid fabrics are valued for their exceptional useful characteristics of strength, heat and flame resistance, and good chemical stability. These fibers are also widely used as basic materials in clothing products, sports protective garments, military garments, industrial protective garments, and medical products, but aramid considers little costly than cotton.

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