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how do youtell polyester fabric from cotton?

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Flojo posted on Sat, Apr 6 2013 10:57 AM

Some time ago, back in 2011 I think, there was a post on how to tell whether a fabric of unknown content was mostly or all cotton or polyester.  This was in reference to  either inherited or donated fabric.  Burning a small piece of the fabric was involved.  I would like to review this post as I cannot remember all the particulars.  Can anyone tell me where to find it or how to find it?  Or perhaps just repeat it here for me?

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Hi Flojo -

I don't know where to find the post you mentioned but this is what i do.  I cut a small (2"sq) piece of fabric, stand at the kitchen sink where I have access to water (if for some unknown reason I would need it) and strike a match to a corner of the fabric.  If it is cotton, it will burn evenly, if it is polyester, it will melt.

I definitely have discarded fabrics from my sewing room after doing this test.

MargeP

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I think I remember from college (which was a long time ago) that nail polish remover will melt polyester.  Anyone else know if that is so?  I think it will clean melted poly blends off your iron too.  Again, it's been a looonnnnng time.

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Pamela replied on Fri, Apr 12 2013 10:42 AM

Marge P:
 If it is cotton, it will burn evenly, if it is polyester, it will melt.

Yes, this is also my understanding.

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Marge P:

Hi Flojo -

I don't know where to find the post you mentioned but this is what i do.  I cut a small (2"sq) piece of fabric, stand at the kitchen sink where I have access to water (if for some unknown reason I would need it) and strike a match to a corner of the fabric.  If it is cotton, it will burn evenly, if it is polyester, it will melt.

I definitely have discarded fabrics from my sewing room after doing this test.

MargeP

 

I do this, too. I also have been know to test my clothing this method (with a small piece from a facing or something) if the tag is missing or faded. I like to thrift store cruise and my clothes for work have to be cotton - no synthetics allowed (to help avoid static).  

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