There is a lot of confusion between flame-resistant and flame-retardant fabric. While these two phrases sound similar, each fabric is quite different, as they undergo very different processes to become protective. Below, we will clarify the main differences and explain the features of both types.
Flame-retardant fabrics can slow or halt the spread of fire. These fabrics can be made from various materials because the fire-retardancy comes from a chemical finish applied directly to the fabric, which delays the possible impact of fire on the fabric. Typical applications are:
- home furniture
These applications are similar in that they are not (frequently) cleaned with wet processes. Since the finish is not penetrated or deeply bonded to the fabric's fibers, it will wash out when cleaned. Flame-retardant fabrics may require a new FR finish (re-application) over time. Overall, flame-retardant fabric does not offer permanent fire protection, making it less ideal for protective garments. However, the definitions of flame-retardant and flame-resistant are easy to mix up by the market and even ourselves.
Flame-resistant fabrics, on the other hand, are permanently flame-resistant. They cannot ignite being in or close to fire because they are self-extinguishing. Therefore, flame-resistant fabrics are suitable for PPE clothing and other protective garments.
Selecting The Right Fabric for Your Team
Selecting the right FR fabric means considering several factors for your team, including your industry, potential job risks, and the needs of your wearers.
If you need more information about the flame-resistant fabrics available on the market, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to advise you further.