Fabric Flame Retardant Recipe – Experiment

This recipe is for a flame retardant application for fabric.

The boring but MOST IMPORTANT stuff first.

I used three different types of fabric, Cotton, Polyester, Acetate.

The Fabric was soaked in the Flame Retardant mixture and allowed to drip dry.

My Findings…

Cotton – did not burn! I kept the fabric in a flame for 3 minutes. There was smoke residue on the fabric but it would not burn!

Polyester – burned and melted as if I hadn’t applied any thing to it.

Acetate – burned, the flame retardant had no effect on the fabric.


Manufactured textiles such as Polyester and Acetate do not absorb liquids into their fibers. Natural Fibers such as cotton, silk or wool do absorb liquid into their fibers.

If using this recipe.. Please, Please, do your own burn test on the fabric.

Testing – light a candle and place on a piece of foil or cookie sheet (covered), Hold the fabric with tweezers or cooking tongs, anything so you hands are neither close to the fabric or flame.

Fabric Flame Retardant Recipe

4 ounces of Boric Acid
9 ounces of Borax
1 gallon of warm water


Mix together and soak fabric.
Remove and drip dry.

I cut this recipe down for my three 5″x5″ samples

1 ounce = 2 Tablespoons

1 ounce = 2 Tablespoons Boric Acid
2 ounce = 4 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Borax
1 quart = 4 cups warm water


4 Responses

  1. would it work as well at the regular strength though?
    you cut the water by 4 and the chemicals by 2(half) resulting in a double strength solution.

    • oops, I was comparing tablespoons to oz. sorry, and can you believe, I checked back three times before I posted that?

  2. do you soak the fabric, squeeze it out and let it air dry? Does the fabric dry stiff?

    • I did soak the fabric, but let it drip dry. The fabric wasn’t stiff at all, but please do a burn test so you know exactly how the fabric will behave. I found it to work on organic fabrics but not on synthetic fabrics. I created a notebook of various types of fabric soaked, dried, and then burned. Once the fabric is washed the retardant is gone and will need to be reapplied. I am not sure how it would work on fabric that has constant rubbing.

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