How To Recognize Fabric Types (Unlabeled) For Thrifting


Share post:

How to recognize fabric types of a garment that no longer has a label? Recognizing if the fabric is cotton, silk, or synthetic doesn’t mean you need to become a fashion designer. Simply follow our guide. 

When we buy a garment, we usually refer to the labels to know the type of fabric, its composition, if it is mixed and how to maintain it. Except that sometimes we are dealing with clothes without labels, for example when we buy a garment in a thrift store, when the garment is old or when we have a custom-made piece. 

Don’t worry, even in the absence of labels, it is possible to learn how to recognize fabric types using our simple points. 

How To Recognize Fabric Types That Have No Label For Cleaning 

How To Recognize Fabric Types With Fire: 

We all know that the only way to find all the components of a fabric is to say so on the label. It is also the same reasoning for not being mistaken about the maintenance of a garment, because all the information is listed on the label. But without this information, it’s hard to be sure you’re buying the right fabric. Doubts about the final outcome of the project will multiply. But there are of course ways to recognize each fabric, and these will be revealed to you later in this article.

Since it is not easy to recognize the fabric of a garment that does not bear or no longer bears a label, one can always try to burn a thread taken from a hem or a seam knowing that:

  • Cotton: Burns rapidly leaving a thin stream of ash.
  • Silk: Burns slowly giving off an odor of burnt horn. Burn the silk and it will become ashes. Burn a synthetic thread, it will harden and become a black ball of glue.
  • Wool: Burns slowly with a sizzle.
  • Rilsan: Melts forming a ball giving off a smell of tallow.
  • Nylon: Melts forming a hard ball giving off a vague smell of celery.
  • Rhovyl: Retracts.
  • Rayon and fibranne: Burn quickly giving off an odor of burnt paper.
  • Acetate: Melts forming a small black ball.

Successfully recognizing fabrics without seeing the labels can be done with these points above. There is a wide variety of fabrics, and some are even confused at first sight. So, in order not to be mistaken, try to burn a small piece of the fabric that you have in front of you. This is the technique that will help you determine the type of fabric you are dealing with. And while it burns, pay attention to the reaction. 

The Characteristics Of Different Fabrics: 

To recognize the type of fabric of a garment, all you have to do is burn a thread or a small coupon taken from your garment and observe the reaction it makes when it burns.


If the thread burns quickly leaving a small streak of ash, then it is cotton.

Cotton is a natural fiber of plant origin from the cotton plant. This type of fabric is very comfortable to wear and has a high absorption capacity. Cotton helps insulate from the cold by forming a protective barrier and thus keeping you warm.


If the thread burns slowly with the smell of burnt horn, then it is silk.

Whether wild or farmed, silk is a fiber of animal origin made by silkworms that are native to southern China. This fabric has the characteristic of being very soft and shiny and is very effective in absorbing moisture and keeping warm.


If the yarn is slowly sizzling, then it is wool. Wool is a fabric of animal origin that comes mainly from sheep. With the arrival of fast fashion, this fiber is usually mixed with other synthetic fabrics to increase its durability and make it more flexible. Wool keeps you warm and absorbs moisture and perspiration. It does, however, require specific maintenance and should be washed gently, preferably by hand and at low temperatures. 


In the case where the thread melts forming a hard ball using fire, we know it is Nylon. Nylon is a synthetic material widely used in the textile industry, such as in the manufacture of tights, windbreaker jackets, lingerie, and swimwear. It is characterized by its low absorption capacity and high ability to dry quickly.

Rayon or viscose

If the fabric ignites and burns quickly with the smell of burnt paper, then it is rayon or viscose.

Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber made from cellulose obtained from wood pulp or cotton. This fabric is very close to cotton. Indeed, it has a high absorption capacity and is very inelastic. Rayon was invented in 1884 to replace silk which was becoming scarce due to a disease that affected silkworms at the time.


Same thing for this type of fabric: if the burnt yarn melts forming a hardball, then it’s acetate. However, Acetate looks different from Nylon. Indeed, it is silky, shiny, and pleasant to the touch. It is an artificial fiber of plant origin, which is made from processed cellulose. This fabric is known to be poorly absorbent and to accumulate static electricity.

Finally, it is important to know the type of fabric of our clothes but even more important to take care of it and especially to pay attention to the machine washing.

How To Recognize Fabric Before Removing Stains

Now that you know all about the fabric of the stained garment, just as not all fabrics have the same sensitivity to fire, the same continues for stains: natural fibers, for example, come off more easily than synthetic fibers. Not all fabrics have the same sensitivity to stain removers, for example, most solvents are to be avoided on viscose. Water stains acrylic, modacrylic and chlorofibre velvets, undiluted alcohol is to be avoided on synthetic fabrics. It is therefore advisable to identify the fabric of your garment. 

Know the fabric of your garment before washing:

1) Natural fiber fabrics

These are cotton, linen, wool and silk

– Cotton is extracted from the seeds of the cotton plant.

– Flax comes from flax bast.

– Wool is extracted from the fleece of sheep.

– Silk comes exclusively from silkworm insects.

Apart from silk, which requires certain precautions when removing stains, natural fibers support all stain removers well.

2) Artificial fiber fabrics

These are viscose (rayon or fibranne), acetate and triacetate.

Viscose, flexible, absorbent,antistatic, is a regenerated cellulose fiber obtained by the viscose process. Except for trichloroethylene, all solvents can stain viscose. The viscose is also machine washable at less than 40°, without spin-drying and ironed at medium iron.

Acetate, which has the trade name diacel, can be washed by hand and ironed inside out, at the gentlest temperature. Acetate fears bleach, acetone and trichloroethylene. Dry cleaning is recommended for Acetate fabrics. Triacetate is an acetate fiber that washes like acetate.

How to Remove a Mud or Soil Stain from Fabric 

On a playground a child has his clothes covered in mud, what does his mother or father do? Let’s find out. 

Sometimes when we sit down in the grass, or when we play sports in the fields, our clothes are stained by mud, or when we walk in the rain, our shoes can stain a carpet. So, we present 7 tips for removing soil or mud from a fabric and how to avoid dirt stains. 

  1. Remove stains by brushing them: Let the mud stain dry, then brush.
  1. Remove mud stains with talc: Let the mud dry then sprinkle with talc. Leave for an hour then brush.
  1. Remove mud stains with baking soda: Let the mud dry then sprinkle it with baking soda. Wait an hour. Then dust.
  1. Remove mud stains with soapy water: Clean any remaining mud stains by dabbing them with a cloth dampened with soapy water.
  1. Remove mud stains with vinegar water: Dab the stains with a damp cloth with a few drops of white vinegar. Then wash either in the washing machine or by hand.
  1. Remove mud stains with lemon water: Dab the stains with a damp cloth with a few drops of lemon juice. Then wash either in the washing machine or by hand. Remove mud stains with ammonia water
  1. Remove mud stains with bleach: Clean dirt or mud stains by dabbing it with a cloth soaked in ammonia water (1 tablespoon for 1 liter). Rub gently, and wash either in the machine or by hand.

All of these solutions can be applied to clothing, rugs, or carpets. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Related articles

Unveiling Marta Riesco: 9 Fascinating and Lesser-Known Facts About the Ana Rosa Reporter

Journalist and TV presenter Marta Riesco first appeared on television 15 years ago. The journalist has become one...

Budget-Friendly Guide: Top 10 NYC Attractions and Activities for Frugal Explorers

At first glance, you might believe New York seems to be all skyscrapers, elegant cocktail clubs, and busy...

Kiama Blowhole: Operating Hours and Exciting Attractions Near Kiama

In New South Wales, Kiama is a region formed by volcanic islands where the lava flowed and erupted...

Dolly Parton: America’s Legendary Country Star

Popular country singer and film actress Dolly Parton made the American dream come true. Growing up in an...