Due to the polymer content in textiles in general, textiles represent a major source of fire and combustion. However, when proper fire retardant chemicals are applied, the textiles could be made significantly less susceptible to fire breakouts.
Fire retardant chemicals can come in various forms, they include paints, varnishes and saturates. These chemicals do not just offer protection on your garment products and in addition, they provide cover for a host of household items like upholstery, carpets, bed sheets, mattresses and perhaps the biggest culprit of many fires, curtains. There are three main objectives of the application of fire retardant chemicals on textiles, namely; they are to make it difficult for textiles to catch on fire, stop the easy spreading of fire, and ultimately preserve lives.
Most textiles respond well to such flame retardant treatments yet there are some known fabrics that do not take too kindly to such chemicals. For example, materials that consist of 100% nylon, acetate, or acrylic have been found to belong to this category. Another problematic material is Teflon. Teflon coated fabric often does not render itself to be fire safe even after treatment. Due to the impact of globalization, sometimes we do not know what compounds go into the garment products that are manufactured in other countries. For this reason, consumers can always ask for a small sample to be tested before proceeding with full treatment. Most established applicators have no qualm about carrying out this test, while some do charge a small fee.
Due to advancement in modern technology, textile treatment is no longer performed with huge clunky machines at plants. There is portable equipment that allows applicators to bring the fire retardant treatment to your home. The most efficient method of impregnating fibers is to immerse the unpainted fabric but fire retardant chemicals can also be brushed on to the fabric. This may be less effective but it can be successful if done thoroughly and if the fabric is brushed on both sides. The other method of applying fire retardant is by spraying the fabric. Often the fabric is weighed before the treatment to ensure that sufficient fire retardant chemicals are being used.
While the key compounds in any fire retardant treatment are chemicals, most treatments do not alter your fabric. Usually the treatment won’t leave hard spots or chemical residues behind. It also does little to change the texture of the material. So for example, your bed sheets and curtains will feel exactly as they did even after the treatment. In any case, consumers can ask for a sample test before comprehensive treatment is carried out.
Traditionally, public institutions and commercial organizations were the regular clients of fire retardant applications. Today though, more and more homeowners understand the risks of fires and fire retardant treatments are becoming a standard necessity in the home.