Polyester warning

Since it is getting colder I’ll relate an experience.

I was welding a while back and had a polyester fuzzy coated jacket laying about five feet away and a spark landed on it and it began burning very fast. As close as I was I didn’t get the fire out fast enough to avoid burning up one sleeve and a pocket.


Thanks. Maybe fuzz would make
decent tinder when one has to start a fire.

Dryer lint
That is why dryer lint is the best fire starter you’ll ever find! Nylon and rayon burn pretty well too.

so rumors could be true
of leisure suits catching fire between the legs if worn by fat people.

Somebody told me that the frictions cause by the thigh rubbing together when walking…


Similar warning for polypro. Use wool!
I learned the hard way (as did the British Army during the Falklands war) to avoid polypropylene fabrics, too, if you are going to be around anything hot. In the Brits case it was polypro longjohns getting melted to soldiers’ flesh during fiery explosions. In my case I was working as a construction electrician and red-hot shards from drilling a steel panel fell on my long-underwear sleeve and burned the melted plastic into my skin.

I’ve always taken a lightweight wool lumberjack type shirt to wear when i cook around camp or have a camp fire (100% wool is self-extinquishing – a spark on it will smolder and go out.) Now I’ve also switched to merino wool longjohn tops. They are even better at moisture management than the synthetics and keep you warmer even if you do get damp from sweat or weather. The way the fibers are processed nowadays you can get woolens that are machine washable and not itchy. They also don’t get funky smelling with repeated use.

thank you for the warning
Similar problem with her cooking breakfast while reaching over the hot burner while wearing poly nightgown. Some stove controls are around back of the stove.

The electrical industry
has been on to this for some time. NFPA 70-E has strict requirements against wearing synthetics on the job. These days I check labels pretty carefully and buy mostly cotton, wool, and silk. Still, the outer layers used at work have to be FR (fire rated) to withstand specific calories/sq centimeter of arc/flash rating, related to voltage and operation. I doubt we will rid the sports world of synthetics. I just wish we could get rid of Velcro.

Thanks for posting
That would be a NASTY way to get burned.

Kids+poly fleece+marshmallows+
campfire = dad freaking out + mom accusing dad of being overly cautious… until dad lit up an old Polarfleece scarf.

What happened to fire retardants?
Were they only used on infant and toddler garments, and tents? I recall concerns that fire retardants might be carcinogenic or otherwise harmful. You try to prevent one disaster and cause another.

Fuzzy Cotton
I was wearing an old favorite cotton flannel shirt while cooking and I guess I got too close to the flame. Next thing I knew I had a flash wildfire racing up my sleeve. Fortunately only the nap caught fire but it only took a split second. Luckily I didn’t get toasted!


Fabric softener = evil
That could have been a contributor to your flash fire. It can make clothes more susceptible to flame. It is banned from use in washing FR clothes.

Belly button lint should work, also.
It just takes longer to collect than dryer lint does.

This string is a revelation to me . . .
Somewhere in the back of my mind, as I have been working on accumulating an adequate inventory of moisture control synthetics for our outings, there has been a sense that something is being overlooked in all this.

So far, to summarize my impressions from this string, it looks like synthetics should be taken off upon returning to the camp site - or at least covered on top by something like wool around the camp fire. Not to wear that synthetic fleece anywhere near the fire . . . and maybe buy wool, instead of synthetics, when possible. Does that cover it?

mmm hmm
and maybe buy wool, instead of synthetics

I’ve learned a few things, too.
1. Don’t go to war south of the equator with the British Army.

2. Don’t do any welding… ever.

3. Absolutely no running in my double-knit Sans-a-Belt disco slacks from the '70’s. (It’s a miracle I didn’t spontaneously combust right there on the dance floor!)

While I do not like those dryer sheet fabric softeners, my wife does. There was more than likely a coating of whatever they put in them on my shirt.


tktoo, little known
fact that many clubs burning down in the 70’ were incorreclty reported as arson while it really was just cheap polyester pants catching fire


So I’m sitting around the campfire
and, since we’ve put in a piece of pine or two the sparks are snapping and flying around. I’ve never really given this a thought…I’m used to sparks flying past my face as I throw on some more wood. If there are guests around my fire pit, I usually give a “spark alert!” warning for their benefit, without really thinking about it.

Anyway, I’m sitting there, and I feel a burning sensation on my arm! I slap at it, and find that my nylon pile sweatshirt is melting and burning on my right arm! Fortunately, it was not too much trouble to squash out the ember before it really got going.

The following morning I took a look at my sleeve…there was a small (4mm) hole burned right through it! It caused me pause as I wondered what would have happened had the spark landed on a portion of the shirt that was not actually in contact with my skin at the time!

I think I’ll be a little more careful about what I wear near the fire in the future.


Opened up the local Hamilton Ont news yesterday and there was an article about two children playing with a lighter and one had their pyjamas catch fire.

It was serious enough to require hospitalization.

No idea what material the PJ’s were made of though.