The most common way for professionals to identify carpet is through a burn test. Here is a highlighted steps to take to help identify the construction of most carpeting.

  • Odor- After burning a fiber smell the smoke after the flame goes out. Man made {synthetics} can be difficult to tell but natural fibers will have a very distinctive odor.
  • Wool smells the same as burning hair.
  • Plant based smells like burning a piece of paper.
  • Chemical tests can be accurate but impractical. Carrying the chemicals can be dangerous and impractical. Nylon needs formic acid and wool dissolves in chlorine bleach but may take 5-10 minutes. Olefin can be tested with water as it will float.

Some common characteristics:

  • Nylon- blue flame with orange tip
  • Wool- smells like hair
  • Plant based- smolders
  • Polyester- reminds you of burning plastic, turns into hard shiny ball
  • Olefin {berber} floats in water