Is Clothing Starch Flammable? Shocking truth

Are you one of those who meticulously starch their clothes to achieve that crisp, polished look? If so, you might have heard rumors about clothing starch being flammable.

Before you dismiss it as an old wives’ tale, let’s dive into the truth about clothing starch and its potential flammability.

This blog post will examine the science behind clothing starch, its ingredients, safety precautions, and whether or not your starched garments are at risk of catching fire. Get ready to uncover the truth about clothing starch and put your worries to rest!

Is Clothing Starch Flammable

What is clothing starch made of?

Clothing starch is typically made from various vegetable starches, such as cornstarch or wheat starch. These natural ingredients are processed to create a powder or liquid form that can be applied to clothing.

Other common ingredients in clothing starch include water and sometimes a small amount of oil or fragrance, which helps achieve the desired stiffness and fresh scent. It is important to note that the exact composition of clothing starch may vary depending on the brand or type of starch used.

Is Clothing Starch Flammable?

Yes, clothing starch is flammable. Starch, a carbohydrate-based substance, is combustible and can catch fire when exposed to a sufficient heat source or flame.

When clothing starch is applied to fabrics, it dries to form a stiff coating that can become a potential fuel source in case of a fire.

While clothing starch is not highly flammable like gasoline or other volatile substances, it can contribute to the flammability of fabrics it applies to.

If clothing treated with starch comes into contact with an open flame, sparks, or extreme heat, it can quickly catch fire over untreated fabrics.

Is Starched Clothing More Likely To Catch Fire?

Starched clothing can become more flammable due to the presence of starch, which is a highly combustible substance. When applied to clothing, starch forms a coating on the fabric that can easily ignite when exposed to heat or flames.

This is because the starch can act as fuel and cause the fire to spread more quickly on the clothing fabric. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious when wearing starched clothing near open flames or working in environments with a high fire risk.

By being aware of the flammability of starched clothing, we can take the necessary precautions to ensure our safety and prevent potential accidents.

Does Starch Make Clothes Fire Resistant?

No, starch does not make clothes fire-resistant. Starch is a carbohydrate-based substance commonly used for stiffening fabrics and making them appear crisp and fresh. It is often used in laundry and ironing to give clothes a more polished look.

Fire resistance in fabrics is achieved through a completely different process. Special chemicals are applied to the fabric during manufacturing to make clothes fire-resistant.

These chemicals create a protective barrier that prevents the fabric from catching fire or slows down the combustion rate, giving people more time to react and remove the clothing in case of a fire incident.

What Should I Do If My Clothing Starch Catches Fire?

If your clothing starch catches fire, follow these steps to respond quickly and safely:

Stop the source of the fire: If possible, remove the fabric from the heat source or any open flames. This may involve moving away from a stove, fireplace, or other potential fire hazard.

Do not fan the flames: Avoid waving the fabric around, as this can fan the flames and spread the fire further.

Smother the fire: Use a fire blanket, heavy cloth, or non-flammable material to smother the flames. This will cut off the oxygen supply and help extinguish the fire.

Use a fire extinguisher (if available): If you have a nearby fire extinguisher and are trained to use it, you can attempt to extinguish the fire using the PASS technique (Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, Sweep from side to side).

Prevent reignition: Make sure the fabric is completely cooled and no longer smoldering. Keep it away from any potential heat sources to prevent reignition.

Alternatives To Clothing Starch?

Several alternatives to clothing starch can be used to achieve similar effects, such as adding stiffness and a crisp appearance to fabrics. Some common alternatives include:

Cornstarch: Cornstarch can be mixed with water to create a starch solution that can be sprayed or applied to fabrics. It works similarly to commercial clothing starch and is a natural alternative.

Arrowroot powder: Arrowroot powder is a starch extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant. It can be used in the same way as cornstarch to stiffen fabrics.

White vinegar: Adding a small amount of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your laundry can help to soften fabrics and reduce wrinkles, providing a crisper appearance.

DIY starch spray: You can make your starch spray by mixing water and a small amount of liquid laundry detergent or fabric softener in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the fabric, then iron it to achieve the desired stiffness.

Commercial fabric stiffeners: Some are made from non-toxic and eco-friendly ingredients, making them safer alternatives to traditional starches. Look for fabric stiffeners labeled as eco-friendly or non-toxic.

Ironing techniques: Proper ironing techniques can also help create a crisp appearance without starch. Ironing clothes while they are still slightly damp or using steam during the ironing process can effectively reduce wrinkles and achieve a polished look.

What Precautions Should I Take When Using Clothing Starch?

When using clothing starch, taking certain precautions is essential to ensure safety and avoid potential issues. Here are some precautions you should consider:

Read and follow instructions: Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the starch product you are using. Different starches may have specific application methods and safety guidelines.

Proper ventilation: Use starch in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhalation of fumes or aerosol particles.

Avoid spraying near flames or heat sources: Do not use starch near open flames, lit cigarettes, or other heat sources. Starch is flammable and can be a fire hazard when exposed to high heat.

Test on a small area: Before applying starch to the entire garment, test it on a small inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and avoid potential damage to the fabric.

Don’t oversaturate the fabric: Apply starch lightly to avoid excessive buildup or stiffening, which may reduce fabric flexibility and longevity.

Ironing precautions: When ironing starched clothing, avoid using the highest heat setting as it may scorch the fabric. Adjust the iron’s heat according to the fabric type and follow the garment’s care label instructions.

Wash thoroughly: If you apply starch to a garment, wash it off completely during the next laundry cycle to avoid residue buildup.

Store properly: Store clothing starch in its original container or a sealed, labeled container, away from children and pets.

Keep away from eyes and mouth: Avoid contact with eyes and mouth when using starch. In case of accidental contact, rinse immediately with water and seek medical attention if irritation persists.


While clothing starch is commonly used to provide stiffness and a crisp appearance to clothes, it is important to be aware of its potential flammability.

Laboratory tests have shown that clothing starch can ignite or support combustion under certain conditions. However, there are alternatives to traditional starch that eliminate the fire risk.

Fabric sprays, natural starch made from water and vinegar, and non-flammable sprays are readily available options for achieving the desired crispness without worrying about flammability.

By exploring these alternatives, individuals can ensure their clothes’ safety and enjoy starch’s benefits without concerns about potential fires.