Textile testing is a critical part of the manufacturing process. It helps to ensure that textiles meet quality standards, are safe for consumers, and comply with relevant regulations. There are a variety of textile tests that manufacturers can perform, each of which serves a specific purpose.
This blog post will discuss the key aspects of textile testing for manufacturers. We will cover the different types of tests available, the importance of textile testing, and how to choose the proper tests for your needs.
Textile testing is an essential part of the manufacturing process for several reasons. First, it helps to ensure that textiles meet quality standards. Consumers expect materials to be durable, comfortable, and safe. Textile testing helps to ensure that textiles meet these expectations.
Second, textile testing helps to ensure that textiles are safe for consumers. For example, some textiles may contain harmful chemicals or dyes. Textile testing helps identify these harmful substances and ensures they are not present in the product.
Third, textile testing helps to ensure that textiles comply with relevant regulations. Governments often have rules that govern textiles' safety and quality. Textile testing helps to ensure that textiles abide by these regulations and can thus be sold in your destination market. While not all regulations require testing specifically, it’s still a critical way to ensure compliance.
The type of textile test you need will depend on your product. For example, if you manufacture a garment, you must perform specific testing to assess the garment's strength, durability, and comfort. On the other hand, if you are manufacturing a cloth toy, you may need to perform different tests to evaluate the safety of the material.
When choosing textile tests, it is important to consider the following factors:
The intended use of the textile product.
The target market for the textile product.
The relevant regulations.
Once you have considered these factors, you can select the specific textile tests you need to perform. Many manufacturers choose to work with a trusted thirty-party textile testing lab to ensure they’re getting the right tests at the right time.
Textile testing is a process of evaluating textiles' physical, chemical, and performance properties. Testing requirements for manufacturers differ based on the type of fabric, how it is used, and where it will be sold. This quality assessment process is an essential part of the manufacturing life cycle, as it helps ensure that materials meet consumers' expectations and comply with relevant regulations.
Manufacturers have a number of textile tests to choose from to ensure product quality. Some of the most common textile tests include:
Physical tests measure the physical properties of textiles, such as strength, elongation, and flammability. These tests are essential for assessing the quality and durability of textiles. The tests below are just a few of the variety of physical tests that textile testing labs may use to assess a product.
Strength: This test measures the tensile strength of a textile, which is its ability to resist pulling apart under tension.
Elongation: This test measures the stretch a textile can withstand before it breaks.
Flammability: This test measures how easily a textile will catch fire.
Chemical tests measure the chemical composition of textiles, such as the type and amount of dyes used. These tests ensure that textiles are safe for consumers and comply with relevant regulations. Chemical tests include, but are not limited to:
Dye analysis: This test identifies the type and amount of dyes used in a textile.
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) testing: This test detects the presence of pentachlorophenol, which is not only dangerous for humans, but also animals.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) testing: This test looks for the presence of PAHs, which are known carcinogens.
Performance tests measure the performance of textiles, such as their ability to resist fading, shrinking, and pilling. These tests are essential for ensuring that materials meet the expectations of consumers, such as durability, comfort, and functionality. Performance testing includes the assessment of:
Colorfastness: This test measures how well a textile resists fading when exposed to light, water, or other chemicals. This is important for ensuring that fabrics retain color over time and do not fade after washing or dry cleaning.
Dimension stability: This test measures any changes in dimensions after a textile is washed or dry-cleaned.
Pilling: This test measures how likely a textile is to develop pills, which are small balls of fabric that can form on the surface of a textile.
While many of these textile tests seek to measure quality and durability to meet in-house quality standards, there are also several tests that are necessary for compliance with safety regulations. Examples of these tests include, but are not limited to:
APEO testing: APEOs are chemicals that act as surfactants in the washing process. APEOs break down into compounds that are toxic to fish and can potentially impact human reproductive, neurological, and immune systems. APEO testing identifies APEO in textiles and ensures levels are below safe limits.
Formaldehyde testing: In the textile industry, formaldehyde is used to increase wrinkles and crease resistance in textiles, and also helps some dyes and inks better penetrate fabrics. However, formaldehyde is also carcinogenic and thus toxic to humans. Manufacturers use formaldehyde testing to identify formaldehyde in textiles and ensure that levels are below safe limits.
Different countries may have different testing requirements for textile products sold in their market. For example, the European Union (EU) has several regulations that govern the safety of textiles. These regulations require fabric testing for various harmful substances, including APEO, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and a variety of chemicals on the REACH list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).
REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals)
Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on textile fiber names and related labeling and marking of the fiber composition of textile products
General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC)
EU Ecolabel for textile products
The United States (US) and Canada also have several regulations that govern the safety of textiles. These regulations are similar to the EU regulations, but some differences may exist. Knowing the specific regulations for the country where you sell your textiles is essential to avoid compliance issues.
AATCC 8 Colorfastness to Crocking (wet & dry)
AATCC 15 Colorfastness to Perspiration
AATCC 16.3 Option 3 Colorfastness to Light
AATCC 106 Colorfastness to Sea Water
AATCC 107 Colorfastness to Water
AATCC 116 Colorfastness to Crocking (rotary)
AATCC 135 Dimensional Changes of Fabric after Home Laundering
AATCC 150 Dimensional Changes of Garment after Home Laundering
AATCC 162 Colorfastness to Chlorinated Pool Water
AATCC 112 Formaldehyde Release from Fabric (quantitative) – sealed jar method
AATCC 94 Formaldehyde (spot test)
16 CFR 1610 Flammability of Clothing Textiles
16 CFR 1615 & 1616, Flammability of Children’s Sleepwear
16 CFR 423 Care Labeling
16 CFR 303 Fiber Content Label
16 CFR 1500.48 & 49 Sharp Points and Sharp Edges
16 CFR 1501 Small Parts
ASTM D 1230 Standard Test Method for Flammability of Apparel Textiles
ASTM D 4151 Standard Test Method for Flammability of Blankets
Canadian Textile Flammability Regulations (SOR/2016-194) – Bedding Textile, Non-bedding Textile
CPSIA Lead Content in Surface Coatings
CPSIA Lead Content in Substrates
CPSIA Phthalates Content
Polymer Identification – FTIR
Countries outside of the EU and North America have regulations of their own. Before entering a new market, it’s important to ensure you’re aware of all relevant textile safety and textile testing regulations. Many companies choose to work with a third-party expert to help them stay up-to-date on the regulations of their destination market and thus ensure their products are compliant.
Textile testing plays a crucial role in every stage of the manufacturing process, serving as a fundamental step in guaranteeing the quality, safety, and regulatory compliance of textiles. It encompasses a comprehensive range of tests and evaluations designed to assess various attributes and properties of textiles. By delving deeper into the intricacies of textile testing, you can make informed decisions regarding the selection of appropriate tests, thereby ensuring that your textiles not only meet but exceed your customers' expectations.
QIMA’s global network of accredited textile testing labs provides quality assurance and compliance solutions for the global textile industry. We offer a comprehensive range of textile testing and certification services, including physical, chemical, and performance tests, as well as a variety of textile certifications. We also provide regulatory compliance testing and product development and quality improvement assistance.
Our team of experienced textile testing experts can help you to choose the right tests for your needs. We can also help you interpret the test results and make recommendations for improvement.
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