Fabrics Database - Acrylics

Summaries for Acrylics

Key: Centre (0) Bad        Outer (6) Good

Characteristics / options defined by the above graphs are proportionally represented and approximate, and are only intended as a guide. As such they do not represent any industry standards. Among other things, fabric construction and weight will influence the perceived ranking.

Data Sheet for Acrylics


Synthetic fibre from oil. A synthetic fibre that possess wool-like properties. Currently 75% of acrylic fibre production is used in clothing manufacture, seeing applications in range of products where it is suitable for use in knitwear. Acrylic fibres can be manufactured to have high bulk and are then ideal for use where good thermal insulation is a pre-requisite. Modacrylics are acrylic fibres that are manufactured with inherent fire retardant properties and are ideal where these are required.

Available as:

Wide range of woven and knitted fabrics. Generally the fibre used in garments will be as staple. Though predominantly available as 100% fibre, it can be blended with other fibres such as wool. The majority of application of acrylic fibres in corporate clothing will be as knitwear.


White through to black possible. Bleaching acrylic fibres is best carried out using a chlorine dioxide based bleach. Acrylics fibres can be dyed using disperse and basic dyes. Pigment dyed fibres are also available where the pigments are added to the spinning dope prior to fibre extrusion. These will have a uniform colour throughout the fibre cross section. It can be dyed to bright colours with excellent colour fastness.

Dimensional Stability

Generally good. Fabrics produced from acrylic fibres are generally considered to have good dimensional stability, however this will be influenced by the nature of the fabric construction. Loose knits may suffer if hang to dry.

Resistance to pilling

Poor resistance. Acrylic fabrics are often susceptible to pilling and suffer from poor abrasion resistance.

Moisture regain

Rapid regain and loss possible. Acrylic fibres show a low level of moisture regain, approximately 2%

Care information

Warm wash or dry-clean. Acrylic garments may be washed or dry-cleaned. Machine washing with a warm water cycle is recommended with the use of a fabric conditioner to reduce static. Acrylic garments can be tumble-dried but this should be carried out at a low temperature setting with the garments being removed as soon as they are dry. Knitted acrylics should be dried flat to prevent the garments becoming misshapen. Drying over radiators is not recommended. When there is a need to iron the garments a moderate heat setting should be used.


95% of production into knitwear. Apparel - sweaters, socks, fleece, circular knit apparel, leisurewear.

End of life Possibilities

Not biodegradable & may generate noxious fumes on burning. Garments made from acrylic fibres can be re-used. The fibres are resistant to biodegradation and therefore disposal to any process reliant on this, is not viable and landfill would be needed. Incineration is a possibility however conditions must be such as to prevent the formation of toxic by-products such as cyanide, from the fibres.

Eco aspects

Cost scope (economic impact)

Common trade names

Dolan, Dralon, Courtelle, Leacryl, Orlon.


Generally used as an alternative to wool.



Oakdene Hollins Limited, 2024 for the CRR Uniform Reuse Project www.uniformreuse.co.uk


The rationale behind the study has been to provide a means whereby current and potential fibres/fabrics for use in the corporate clothing sector, can be compared. Any such comparison will be dependent on a multitude of factors that will influence the choice. Although application is the foremost factor that will be influencing the material selection, service life and cost will also play an important role.

The information contained within the following data sheets is an attempt to draw together some of the salient points that may be of interest at the specification and design stage without trying to be exhaustive.

De Montfort University produces these data on the fibres/fabric groups and blends on a non exhaustive basis. De Montfort University therefore makes no representation, express or implied that any of the fibres/fabric groups or blends will be unaffected by other treatments or processes. Users of these data must address the possibility of any health and safety issues that may arise personally.