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Aircraft Fabric Fireproofing

By Bill Evans, EAA 794228, EAA Chapter 266 Montreal

April 5, 2022 – At this month’s EAA chapter meeting, the presenter discussed restoring his Luscombe, Taylorcraft, and Colt. The aircraft cabin panels all needed to be refurbished as did seat covers, seat belts, carpets, flight suit, hats, and so on.

Certainly, Kevlar and other fire-resistant fabrics are available. But they cost much more than many restorers are able to pay. That’s why we restore, to make aviation affordable.

A visit to your fabric store is certain to be greeted by sales and bargain tables. None of those fabrics will be fire retardant, never mind self-extinguishing,

Difficulty: Moderately easy. I find it helpful to make fabrics fire retardant before sewing them in the finished components. It is your choice.

Things you’ll need:

  • Washing machine
  • Large bucket
  • 1 gallon water
  • 9 ounces 20 Mule Team borax (supermarket, superstore, or online)
  • 4 ounces boric acid (pharmacy or online)
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves and protective glasses


  1. Wash clothing and fabrics as usual and rinse. If fabric cannot be machine washed, the borax solution may still be applied with the spray bottle. Allow it to drip and hang dry.
  2. Mix a gallon batch of the flame retardant in the bucket, adding both borax and boric acid. Make two gallons if needed. Using the borax alone makes fabric fire retardant. Using both borax and boric acid makes fabric self-extinguishing. Test it out for yourself.
  3. Soak the fabric items one or two at a time in the solution. DO NOT RINSE. Squeeze out excess solution if possible. Otherwise allow to hang and drip dry in the shower or laundry. DO NOT PUT TREATED FABRIC IN A DRYER. Air dry only.
  4. Should you be so diligent that you wash these items as they need it, then repeat this treatment after each washing. The solution comes out in the wash.
  5. Note the borax solution may be used for as few days but cannot be stored for weeks or longer.

Note: If you have any borax left and you have an ant or cockroach problem, try adding some sugar and dipping some cotton balls in the mixture. You can place the cotton balls wherever you see the critters. They'll be history in a few days. – Ed., Bits and Pieces.

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