Hotels and B&Bs: A Quick Guide to Flame Retardant Fabrics

As a business owner, especially in the hospitality industry, you are duty-bound to ensure that your guests remain safe. This responsibility encompasses reducing the risk of fire, along with fire safety for both guests and staff.

Hotels and bed & breakfasts (B&B) are regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Here, the order ensures that the building owners take full responsibility for fire safety compliance, which includes efforts like purchasing fabrics and furnishings that meet British Standards.

If you’re a business owner looking for more ways to fire-proof your hotel or B&B, here is a simple guide for you. Here are all your questions about flame retardant fabrics, answered!

1 - How do I choose the right fabric for my hotel or bed & breakfast?

The right fabric falls under specific guidelines, as imposed by the British Standard for Flame Retardancy. Hotels and B&Bs must meet the following requirements:

  • BS5867 Part 2 B & 2 C: These pertain to the standard details, which are the requirements for flame retardant curtains and blinds fabrics. Part 2 B means that an item still passes the retardancy test after it was washed at least 12 times. Part 2 C, on the other hand, pertains to inherently flame retardant fabrics. These can be washed up to 50 times and remain fire resistant.
  • BS7175: This standard mostly pertains to bedding. The fabrics used need to come in polyester, as these are durable even with continued washing.
  • BS5852: This requirement pertains to upholstery fabrics, such as flame retardant curtains. These fabrics are then tested using cigarettes and matches—anything that catches fire will fail the fire safety standards.

To ensure that you’re purchasing quality flame retardant fabrics, transact with a reputable company. The company should meet the requirements listed above, especially the standards imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

2 - What happens if I don’t use flame retardant fabric?

If you remain unaware or blatantly disregard the need for flame retardant furnishing regulations, you place lives in jeopardy. Such consequences remain apparent in the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, where 72 lives had been lost.

Due to the inadequate materials used in the building, the hazardous fire quickly spread and engulfed the entire building of 24 floors. It took over 60 hours for the flames to be fully extinguished. Unfortunately, the speed at which the fire travelled left people with little chance of escape. With such a tragedy in mind, it is a stark reminder always to choose flame-retardant fabrics.

3 - Should I use flame retardant sprays or inherently flame-retardant fabrics?

There are two available options for flame retardant fabrics:

  • The use of flame-retardant chemical: This essentially means the application of chemicals to an untreated fabric, which then improves its fire resistance capabilities. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary solution and re-application may be needed after washing.
  • The use of inherently flame-retardant fabrics: These are fabrics already made with fire resistance in the yarn, and they are the more sensible choice for business owners. They’re more durable and provide total protection against the fire. They’re also waterproof and have antimicrobial properties, making them the perfect investment for your hotel or B&B.


Running a hotel or bed & breakfast means you’re responsible for many lives, which include not just your guests but your staff too. You must exhaust all means to ensure that every single corner of your establishment is safe, especially when tragedy strikes.

One of the best ways to begin is by purchasing flame retardant fabrics. Although quite simple as compared to ensuring that fire exits remain accessible, fire-resistant fabrics can save lives.

For the best selection of flame retardant fabrics in the UK, Direct Fabrics is the place to go. We offer you a wide range of patterns and textures to choose from!