What Is Acetate Used For?

Acetate is an artificial cellulose fiber used to make clothing, yarn, upholstery and many different types of textiles. Acetate fibers provide a luxurious finish and have specific qualities, such as insect resistance and fast drying times. Acetate has a silk-like feel but is less expensive than genuine silk.

Acetate, also known as cellulose acetate, is one of the earliest artificial fibers to be synthesized. It is often used to make quality bedding, shirts, draperies, dresses and more. Cellulose acetate fibers resist shrinkage and the formation of mildew and are less attractive to moths and other fiber-craving insects. Cellulose acetate is made from wood pulp, a renewable resource that is popular in the textile industry.

In order to earn the title of acetate fiber, a fiber must be composed of at least 92 percent cellulose acetate, according the Federal Trade Commission. If a fiber contains less than that amount, it is called a triacetate and must be labeled as such. Triacetate fibers are considered the generic form of acetate fibers and are no longer produced commercially in the United States. Acetate fibers are found in satins and brocades, as just two examples, and they typically require dry cleaning or very specific hand-washing methods.