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The Nonburning Towel


Bottle with a 50:50 mixture of  Isopropanol Alcohol and Distilled Water

600 mL Beaker

1 liter Beaker

Bottle of Water

Cloth Towel (approx. 20 cm x 40 cm)

Bunsen Burner

Crucible Tongs

Gloves and Goggles



  1. Pour about 100 mL of the alcohol and water mixture into a 600 mL beaker.  Also pour about 500 mL of water into the 1 liter beaker.
  2. Immerse the dry towel in the alcohol-water mixture and thoroughly wet the towel.
  3. Squeeze the towel to remove excess liquid.
  4. Light the burner.
  5. Hold the center of the towel with crucible tongs.
  6. Keeping the towel at arms length, move it into the center of the flame and allow it to catch on fire.
  7. Continue to hold the flaming towel at arms length to minimize any chance of burns.
  8. As the Flame subsides, snuff it out with a quick jerk to avoid catching the towel on fire.
  9. Or place the towel in the 1 liter beaker and extinguish it with the water.


Wear safety goggles and a labcoat!

To avoid burns, the flaming towel must be handled with care. Combustable material must be removed from the vicinity, and a fire extinguisher should be available.

Isopropyl alcohol can damage the eyes severely.


Waste Management

The isopropanol and water mixture can be poured back into the bottle and reused.  The towel piece can also be dried and reused.