What is a Denier?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2018
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In the world of textiles, understanding the denier of any type of fiber is essential to the proper manufacturing of a number of products. Denier is a measurement that is used to identify the fiber thickness of individual threads or filaments used in the creation of cloth, carpeting drapery material, and similar products. Originally, the concept was applied mainly to natural fibers, such as silk and cotton. Over time, the unit of thickness for synthetic fibers such as rayon and nylon also came to be identified with the same term.

Along with being a measure of the thickness of the individual fibers of yarn or thread, denier also acts as a unit of weight. The standard for computing the weight is to weigh 9,000 meters of the material that will be used to create a product. That weight is registered in grams. The higher the numbers of grams per 9,000 meters of material, the higher the denier count.


Denier is used to help ascertain the fiber durability of a given material. This process of measuring fibers is essential in order to make sure that the material is the proper strength and texture to be used in the creation of a particular product. For example, materials that would be considered appropriate for use in the manufacture of carpeting would have a high denier count. Materials that are to be used in the creation of draperies or the shell of a jacket would have a lower count. Essentially, the lower the denier count, the more of a sheer appearance the finished product will have.

Monitoring the denier count helps manufacturers to be sure that the raw materials used to produce goods will be sturdy enough to meet the quality standards set by the company in question. For example, a company that manufactures carpeting made from synthetic olefin fibers would require a specific denier for any and all yarn purchased for the purpose of producing the carpets. Anything with a lower count would yield an inferior product that would not hold up well to day-to-day wear and would have to be replaced in a very short time.

By the same token, a company that produces scarves would also expect the fibers to be used in making their product to have a low denier count, ensuring that the finished product would be sheer and be soft to the touch. A count that was too high would produce thicker materials and a texture that would be inappropriate for an accessory that is expected to be soft and silky.

Denier counts help to ensure that the fabric durability is in proper proportions for the type of material that is to be produced with the raw fiber. Over the years, the methods of adequately measuring denier have become more sophisticated, which has led to the creation of a greater number of uses for fabric that ever in history. Whether synthetic, natural, or a combination of the two, denier counts help to ensure all out textiles are produced efficiently and with the appropriate weight and durability.


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Post 2

This is a term that puzzled me until I shopped for a backpack made of ballistic nylon. Most labels I read indicated the denier of the backpack material. The higher the denier number, the heavier the fabric (and the pack) was. This seemed like a liability, but I also found that higher denier nylon held its shape better, so the weight of the pack was better distributed when partially full.

Post 1

Denier sounds a little similar to thread count, if only that the higher the count of denier in a fabric, the more durable it is; the same is generally true in thread counts. Of course, the difference is that in some sorts of fabrics a higher thread count also suggests a softer fabric, whereas for denier the opposite appears to be true.

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