Nonwoven fabric is a fabric-like material made from long fibers, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. The term is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics, such as felt, which are neither woven nor knitted. Nonwoven materials typically lack strength unless densified or reinforced by a backing. In recent years, nonwovens have become an alternative to polyurethane foam.
Nonwovens may be a limited-life, single-use fabric or a very durable fabric. Nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, wash ability, cushioning, filtering, bacterial barriers and sterility. These properties are often combined to create fabrics suited for specific jobs while achieving a good balance between product use-life and cost. They can mimic the appearance, texture and strength of a woven fabric, and can be as bulky as the thickest paddings.