The next big thing in textiles and fashion is bamboo fabric, which is having a significant impact on both industries. So, we are here to help you make better purchasing decisions.
Lyocell production involves cellulose-based and renewable resources such as wood. But bamboo, soy, seaweed, or coconut can also be used in the production of lyocell. As a semi-synthetic rayon fiber, bamboo lyocell is not a natural fabric. The majority of bamboo clothing is made with viscose rayon, which is created from bamboo plant fibers.
Here is all the information you need to know about bamboo lyocell clothing.
What is Bamboo Lyocell?
A type of rayon fiber made from bamboo plants is called bamboo lyocell. Though there are fewer steps than with viscose rayon, its fabrication requires intensive processing. Rayon is not a brand-new fabric. Its first production dates to around 1855. But the term rayon was first officially adopted later in 1924.
Information about rayon fabric:
- Is Rayon Fabric Stretchable?
- How to Wash Rayon Fabric?
- Is Rayon Fabric Good for Summer?
- Does Rayon Fabric Shrink in the Dryer Or When Washed?
- How to Care for Rayon Fabric?
Following modal and viscose, lyocell is the third generation of rayon technology. Bamboo lyocell is not a natural material, despite the fact that it is made from renewable resources; rather, it is a regenerated cellulosic fiber made from bamboo pulp.
One of the most well-known brands of lyocell is Tencel, manufactured by the Austrian company Lenzing. Tencel is used in the production of clothing by numerous fashion companies, including H&M, Esprit, Massimo Dutti, and Uniqlo.
But eucalyptus trees harvested from PEFC- or FSC-certified forests are used to make Tencel lyocell fibers. Eucalyptus trees quickly grow without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, or irrigation.
Pros of Bamboo Lyocell
The fabric made of bamboo lyocell is superior in many ways. It guarantees the greatest level of comfort while being worn thanks to its lightweight and extremely soft feel (often compared to the softest cotton). In addition, it boasts the following benefits:
- Anti Bacterial: Bamboo fiber is resistant to bacterial and fungal growth due to a natural component, kun. As bacterial growth is inhibited, this prevents the development of unpleasant odors
- Hypoallergenic: The naturally smooth fibers of Bamboo are gentle on the skin which makes it ideal for those with allergies and skin sensitivities such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis
- Sweat Wicking: Bamboo fiber has a porous structure that allows it to absorb up to four times as much moisture as cotton does, but unlike cotton, it quickly evaporatively releases the moisture it has absorbed.
- Thermal Regulating: Our bodies stay dry and maintain a healthy temperature thanks to the superior sweat-wicking capabilities of bamboo lyocell. This makes it suitable for all weather types i.e. for keeping cool in summer and warm in winter.
- UV Protection: Natural UV protection is a property of bamboo fiber.
- Eco Friendly: The production of Bamboo Lyocell utilizes a closed-loop process which has minimal impact on the environment. Biodegradable in its entirety is bamboo lyocell.
Here are the Pros and Cons of Lyocell Fabric.
Cons of Bamboo Lyocell
With all the good things surrounding bamboo fabric, there are some inconveniences to keep in mind before jumping on the wagon.
- Price: From a consumer’s viewpoint, bamboo lyocell is slightly more expensive than most cotton options due to the technology used to process it and the absence of large-scale production. Even so, it is much less expensive than silk.
- High maintenance: When it comes to washing and drying, bamboo lyocell demands more care. If carelessly washed, a product with delicate fibers may easily wrinkle or shrink. Products made of bamboo must be washed separately in cold water (maximum 30°C) using a gentle cycle. To prevent wrinkles and maintain elasticity, line-drying bamboo products is recommended whenever practical. Selecting a low heat and low tumble cycle when using a dryer is crucial.
How is Bamboo Lyocell Made?
Natural and environmentally friendly are attributes of the bamboo plant. Almost no fertilizer, pesticides, labor, or additional water are needed for it to grow quickly and sustainably.
Cellulose from bamboo pulp is converted into a soluble compound using chemicals. Out of the solution, a spinneret creates bamboo lyocell filaments using regenerated cellulose. The treatment and dissolution of cellulose fibers, the washing of regenerated fibers, and the conditioning of bamboo pulp all require a lot of chemicals and water.
N-Methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO) and water are the primary components used in the production of bamboo lyocell. A common name for NMMO is amine oxide, and it is thought to be safe. Lyocell fibers are produced through the spinning process, a manufacturing technique.
A spinneret is used in this particular type of extrusion to create numerous continuous filaments. There are several different types of spinning, including wet, dry, dry jet-wet, melt, gel, and electrospinning.
The most ancient type of spinning is wet spinning. Like many other synthetic fibers, including nylon and acrylic, the production of lyocell fiber typically involves wet spinning. During the wet spinning extrusion process, the polymer is dissolved and extruded through several thousand holes into a large spin bath, washing rolls, and drying rolls.
After being purified and extended to make long filaments, bamboo lyocell fibers are ready to be spun into threads.
Uses of Bamboo Lyocell Fabric
You can commonly find bamboo lyocell fabrics in clothing and accessories because they are smooth, sheen, and affordable. They resemble priceless silk. Bamboo lyocell is used to create a variety of textile and apparel items, including knitwear, evening gowns, formal shirts, sportswear, hats, suits, blouses, coats, sweaters, pajamas, and more.
Manufacturers also use bamboo lyocell in furniture, upholstery, drapes, bed sheets, curtains, carpets, bathrobes, towels, and home decor, like other soft and luxurious fabrics. Semi-synthetic cellulosic fibers like modal, acetate, viscose, cupro, or lyocell are slowly replacing petroleum-based synthetic fibers such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester.
In the coming years, as new clothing and home furnishings applications emerge, particularly in China, the market for bamboo lyocell fabrics will marginally increase. Although bamboo lyocell can be used on its own, textile producers frequently mix bamboo with other fibers like nylon, cotton, wool, silk, and more to reduce the cost of raw materials.
Lyocell fabrics are popular among global fashion brands because they enable them to produce inexpensive clothing. If used as the main fiber or a sizable portion of the fiber composition, it creates inexpensive clothing. Lenzing estimates that 6.7 million tons of semi-synthetic cellulosic fibers are produced annually worldwide. They produce 6.2% of the world’s total fiber.
The most popular semi-synthetic fabric is viscose rayon. According to the Textile Exchange, it had a market share of roughly 79% and produced 5.3 million tons in 2018. After viscose and acetate, lyocell is the third most popular cellulosic fiber. With a 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), it will grow more quickly than any other fabric despite having a 4% market share in 2018.
Is Bamboo Lyocell Eco-Friendly?
Bamboo Lyocell is generally considered a highly sustainable fabric.
Bamboo uses less water than most other types of cultivation when it is grown properly, and it doesn’t need pesticides or fertilizers either. As it regenerates from its own roots, it doesn’t require replanting which saves hours of manual labor.
Bamboo yield, however, may not always be sustainable. By looking for an FSC certification, you can make sure your bamboo was procured in an ethical manner. It ensures that the bamboo is not grown in conditions that require natural forests to be converted to plantations, is not harvested from ancient or endangered forests, and is legally sourced.
The lyocell method guarantees that the cellulose structure of bamboo is not chemically changed because it is a third-generation method for producing cellulosic fabric. It makes use of amine oxide, an organic solvent capable of dissolving the wood pulp, in place of hazardous chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.
By processing bamboo in a closed-loop system with 99% of the solvent able to be recycled and reused repeatedly, it lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The procedure significantly lessens the harm that the textile industry does to the environment.
The lyocell process is advantageous to the workers because it eliminates toxic chemicals, which reduces exposure over time and lowers the risk of serious health issues. Bamboo becomes a biodegradable fabric with an 8-day decomposition rate thanks to the lyocell process, which preserves the organic components of the bamboo.
In contrast, the bamboo viscose production process makes use of hazardous chemicals that endanger both the ecosystem and the workers. Since the water and solvent cannot be recycled, they are dumped into the environment, which can lead to significant pollution.
Concentrated organic substances like sulfides, sulfates, and metals (zinc salts) can increase chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels when they are dumped into water bodies, which may reduce the amount of oxygen available for marine life. Additionally contributing to poor air quality are the chemical odors that factories emit and the release of harmful air pollutants.
How to Care for Bamboo Lyocell?
One of the best ways to live more sustainably and make sure your clothes last longer is by taking good care of them. Give special attention to bamboo lyocell fabrics, as they are delicate. By taking good care of your clothes and avoiding common mistakes, you can extend their lifespan and the amount of time you can wear them. You will lessen waste, pollution, and carbon emissions while reducing the strain on natural resources.
Read the care instructions on the care tag before washing bamboo lyocell clothing. This will allow you to determine if the bamboo lyocell fabric is machine washable. The washing instructions may vary depending on the blend. Pure bamboo lyocell fabrics generally need to be hand washed. Cleanse and rinse the fibers in cold water.
Semi-synthetic fabrics made with blends of bamboo lyocell with other fibers are usually easier to wash. They may be put in a washing machine set to a cold wash. Wash items made of bamboo lyocell in cold water to conserve water and maintain the quality of your clothing. It also saves energy and prevents fabrics from melting.
Clothes made of bamboo lyocell can be washed in a washing machine, but only at temperatures below 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Use a gentle cycle to prevent high spin speeds and avoid using any detergent that contains chlorine or is particularly potent. A maximum of 600 revolutions per minute should be adhered to when washing. Otherwise, bamboo lyocell fabrics may become very creased. Use the shortest amount of time to soak the fabric in order to prevent dye bleeding.
Here is what you need to know about care for lyocell fabric:
- Is Lyocell Sustainable?
- Is Lyocell Stretchy? Can You Stretch Lyocell?
- Does Lyocell Shrink When Washed?
To dry your clothes more sustainably, hang them up to dry. Do not dry bamboo lyocell fabrics in a tumble drier. They have low thermal resistance and will melt under high temperatures.
Instead of drying them, hang them outside in the open air. It preserves their quality and saves an enormous amount of energy, carbon emissions, and money. The fabric can also be initially laid flat on a towel before being turned over. Alternatively, you could hang it up to dry naturally by placing it on a hanger.
Only iron your clothing if it is absolutely necessary. Choose the lowest temperature when ironing bamboo lyocell fabrics or blends to avoid damaging them. If at all possible, iron the fabric using a damp cloth. The lyocell fibers from bamboo can melt. And overusing the iron will eventually deteriorate the fabric.
Bamboo lyocell doesn’t resist chemicals very well. Keep bamboo lyocell clothing away from solvents containing alcohol, nail polish remover, perfume, and chemical-based glues. To get rid of stains, avoid using acetone or other organic solvents. They will dissolve the fabric’s fibers and harm the garment irreparably.
Conclusion: Bamboo Lyocell
Pure bamboo pulp was used to create the synthetic fiber known as bamboo Lyocell. By dissolving the cellulose and regenerating it into a fiber, it is produced using a closed-loop system.
Bamboo lyocell is unquestionably a top option for intimate apparel, bedding, and household textiles due to its superior absorption, stronger antibacterial properties, and softer touch.
Is Bamboo Lyocell Better?
Renewable cellulosic plants, including beech, pine, and bamboo trees, are used to make rayon, modal, and lyocell. Biodegradability applies to all three fibers. However, the most sustainable fabric is bamboo lyocell as it uses less water and energy within a closed-loop system that recycles water in the process.
Are Bamboo Lyocell Sheets Good?
Bamboo lyocell fabric is the most eco-friendly option but costs more for consumers. The best option will be sheets that are made entirely of bamboo rather than a cotton or polyester blend because they will be of the highest quality and feel the most comfortable.
What Does Bamboo Lyocell Feel Like?
Bamboo Lyocell clothing is lightweight, non-creasing, and very soft to the touch, making it exceptionally comfortable to wear. Bamboo Lyocell is biodegradable and decomposes in approximately 8 days due to the fact that it is primarily made of organic materials.
Is Bamboo Better Than Cotton?
Bamboo has less of an environmental impact and a smaller carbon footprint than cotton. Additionally, it doesn’t require water, fertilizer, or pesticides to grow. Insects and infectious pathogens can’t harm it naturally. We have compared lyocell and other fabrics, such as Lyocell Vs Tencel, and Lyocell Vs Cotton.
Are They Made Ethically?
The bamboo used comes from FSC-certified forests and is USDA-certified organic. WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) has granted certification to the company that produces Ettitude products.
The goal of WRAP, a widely respected independent third-party certifying body, is to advance moral, virtuous, and legal working conditions and procedures in factories that produce clothing, footwear, and sewn goods.
Doesn’t Bamboo Use Lots of Water?
In comparison to cotton, bamboo produces up to ten times more fiber per acre and uses a fraction of the water. It was built to strict environmental standards, with a closed-loop system that reduces waste by recycling and reusing water.