We’ll cover everything you need to know about viscose bamboo fabric in this article, along with what to look for in bamboo bedding.
Despite being used for many years in Asia, bamboo wasn’t used to make clothing until the early 2000s. After Bejing University developed the process of turning bamboo into viscose fabric, textile creation was added to the long list of “uses for bamboo.”
Bamboo viscose, which is also referred to as bamboo rayon and is the most popular kind of bamboo fabric, is derived from the cellulose of the bamboo plant. Before becoming bamboo chips, the plant’s cellulose is extracted. The chips become pulp after being soaked.
The post will teach you the fundamentals of bamboo viscose, which is said to be pandas’ favorite material.
What is Bamboo Viscose Fabric?
Like rayon, the word “viscose” refers to fabric made from plant cellulose. It’s similar to the word “viscous,” which describes the viscous liquid containing plant cellulose that gets regenerated into fibers to make fabric.
Like rayon, viscose also occasionally contains bamboo. If a label says “viscose bamboo” or “bamboo viscose,” then it’s viscose from bamboo fabric.
So, the words “rayon” and “viscose” essentially mean the same thing: fibers from plants that get used to making fabric, or artificial silk. Essentially, the rayon process and the viscose process are identical. Despite being less expensive and more environmentally friendly than silk, rayon, and viscose have a similar soft, smooth texture to silk.
In fact, sometimes you’ll see the phrase “viscose rayon,” which means the same thing as either word by itself. You may see this on the label of a bamboo fabric, and it simply refers to a fabric made from plant cellulose.
You might be wondering why the same type of fabric is referred to by two different names at this point. The reason is historical: The term “rayon” was coined in the US, where it’s still more commonly used, while the term “viscose” is more popular in the rest of the world. In comparison to viscose fabrics, rayon fabrics are more likely to be produced in the US.
Advantages of Bamboo Viscose
The soft texture of bamboo viscose, which pits with cotton, has contributed to its popularity. Aside from its comfy touch, the following benefits make bamboo viscose stand out among other fabrics:
Because of how well-ventilated bamboo viscose is, it is popular. If you frequently have hot flashes at night or during the summer, it keeps you cool. The fact that it is warm to wear in winter is the best thing about this. To match your preferred thickness and breathability, you can select from a range of thread counts.
Do you frequently perspire? It might be time to switch to clothing made of bamboo viscose. Bamboo has better moisture-wicking properties because it is approximately four times more absorbent than cotton.
As a result of this quality, the bamboo fabric will also absorb a lot of water and feel heavy when hung up to dry. The quick drying time means it shouldn’t be a problem.
In addition to its antibacterial qualities, bamboo fabric is known for preventing odor development. People who struggle with body odor should pick this. Your bed will smell better if you use it on the pillows and sheets.
Due to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, some people frequently have allergies to cotton. This makes bamboo fabric a fantastic substitute. It should have little to no off-gassing and dangerous chemicals as long as it was made organically and spun mechanically.
Disadvantages of Bamboo Viscose
Similar to any fabric, bamboo viscose has some drawbacks. The following are some of the downsides of using bamboo fabric:
The cost of bamboo fabric is higher than that of its counterparts in other fabrics. This is quite understandable given the complicated process it goes through. The desire for comfort, however, has many people prepared to splurge.
When buying bamboo viscose clothing, bedding, or pillows, keep in mind that washing will require more care. The bamboo fabric shouldn’t be washed with other fabrics, to start. This will stop the lint from sticking to the bamboo viscose fibers.
Furthermore, only wash bamboo fabric in cold water. Be aware that washing in hot water will cause shrinkage. The only way to dry bamboo fabric, aside from that, is by air to avoid damage.
How is Bamboo Viscose Fabric Made?
Fabric made from bamboo is called “viscose from bamboo” or simply “bamboo viscose.” In reality, rayon is a type of fabric. Cellulose from wood pulp is extracted to create it. Although bamboo viscose is technically a man-made fabric, it is made from natural substances.
Utilizing solvents to dissolve the bamboo and bleaching agents to dye the fibers white are two steps in the creation of bamboo viscose fabric. The fibers are then woven together to create a fabric, usually with a combination of viscose, lyra, or spandex to ensure the fabric maintains its shape.
The end result is an incredibly soft and opulent fabric that can be used to make clothing, sheets, and even towels.
Bamboo-derived viscose is becoming more well-known in the clothing industry, though it is still not as well-known as cotton. Due to its accessibility, low cost, and soft, malleable texture, the market for bamboo viscose fabric actually increased by a whopping 5,000% between 2004 and 2010. However, bamboo is great for so many other things as well.
Uses of Bamboo Viscose
There are many uses for bamboo viscose fabric, including for clothing, bedding, and even medical supplies. Here are a few incredible items that can be made with this fabric to use every day.
In the world of fashion, this is becoming more and more well-liked. Due to its cooling quality and adaptable designs, bamboo fabric is popular for clothing.
Dresses, t-shirts, nightgowns, bathrobes, and other garments can all be made from it. Due to its breathability, it’s also a great choice for private clothing like bathing suits, underwear, and cover-ups.
In addition, bamboo clothing has a longer lifespan and offers a variety of advantages, particularly for wearers who are active. Always verify the fabric’s authenticity before buying any bamboo clothing. Always buy from trusted companies like Cariloha, Boody Eco Wear, Tasc Performance, and Viva Terra.
Sanitary and Medical Supplies
Perhaps to your surprise, some sanitary products and medical supplies do contain bamboo viscose. Some of these include surgical wear, sanitary towels, absorbent pads, gauze, and medical masks.
Bamboo’s antibacterial properties are the main cause of this. Additionally, the fiber is kind to the skin, making it a great option for hospitals.
Other practical items like sanitary napkins and food-grade packaging can be made from non-woven bamboo fabric. Prior to being spun and turned into thread, these products make use of the fibers’ viscosity.
Be aware that bamboo fibers that are not woven still possess softness and antibacterial qualities. It is employed in private spaces because of this.
Sheets and Covers
Additionally, bamboo textiles can be found in bed linens such as sheets, mattress pads, bed skirts, pillows, duvet covers, and drapes. Additionally, bamboo fabric is used in bathroom products like towels, bath rugs, and shower curtains.
Is Bamboo Viscose Toxic?
It’s time to clear up the confusion surrounding bamboo viscose and whether it is toxic or not: the bamboo tree itself is not toxic, but the decision regarding the viscose fabric depends on your skin condition.
The largest organ of your body won’t melt if you touch it, but if you’re prone to skin allergies or have extremely sensitive skin, it’s best to stay away from bamboo viscose.
This is due to the fact that chemicals like carbon disulfide and sodium hydroxide, which are frequently used in the production of bamboo viscose but are not actively present in the finished garments, may irritate your skin. Safety comes before regret!
Is Bamboo Viscose Breathable?
Bamboo viscose is breathable, which is good news! It actually wicks away moisture and heat from the body while still acting as a barrier against the outside environment. Its high stretchability and silky texture are also among its best qualities, but this is without a doubt one of them.
It is one of the main explanations for why it is utilized in clothing such as athletic wear. Furthermore, who doesn’t enjoy staying comfortable in cold and hot weather?
The breathability of bamboo viscose can be best appreciated if you frequently experience nighttime hot flashes. Bamboo viscose will undoubtedly keep you cool during summer days and warm during winter days.
If you do and just recently bought a bamboo viscose bedsheet, you’ve probably noticed how much less sweaty you wake up. It’s important to point out when something has a noteworthy quality!
Is Bamboo Viscose Eco-friendly?
Although bamboo viscose is advertised as being completely eco-friendly, I must disagree. I mean, the production of bamboo viscose has a lot of problems right off the bat, and the majority of them have to do with the number of toxic chemicals used.
A toxic chemical soup is created when sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, and carbon disulfide are combined. If these substances are used improperly, this chemical soup can cause significant pollution and harm to the environment.
You can already imagine the effect on Mother Earth of approximately 50% of that hazardous waste that cannot be recovered and reused.
As a result of, you guessed it, the large number of chemicals used in its production, bamboo viscose also has another disadvantage that I can mention: it lacks ethics. However, carbon disulfide is not the only chemical that poses a significant risk to workers’ health.
It has long been known that workers who handle it frequently risk damage to their nervous system and cardiovascular systems.
As it can cause corrosion and chemical burns to those who handle it frequently and without protection, sodium hydroxide is one of the biggest enemies of workers in bamboo viscose factories. Sadly, the people who make this common fiber haven’t always been treated well.
The good news is that some producers of bamboo viscose have modernized their procedures over time. Closed-loop production techniques have led to improvements in chemical management and waste treatment, but they are not widely used because of the associated costs, as was already mentioned.
The fact that viscose based on carbon disulfide is no longer produced in the United States, for instance, is another improvement. Although there aren’t many regulations in China, Indonesia, Pakistan, or India, the majority of brands interested in using this fabric source it from those countries.
While bamboo viscose can be eco-friendlier than other fibers such as polyester and nylon — because it’s not plastic—, the main reason why I can’t say “yes, bamboo viscose is 100% eco-friendly” is because its manufacturing process involves many, many toxic chemicals that aren’t usually controlled in a closed-loop system and still, to this day, some factory workers get injured by those chemicals.
The origin of this fabric may be “green” because it’s made from cellulose, but its final form isn’t.
Is Bamboo Viscose Sustainable?
Where does bamboo viscose stand in terms of sustainability now that we are aware of its lack of environmental friendliness? Let me tell you, bamboo is a solid bet on its own in the race for sustainable materials.
Bamboo crops don’t need a lot of water to grow (I see you, cotton! ), pesticides, bactericides, or fertilizers.), and can self-regenerate from their own roots — so they don’t need to be re-planted when they are harvested!
But in addition to being a highly renewable resource, bamboo also actively improves the soil where it is grown because of its extensive root systems, which can prevent erosion on steep banks.
Additionally, because bamboo grows quickly, some of the oxygen we breathe in can reach our lungs because this ancient tree absorbs more carbon than slower-growing trees do. According to studies, a mature bamboo grove can produce 30% to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent area of forest, so growing this tree is undoubtedly a sustainable practice.
But what about the actual fabric? Is viscose made of bamboo sustainable? Kind of, since this material is made from bamboo that has undergone a chemical bath that, if not properly handled, can release chemicals into the air, the soil, or nearby rivers.), I cannot argue against bamboo viscose’s major benefit of being biodegradable.
Bamboo viscose is biodegradable and can take up to a year to completely break down if toxic dyes aren’t added to it. It still has a slight advantage over synthetic fabrics made of petroleum, which never decompose, despite the fact that this period of time is not particularly brief.
Bamboo Viscose Vs. Modal Vs. Lyocell
In the section above, we covered the production process for first-generation bamboo viscose. We have the modal bamboo fabric when we advance to the second generation of fiber.
The bamboo modal fabric resembles viscose in some ways. It is unique, though, in that it goes through an additional process after spinning the fiber filaments. By doing this, viscose fabric made of modal bamboo is made stronger.
Essentially, the solvent and process used to create modal and viscose fabrics are the same. The only distinction is an additional procedure performed before the thread is woven into a fabric.
The lyocell bamboo fabric comes last on our list. Due to the use of a different solvent during production, this differs significantly from modal and viscose.
Lyocell is made using the organic compound M-Methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO), as opposed to sodium hydroxide, which is used to make viscose and modal. Also considered to be more environmentally friendly than sodium hydroxide, this is good for the environment.
Final Thoughts: Bamboo Viscose Fabric Guide
When a product does not damage the environment, aids in protecting natural resources, and prevents pollution, it can truly be referred to as 100% eco-friendly. Unfortunately, some items that advertise themselves as eco-friendly lack these qualities and are vulnerable to greenwashing, as is the case with bamboo viscose.
Although it tends to cost more than other common fabrics, the investment is worthwhile. Try it and compare the bamboo viscose to it. What do you consider this fabric to be? Has it ever been your experience? Please share your opinions with us!
Are Bamboo Sheets Better Than Egyptian Cotton?
Bamboo sheets are the best option if you want breathable bedding. Although it is not made of bamboo, Egyptian cotton is also breathable. The eco-friendly manufacturing of bamboo fabric is an additional advantage. Organic bamboo fabric, in contrast to Egyptian cotton, is made from bamboo trees that are grown in the wild. Pesticides are scarce or absent.
Are Bamboo Sheets Suitable for Hot Sleepers?
Yes, hot sleepers will find it comfortable to use because bamboo viscose fabric breathes well. Beyond that, it also has excellent moisture-wicking qualities for more comfort. Just be sure to get the proper fit so that the bamboo clothing won’t feel overly clingy on your body.
Does Bamboo Fabric Shrink?
In the event that you wash it in cold water, no. Only cold water should be used to wash and dry the bamboo fabric. The bamboo fabric shouldn’t be ironed unless you do it in a low-heat setting. On bamboo fabric, stay away from pulling snags as well. That will result in the item being permanently wrinkled and harmed.
Is Bamboo Viscose a Natural Fiber?
Bamboo is a natural fiber that can be processed either as a naturally occurring bast fiber (bamboo linen) or a regenerated manufactured fiber (bamboo rayon/viscose or lyocell). It’s common to see claims that bamboo is a more environmentally friendly fabric, but this isn’t always the case.