What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

Here is everything you need to know about lyocell fabric, including its pros and cons and how to care for lyocell.

The top of your list should include Lyocell if you’re looking for the green fabric supernova. But its accomplishments go far beyond sustainability. Being silky smooth, lyocell feels wonderful against the skin, drapes beautifully, and is light, incredibly breathable, antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and wrinkle-resistant.

Stick with me as we go on a journey together to find out what exactly Lyocell is, what its pros and cons are, and whether I recommend adding this fiber to your closet or not. Let’s get started!

What is Lyocell Fabric?

Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fabric that is frequently used as an alternative to cotton or silk. We have compared Lyocell Vs Cotton and Lyocell Vs Tencel. This fabric is a type of rayon, and the main ingredient is cellulose, which comes from wood.

Lyocell, which was first created by an American named Enka in 1972, became widely known in the last few decades of the 20th century and is still used today. Lyocell fabric is viewed as a more sustainable alternative to fully synthetic fibers like polyester because it is primarily made from organic materials, but it is debatable whether or not lyocell fabric is actually better for the environment.

What is Lyocell Made From?

What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

Lyocell is made from plant cellulose, just like a lot of other fabrics. Bamboo, oak, and birch trees are also used to make lyocell, but eucalyptus trees are the most typical source.

Lyocell fabrics are naturally biodegradable because the fibers used to make them are essentially made of wood. This is true of all semi-synthetic fiber and rayon-derived fabrics, though whether they can biodegrade safely depends on what exact chemicals they are processed with.

When other cellulose fibers fall short in this situation, lyocell succeeds. It is created by dissolving wood pulp in a solvent called NMMO (N-Methylmorpholine N-oxide), which is significantly less toxic than conventional sodium hydroxide solvents.

The wood pulp is dissolved in this, turning it into a clear liquid that, when pushed through teeny-tiny holes called spinarettes, becomes long, thin fibers. It only needs to be cleaned, dried, separated and cut after that.

Pros & Cons of Lyocell Fabric

Although this cellulose fiber is unquestionably one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics available, the fabric itself as well as its production has both pros and cons.

Lyocell is Made Using a Renewable Resource That Sequesters Carbon.
Lyocell is 100% Biodegradable and Compostable.
Lyocell is Made Using Non-toxic, Closed-loop Manufacturing.
The Smooth, Soft Texture of Lyocell Makes it Breathable and Kind to the Skin. 
Lyocell is Also Stretchy and Effective at Absorbing Moisture.
Lyocell Can Be a Bit More Costly Than Other Fabrics.
Lyocell Can Be a Bit Delicate and Need Special Care.
Lyocell is Vulnerable to Greenwashing.
What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

What Does Lyocell Feel Like?

Sometimes, the decision of which fabric to buy simply comes down to how it feels against your skin. If the fabric you are holding feels scratchy or rough, it might not be the right choice for you. Now describe the sensation of Lyocell. I’ll just use the word smooth to describe my response.

This fiber has a smooth surface that makes it non-irritating, perfect for people with sensitive skin or for the ones who simply enjoy softer fabrics (who doesn’t?).

What is Lyocell Used For?

Because of its distinctive and adaptable qualities, lyocell fabric can be used for a wide range of applications. Commercially speaking, it’s a main component in conveyor belts, medical dressings and gowns, filtration cloths, specialty paper, and a wide variety of lining materials.

However, lyocell primarily shines in the context of sustainable bedding and clothing for the average consumer. Some of our favorite sustainable t-shirts, activewear, undergarments, denim, dresses, and more contain this soft and sustainable material.

How to Maintain Your Lyocell?

Lyocell is a delicate fabric, despite being unquestionably strong; therefore, in order to extend the life and usefulness of your lyocell clothing, it’s crucial to know how to care for it. Handle it just like you would silk items!

  • Washing: When possible, hand wash your lyocell clothing for better care, or just put it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. When removing stains and other unwanted dirt, oxygen bleach is preferred.
  • Drying: sun-drying your clothes is always preferable, as it avoids using fresheners and other chemicals such as dryer sheets and softeners. You can still air dry it or use a machine that dries things on low heat if that option is not available.
  • Pressing: steamers are preferable, but you can both iron your lyocell garment and use a pressing cloth.
What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

Does Lyocell Shrink?

No, especially not when compared to cotton, due to being thermally stable. Only hand washing in cold water or gentle cycles should be used to clean it, though. Read Does Lyocell Shrink When Washed?

In fact, washing in cold water is generally a good rule of thumb, sustainably speaking, as cold water uses much less energy and better preserves the life of fabrics. Utilize a gentle zero-waste laundry detergent and hang dry your clothes rather than machine dry them (hang drying again uses less energy and significantly increases the lifespan of your clothing, whether it contains lyocell or not).

Does Lyocell Wrinkle?

Lyocell is prized for how well it drapes and does not retain wrinkles. That said, balling up your TENCEL™ in a packed drawer might still come out with a few wrinkles. As for how to iron lyocell, the answer is to avoid it if you can.

If you absolutely must iron out a few wrinkles in your lyocell dress shirt, use a warm iron only. Avoid using direct heat for more than a few seconds at a time to prevent scorching the fabric. Even better, hang it in your bathroom while you take a hot shower to steam out any minor creases.

Is Lyocell Natural Or Synthetic?

In between natural fibers (such as wool, hemp, cotton, and wool) and man-made fibers (such as polyester, and nylon), lyocell is a material with natural origins that is processed with synthetic materials.

If fully synthetic fibers aren’t your cup of tea (relatable) or you’re looking for vegan substitutes, Lyocell might be for you. It’s also sometimes referred to as a semi-synthetic fiber or as a processed cellulosic fiber.

What is Lyocell Fabric? Everything You Need to Know

What is Lyocell’s Environmental Impact?

The greenest fabric is probably lyocell. More than 99.5% of the chemicals and solvents used in production are recycled, and the remaining 0.5% is discharged as non-hazardous effluent. In addition to being derived from organic and renewable sources, it is also processed using a low-energy, low-water, closed-loop system.

Additionally, the fabric is long-lasting and extremely durable (conveyor belts use it). Additionally, because your product is 100 percent biodegradable, you won’t need to worry when the time comes to dispose of it. As mentioned earlier, no pesticides, fertilizers, or irrigation are needed for the trees used to make lyocell.

Closing Thoughts: What is Lyocell Fabric?

Lyocell is ready to continue attracting a lot of customers in the upcoming years because it combines great looks, comfort, and environmental friendliness. In addition to providing comfort, luxury, style, and value for money, lyocell makes it possible for us all to feel good about making a positive impact on the environment.

One of the strongest and coziest semi-synthetic fabrics available, it is also long-lasting and comfortable. It is made from natural materials and doesn’t involve the use of all harmful chemicals.


Is Lyocell the Same as Cotton?

Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fabric that is commonly used as a substitute for cotton or silk. This fabric is a type of rayon and is primarily made of cellulose that is obtained from wood.

Does Lyocell Fabric Make You Sweat?

No, lyocell has good moisture-wicking properties, so while it can absorb moisture, it will keep it away from your skin and instead evaporate to the outside, causing you to perspire and smell less than with other fabrics.

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