You should read this blog to learn everything there is to know about viscose fabric before you purchase any clothing made from it.
Viscose fabric has been a mainstay of many wardrobes and homes since the late 1800s because it is comfortable and lightweight. Even though viscose is made from trees, the production process uses a lot of chemicals, making it less environmentally friendly than other types of rayon like modal.
Viscose or rayon is a synthetic fabric that has been around for years. However, should you wear it for clothing? What makes it unique? You’ve found the right place if you ask yourself these questions.
What is Viscose Fabric?
A synthetic fiber made from natural materials is called viscose. It is a member of the rayon family, which also includes modal, lyocell, and viscose. Each is given a unique treatment, and the resulting fabrics have various characteristics.
The term “viscose” refers to the viscous organic liquid which is regenerated into fibers for making the fabric. Cellulose, the primary ingredient in plant cell walls, is used to make viscose rayon.
Chemicals are applied to cellulose to create a fiber that mimics the characteristics of natural fibers like silk and cotton. Fabric made of viscose frequently has a silk-like appearance and a cotton-like texture.
Some of the common trees and plants from which viscose rayon is derived:
- Because it is so breathable, viscose rayon is a cool material for chic summer attire.
- Viscose fabric is a practical choice for activewear due to its exceptionally high absorption capacity. Along with wicking sweat away, it doesn’t trap heat.
- Viscose fabric retains its color beautifully. In spite of numerous times of washing, it can retain dye for a long time.
- Viscose drapes well because of its silky-like, free-flowing texture.
- Although viscose fabric isn’t elastic, it can be combined with spandex to add more stretch.
- Viscose rayon is made from natural materials and is extremely light and airy.
- It’s a less expensive option than silk.
- It is hypoallergenic due to its low permeability.
- If you wash the delicate viscose rayon fibers in the washing machine, they might splinter.
- With each wash, viscose fabric might shrink.
- Bright sunlight exposure reduces the quality of the fabric.
- Although spot cleaning is advised for this fabric, stains, and marks are still very challenging to remove.
- Mildew can grow on viscose fabric.
Characteristics of Viscose
If you want a thin fabric with a nice drape, a lustrous finish, and a soft feel, viscose is a great choice. It can convey luxury for a much lower price point and is reasonably cheap. It also combines well with other fibers like cotton, polyester, and spandex.
- Absorbent. Viscose rayon is excellent for t-shirts and athletic wear because it doesn’t trap heat and effectively absorbs sweat and water.
- Lightweight. Because viscose is so airy, it’s ideal for blouses and summer dresses.
- Breathable. It is ideal for clothing for warm weather because it is a very light fabric that doesn’t stick to the body.
- Soft. Although it feels like cotton, the fabric looks like silk.
- Maintains Shape. Although the fabric is not elastic, stretch can be added by blending it with other fabrics, like spandex.
- Dye fast. Even after repeated washings and prolonged use, viscose retains color without fading.
A Brief History of Viscose
The history of rayon from viscose is wholly European. Hilaire de Chardonnet (1839–1924), a French industrialist and scientist, is credited with creating the first viscose fiber for commercial use as a less expensive substitute for silk. But because the fabric was so flammable, it was quickly taken off the market while the German Bemberg Company created a safer procedure.
The production method was discovered and patented in 1892 by British scientists Charles Frederick Cross, Edward John Bevan, and Clayton Beadle. By 1905, the first commercial viscose rayon was available for purchase.
How is Viscose Made?
As a more affordable alternative to natural silk, viscose was first produced in 1883. This adaptable material, also referred to as artificial silk, is used to line jackets, t-shirts, activewear, stylish dresses, and tunics.
The secret to its adaptability is that it can be blended with various fabrics, like cotton and polyester, to enhance its advantages. To create viscose fabric, the wood cellulose undergoes a number of processes.
Here we break down the process of viscose production into 10 steps:
- Brownish wood pulp is created by dissolving wood chips in chemicals like sodium hydroxide.
- After being mixed with caustic soda to create an alkali solution, the cellulose-containing wood pulp is removed. The procedure cleans up the solution, turning it into a pure raw material for the fabric.
- Pressed sheets are created by pressing the alkali solution between rollers to remove extra liquid.
- After that, these pressed sheets are crushed into crumbs.
- With carbon disulfide, crumbs are treated.
- The viscous solution is made by dissolving the treated crumbs in chemicals like sulfuric acid. The “viscose” fabric or the viscose process of manufacturing rayon owes its name to this viscous solution.
- The viscous solution is filtered to remove any undissolved element
- Degassing is the next step, which is necessary to get rid of air bubbles that have gotten stuck in the solution and could weaken the fiber.
- A spinneret, a device that produces filaments (thin fiber resembling threads) of regenerated cellulose, is then used to force the solution through.
- The cellulose fibers are then spun into yarns and used to make viscose fabric by weaving or knitting.
Uses of Viscose Rayon
Viscose rayon is a practical choice for many utility products due to its many advantages. It is frequently utilized in the production of clothing, window treatments, cooling sheets, flame-retardant mattress additives, mattress protectors, and cellophane.
The silky texture of viscose fabric gives dresses a sophisticated appearance without costing as much as genuine silk. Velvet made from synthetic materials, which is less expensive than velvet made from natural fibers, is also produced using viscose rayon.
Viscose fabric has a look and feels that is appropriate for both formal and casual clothing. It is ideal for blouses, t-shirts, and casual dresses because it is light, airy, and breathable.
Because viscose is so absorbent, it is a good material for activewear. Additionally, viscose fabric keeps its color well, making it simple to find in virtually any shade.
Viscose is a great material for curtains because of its silk-like feel. Your windows are covered by flowing fabric, which adds to the beauty of your space. Maintaining a cool, dark sleeping area that encourages rest and relaxation requires the use of drapes and curtains.
We do advise that you take into account the best and worst colors for sleep when choosing drapes. Other colors absorb more heat and stimulate the mind more, while some colors keep you cooler at night and encourage peaceful thoughts.
Cooling sheets are frequently made from bamboo or eucalyptus cellulose that has been treated with N-Methylmorphine N-oxide. These fibers are a variety of rayon, despite being officially known as lyocell.
The distinction between lyocell and viscose is becoming less clear as more viscose producers adopt the environmentally friendly lyocell process. For people who have trouble with body heat buildup while they are sleeping, this rayon is a wise choice because of its lightweight, soft, smooth, and breathable qualities.
Mattress Flame Retardants
To make mattresses flame-resistant, viscose rayon is combined with silica. Although there have been worries about silica exposure to the skin, the problem is solved by silica being infused into rayon and then placed inside the mattress cover. Silica can cause breathing difficulties or skin irritation when it comes into direct contact with the skin.
There is flammable cellulose in rayon. The rayon does, however, form into beads-like structures when heated when silica is combined with viscose. These structures contain flames. An improved substitute for toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in mattresses is rayon infused with silica.
Because rayons of all kinds are excellent water absorbers, they are frequently combined with polyester and cotton to create mattress protectors. The extremely absorbent qualities of rayon enhance the waterproofing capability of mattress protectors.
Regenerated cellulose is used to make the transparent sheets that are used to package food. Viscose is an excellent material to use for food packaging because of its low permeability to air, water, and bacteria.
Environmental Considerations in Viscose Fabric Production
Because of the water wasted during production, the saturation of chemicals, and the destruction of regional ecosystems, viscose is not a sustainable option. Here are some things to consider before choosing to purchase viscose:
- Deforestation: While the wood used to make viscose can be harvested sustainably, it frequently comes from forests that were not established sustainably, destroying substantial natural forests and having a negative impact on regional ecosystems.
- Toxic chemicals. Viscose is made with a lot of toxic chemicals, which contaminate the air and water. Air emissions near viscose production facilities contain sulfur, nitrous oxides, carbon, disulfide, and hydrogen sulfide. The production of other types of rayon, such as modal, Tencel, and lyocell, is cleaner even though the chemicals can be reused throughout the cycle of production.
- Water waste. Water is used extensively during the production of viscose, both for watering the trees and for weaving the trees into the fabric.
Although viscose is biodegradable and made from a renewable resource, its production still has a significant negative impact on the environment.
How to Care for Your Viscose Fabric?
As we previously stated, when the fabric is wet, it loses a lot of its strength and structure. Because of this, washing your clothing in the washing machine could completely ruin it. Most of the clothing items that are made of viscose are labeled as “dry clean”.
The fabric shouldn’t be pulled or twisted, so unless you know how to wash it properly, you might be better off having it dry-cleaned.
Try hand washing it; it might be gentle enough to clean the fabric. Even if you’re not using a washing machine, you shouldn’t overtwist it. Use cold or lukewarm water and mild detergent because the fabric shrinks when washed this way.
When the clothing item has been thoroughly washed, press on it rather than twisting it to remove the extra water. You should select the gentle cycle if using a washing machine is a necessity. It’s best to let viscose air dry.
Avoid vigorously scrubbing any stains that may appear on your viscose fabric. Dry stains will be harder to remove because viscose absorbs colors readily. Try to remove stains as soon as they appear and avoid pulling the fabric too hard because this will weaken the yarn and harm your clothing item.
When exposed to heat, viscose is resilient and unaffected. However, it can be challenging to get rid of wrinkles, especially if the fabric is wet. Use the silk setting on your iron while sandwiching a pressing cloth between the fabric and the iron. See How to Iron Viscose Fabric Safely?
Comparing Rayon to Other Materials
Let’s examine how modal and polyester stack up against viscose rayon.
Viscose Vs Polyester
Although viscose and polyester are often compared as being similar, they actually differ greatly.
- Both rayon and polyester are made from long fibers, but polyester is a synthetic fiber and viscose is semi-synthetic, i.e. using natural fibers but chemicals in the process
- Viscose is more absorbent while polyester is better at wicking away moisture.
- Viscose wrinkles more readily than polyester, which dries more quickly.
- Because it does not shrink, polyester is stronger.
- Polyester resists abrasion, whereas viscose is more likely to pill.
- While viscose is produced using plants, polyester is produced using oil.
Viscose Vs Modal
- Modal is what’s called a “high wet modulus rayon,” which means it’s a type of rayon that’s stronger when wet and doesn’t lose its shape, which is not true for viscose.
- Similar to viscose in production, modal goes through a more thorough processing process that results in a stronger, lighter, and more breathable final product.
- Since less sodium hydroxide is required to make modal than to make viscose, modal is more environmentally friendly.
Conclusion: What is Viscose Fabric?
Viscose is undoubtedly a good option if you’re searching for a strong, reasonably-priced material with vibrant colors. It is durable, has a good drape, and is soft to the touch. But if you want your viscose clothing to last for a long time, you should make sure you’re caring for it properly.
Your opinions on viscose are greatly appreciated. Are you smitten with it or leery of it? Tell us in the comments section below.
Is Viscose a Good Quality Fabric?
If you’re looking for a durable and affordable material with rich colors, then viscose is definitely a good choice. It feels soft to the touch, is durable for daily use, and drapes well. To ensure that your viscose clothing lasts a long time, you should ensure that you take good care of it.
Is Viscose as Good as Cotton?
Cotton is made from a natural, organic material, whereas viscose is semi-synthetic. Viscose is not as durable as cotton, but it’s also lighter and smoother in feel, which some people prefer over cotton. With the exception of durability and longevity, one is not always preferable to the other.
Is Viscose Breathable Like Cotton?
Although there are other types of rayon besides viscose, such as cuprammonium, modal, and lyocell/Tencel, viscose is one of the most widely used because it has the same properties as cotton, such as being breathable and lightweight, and silk, such as being shiny and opulent. As a plant-based artificial silk, viscose is actually frequently used for natural materials.
Is Viscose Fabric Good for Summer?
Viscose is a great lightweight fabric made from regenerative plants that drape beautifully and has a lustrous finish, giving items a more opulent appearance. The creasing problem can be overcome with a viscose blend. This versatile material is breathable and absorbent. Great for hot weather.
Does Viscose Shrink?
When washing viscose, is it possible for it to shrink? Yes, it can. The clothing industry utilizes viscose, a variety of rayons, extensively. Although this type of fabric holds colors very well, it is extremely sensitive to any moisture.