Soft and supple against the skin, bamboo viscose is making a splash in the world of sustainable fabrics and is helping to move the fashion industry forward to a more eco-friendly place. Bamboo is quick growing and an easily replaceable resource that shares similar vibes with cotton and other supersoft breathable fabrics. Because of its easy cultivation and naturally moisture-wicking wonders, it makes a great addition to the world of textiles.
While bamboo fiber has been historically used for a whole host of things in the past - paper, furniture, and even weapons - it only started to be considered as a fabric in the late 19th century when it started to be used for mats and other small items thanks to its fine flexibility. But it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the technology came into play that could help bamboo to become commercially available across the world. We take a closer look at bamboo viscose, mapping out the pros and cons along with outlining the different kinds of bamboo fabrics you can find. If you want to know why bamboo viscose is the perfect fashion fabric, keep reading to find out.
What Is Bamboo Viscose?
Bamboo viscose refers to fabric made from bamboo using the viscose process. The viscose process is a way in which plant fibers are extracted and refined so they can be used to make fabric. Bamboo viscose is picking up traction as more and more consumers are seeking ways in which they can make more sustainable choices when it comes to their wardrobes. While the term bamboo viscose is relatively new and people aren’t as familiar with the process as they are with more popular textiles like cotton and silk, bamboo is set to be a gamechanger when it comes to a silky smooth fabric that you want to surround yourself with.
How Is Bamboo Viscose Made?
So how does bamboo go from fibrous panda food to gorgeous buttery soft garments? Most of the bamboo fabric on the modern market goes through the viscose process that turns it from a pulpy plant into a workable textile. It is made from the cellulose fiber of bamboo and is pulled from the plant and turned into bamboo chips. These chips are then soaked in caustic soda and carbon disulfide to turn them into a wood pulp-like solution. This pulp is then able to be spun, combed out, and woven into threads that are turned into fabric. The solvents that are used in the production are there to break down the bamboo and provide the bleaching quality that is needed for the fabric. As you can see, bamboo viscose occupies that space between being totally natural but processed in a manmade way.
Is Bamboo Viscose Safe to Wear?
Bamboo viscose generally feels soft, silky, and beautifully breathable against the skin but like many fabrics in the modern world, it is a material that requires some chemical input to turn it from plant to product. In some small cases, the use of chemical processes may mean that people who have certain skin types may not find bamboo viscose a good match. The chemicals involved in the process include sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide as these are needed to solidify the pulp. While these won’t cause huge concerns to your skin as they aren’t there by the end product if you have truly sensitive skin, you may want to play it safe.
Bamboo Viscose vs Bamboo Rayon
While you may be wondering what the difference is between bamboo viscose and bamboo rayon, there is actually no difference at all - they are in fact the same material. The only difference is in geography. Rayon is often a North American term whereas Rayon is the favored name for the same process but is a more European term.
What Is Bamboo Lyocell?
Bamboo lyocell is another kind of bamboo fabric. It is also made from bamboo that is pulped, washed, combed, and turned into yarns. However, it is different to bamboo viscose as it is made using non toxic substances during the lyocell manufacturing process. This means that lyocell is actually 100% organic and earns extra brownie points for being even more biodegradable than viscose. Bamboo lyocell is also produced using less water and leaves behind less waste in comparison to viscose.
Benefits of Bamboo Viscose
Soft as silk, as fresh and breathable as cotton, and with exceptional moisture-wicking qualities - there’s a lot to love about bamboo viscose. For those wanting to welcome an eco-friendly fabric into their wardrobe, beautiful bamboo is easy on the skin without being hard on the planet. Take a look at these reasons to fall hard for bamboo.
Super soft and feeling heavenly against the skin, bamboo viscose feels like pure luxury. It has similar qualities in touch and feels to silk which is awesome news for those with sensitive skin or those who just want to feel good every time they slip into something.
Bamboo viscose is an extremely breathable material meaning that it is all soft and snuggly in the winter months, but super cool and breezy (and won’t make you sweat) when it comes to sweet summer weather. Bamboo clothing is a great material for sustainable loungewear, workout clothes, and for those activities where you tend to get sweaty. An added benefit is also the fact that bamboo clothing offers UV protection too and can filter a staggering 97.5% of harmful UV rays - this material truly cares about your skin in every single way.
Another awesome thing about bamboo viscose is that it comes with high antibacterial properties. This is great for clothing as it means the fibers are more likely to stay fresh for longer as they fight odours. It’s also good news for those with sensitive skin.
Bamboo viscose is also known for its moisture-wicking wonders too. This is because the fibers pull sweat and moisture away from your skin and keep that moisture moving so that it evaporates quickly rather than hanging around. This keeps your skin cool, dry and feeling fresh. Bamboo sheets are particularly loved by those who suffer night sweats and have issues staying cool and comfortable at night. Bamboo bed sheets can wick away the sweat and as it’s super absorbent, bamboo bedding will keep you dry until morning.
Along with being moisture-wicking and naturally antibacterial, bamboo viscose is also naturally hypoallergenic which is why it’s such a good fit for those with skin allergies and certain sensitivities.
In the fight against fast fashion, we all want clothes that won’t fall to pieces in the wash but will stay strong and durable and fresh in our wardrobe for many years to come. Fortunately, bamboo viscose is long-lasting and another great element of this fabric is the fact that it isn’t prone to piling, meaning you can wash and wear it without worrying about it losing its visual quality.
Moisture wicking, easy and breezy - there’s a reason why bamboo is such a great all year round fabric to throw on and this is thanks to its thermoregulating properties. As it’s a material that stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you are always dressed for the right kind of weather with bamboo viscose.
Unlike cotton and silk, bamboo viscose can also be super low maintenance making it an optimal choice for those who don’t want to spend hours at the dry cleaners or hand scrubbing over a kitchen sink. Instead, all bamboo viscose needs is a delicate cycle wash and it can even be tumble dried in most scenarios. As it’s a naturally gloriously soft material, there’s no reason to spend money on fabric softener either and you don’t need to worry about piling and wrinkles and other such problems.
Bamboo viscose is a budget-friendly option for those wanting a quality material that oozes luxury and style without breaking the bank. Bamboo viscose is considered to be an affordable fabric because the bamboo plant grows in such abundance. As soft as silk against the skin and with long-lasting quality, you don’t compromise even an inch when it comes to choosing bamboo. The fact that bamboo viscose is affordable also means that you can do your bit for the planet without counting the pennies.
Bamboo Viscose Drawbacks
Loaded with all kinds of luxurious benefits, there are a lot of reasons to love bamboo viscose but there are also a few tiny drawbacks for some people. Bamboo may also be more prone to shrinking in the wash which is why you should be sure to keep it on a delicate cycle and always follow the label instructions. It may also take a little longer to dry than your other fabrics as it has the ability to absorb and hold a huge amount of water (which is why it’s so great in the moisture-wicking department). But overall, it’s worth remembering that bamboo viscose is a low maintenance fabric that doesn’t require extensive or special care to keep it looking good.
Like all materials in the modern world, it can be tricky to iron out all the ethical kinks and while bamboo viscose is making leaps and bounds in the world of sustainability, there are still some harmful chemicals that are used in the production process. Even though these chemicals are gone by the end result and the industry is always looking for a better solution to reduce this element, it is considered a slight drawback for now. However, when you compare the production of bamboo viscose to the likes of cotton, you see that cotton actually uses way more environmental pollutants in comparison. Cotton uses fertilizers, pesticides, and plenty of water, and can seriously degrade soil quality. When you stand bamboo viscose up alongside these factors you see that it is a way more sustainable choice.
Is Bamboo Derived Viscose a Sustainable Fabric?
To be considered a sustainable fabric, there are certain criteria that textiles must meet. These can include the following -
- Sustainable fiber sourcing
- Renewability of source material
- Environmental impact
- Less pollution
- Less waste production
- Resource conversation
While the chemical process can be seen as a negative, the benefits of the natural fibers of bamboo certainly outweigh the drawbacks. Bamboo is a super sustainable crop that grows quickly and doesn’t require the use of pesticides. It also uses a lot less water than cotton and is self-generating meaning that it doesn’t need to be replanted time and time again. All of this combined with the quality of the fabric adds up to it being a solid choice for those wanting to switch to a more sustainable fabric. Here’s a closer look at the how and why behind bamboo viscose being a sustainable fabric.
It grows fast
Bamboo is one of the quickest growing plants on the planet which means that it doesn’t require a huge amount of time and energy to flourish. While the likes of cotton can take time and care and resources to grow, bamboo will just shoot straight back up making it solid renewable source material.
It uses less water
Bamboo requires a third of the amount of water as cotton meaning that it is a plant that doesn’t ask for a lot of resources to thrive. In a world where we are ever conscious of our water use, this makes bamboo a much more sustainable choice.
It doesn’t need pesticides
Fertilizers and pesticides can reap havoc on the natural world and are a controversial topic. Fortunately, bamboo doesn’t require any fertilizers or pesticides or any other harmful chemicals to grow. This means that bamboo doesn’t contribute to pollution of the earth and waterways which is what happens when pesticides and other chemicals seep into the land.
Make the Switch
For those who are keen to make a shift and invite more sustainable fabrics into their wardrobe, bamboo viscose is a valid choice on many levels. Not only is this material an absolute dream to wear thanks to its silky soft qualities, but the ecological benefits are also big news. While the likes of wool and cotton can lean heavily on environmental resources, bamboo is practically self-sufficient and even the need for chemicals in production is a smidge compared to what it takes to create synthetic materials.
Bamboo viscose is also a good choice for those who want to create capsule-style wardrobes that don’t take a lot of bulking up come winter and summer as this fabric is fabulously versatile and a smart cut of cloth that knows how to work in harmony with your body and the environment to keep you cool and breezy or warm and soft. If you want a fabric that will last for years, hold its quality, and that feels soft against the skin while staying soft and gentle to the planet, bamboo viscose is it.
Take a look at our range of super cozy and luxurious bamboo clothing and see for yourself why this fast-growing, soft as silk, easily recyclable, and gorgeous gift from mother nature is the only fabric you need.