Bamboo Viscose is one of the most popular choices within mainstream sustainable fashion due to the bamboo plant, which has many sustainable characteristics.Nevertheless, bamboo clothing is not the same as bamboo viscose. Yes, it is made from bamboo, but it still applies the same production principles of viscose, as you will soon discover.
Bamboo viscose is also renowned for its characteristics, which perfectly balance breathability and resistance.
At the same time, not only is bamboo a plant that grows quickly, but it is also renewable and requires lower maintenance than cotton – eco-friendly characteristics that try to offset the chemical process required to make bamboo viscose, which is an artificial fiber.
Used to make all kinds of clothing items, from dresses, shirts, and pants to underwear, keep on reading to learn all you need about bamboo viscose.
To understand what bamboo viscose is, one must also understand what viscose is. In short, viscose is a process that allows for the production of regenerated cellulose fiber, which is then used to create circular knitted fabrics.
Cellulose fiber can come from any number of trees and plants. As you might imagine, the cellulose fiber used to create bamboo viscose comes from bamboo.
Bamboo is widely used throughout the world. Its uses can be seen in everything from scaffoldings to utensils you may already use in-house. More recently, bamboo also made its way into the clothing industry, with bamboo viscose being one of its many varieties. Bamboo fibers are not only breathable, but they are also extremely strong. At the same time, the plant can grow very fast and requires less water to maintain than cotton, for example.
Bamboo viscose is not a natural fiber. It’s not synthetic either. Instead, it is an artificial fiber also known as viscose made from bamboo. That is why it can also be referred to as bamboo rayon.
This is important to know because, sometimes, you will find products claiming to be “bamboo”, when in fact they are made from bamboo viscose.
That is also why some countries are now instructing companies to accurately identify what they are selling. Especially when it comes to “bamboo clothing”. If it is made from bamboo viscose, it must say so on the label, in an effort to avoid confusion and fight greenwashing activities.
It all comes down to how it is made.
The process required to make bamboo viscose is quite similar to the production methods used to fabricate all circular knitted viscose fabrics. In short, the process requires taking bamboo, chipping it into small pieces, and then soaking them in the appropriate chemical solution in order to make the wood pulp necessary to produce bamboo viscose.
Then, this wood pulp is put through a variety of steps which include extraction, filtration, and washing, in a closed-loop production process. Ultimately it becomes ready to be spun.
Bamboo viscose has many advantages, but there are five characteristics you should be aware of. These are:
1. Soft to the Touch
Bamboo viscose is a very soft material, which makes it perfect to create items such as t-shirts, underwear, and pajamas, pieces that directly touch the skin of the wearer.
2. Breathable and Lightweight
It’s soft touch is due to it being breathable and lightweight. Clothing apparel and household items made from it have excellent levels of ventilation, which help the wearer feel extremely comfortable.
Bamboo viscose is also very resistant and durable. It will last for a long time without pilling, even if you constantly wash and wear it.
4. Low Maintenance
Bamboo viscose clothing is machine washable with cool water and it does not need any dry cleaners or hand washing. Because it is soft to the touch, it also does not require any product softeners. In fact, a handheld steamer will be enough to iron it!
Bamboo textiles share much of the same quality characteristics we find in many luxury items, without sharing the same type of price tags, which makes it an excellent option for quality pieces that can be acquired by almost everyone.
What may be seen as different types, are in fact the same: bamboo rayon, rayon made from bamboo, regenerated bamboo, or viscose made from bamboo – they are all the same type of bamboo viscose fiber. The key difference is bamboo: it’s important to remember that viscose and rayon can be made from different sources, such as wood from pine trees or eucalyptus.
Not really the same but there are also two other fibers involving bamboo that are worthy of note: bamboo modal and bamboo lyocell.
As happens with bamboo viscose, both these fibers are also made from bamboo, with the processes differing from the one used to produce bamboo viscose fabric. Respectively, according to modal and lyocell.
Much of the benefits of bamboo viscose are directly associated with the benefits of bamboo itself. As a plant, bamboo is renewable and sustainable. It also grows quickly, which is important to keep up with the growing demands.
At the same time, it requires little to no pesticides, and it needs less water than most other plants. Although bamboo viscose cannot be seen as an entirely natural fiber, it can certainly be treated as a viable alternative to other less sustainable plants used within the textile industry.