Bamboo sheets are becoming increasingly popular due to their comfort, trendiness, and sustainability. Made from plant fibers derived from the pulp of bamboo plants, bamboo fabrics are highly coveted textiles. Bamboo plants grow extremely fast, making bamboo fabrics one of the most sustainable natural materials around.
In this article, we will explore the different types of bamboo fabrics, their manufacturing processes, and what they feel like.
Types of Bamboo Fabrics
Bamboo fabrics can be made through two processes: mechanical and chemical. There are three popular types of bamboo fabrics available that are made using one of these two methods:
1. Bamboo Viscose
Bamboo viscose, or rayon, is made from the bamboo plant’s regenerated cellulose fiber through a process called mechanical pulping. Bamboo pulp is combined with water and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and spun at high speeds to be turned into bamboo threads or fibers. Bamboo viscose is identical to other types of viscose or rayon fabrics.
2. Bamboo Lyocell
The production process of bamboo lyocell is the same as that of bamboo viscose. The only difference is that it entails a closed-loop method and is blended with amine oxide to dissolve the bamboo cellulose. Lyocell is a third-generation fabric production technique that transforms wood into a textile fiber and is a more modern version of the viscose process.
The bamboo pulp is broken down using a non-toxic solvent, allowing the water used in the manufacturing process to be recovered and reused.
3. Bamboo Linen
The production of bamboo linen is a mechanical process. It contains the smashing of bamboo wood into a pulp, which is then broken into a soft mass with the help of natural enzymes. The natural bamboo fibers in this process are combed out mechanically, then spun into thread, which is later woven into cloth, similar to hemp fabrics.
What Do Bamboo Sheets Feel Like?
Bamboo viscose has a soft, smooth texture, which is ideal for sleeping as it helps reduce discomfort by providing thermal regulation. Bamboo viscose is a hybrid fabric that blends synthetic and natural fibers. This makes it extremely durable and sturdy, which is exactly what you need for daily-use bedding. Despite the plant’s hardiness, bamboo viscose feels feathery and soft to sleep on and has a silky smoothness that is unrivaled by other fabrics.
Bamboo viscose includes a natural component known as Kun, which inhibits bacterial growth. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, therefore, also contribute to better sleep as they prevent unpleasant odors from developing on your sheets.
In addition to its smooth and silky texture, the fabric is hypoallergenic. This creates a gentle sensation against your skin that’s ideal for people with skin sensitivities and conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
Bamboo viscose is also a sweat-wicking fabric and absorbs moisture better than cotton while rapidly allowing the moisture to evaporate. This makes it the perfect bed linen for all seasons, especially during the warmer months when you don’t want your sheets to end up slick and sweaty.
More expensive than bamboo viscose, bamboo lyocell has a very similar manufacturing process and is extremely durable and breathable. People often assume that bamboo lyocell will be similar to bamboo viscose in texture and softness, but that is not the case. This material is comparatively less soft and can also be more susceptible to piling.
While these sheets offer the same hypoallergenic and sustainable characteristics, they aren’t usually recommended for daily use as bed linens.
As breathable and anti-fungal as they are, bamboo lyocell sheets don’t offer the same softness and lightness that bamboo viscose sheets do. Therefore, they may not feel as silky soft to sleep on or create the same sense of cloud-like, cottony comfort. It is relatively better suited for garments due to its non-creasing properties.
Bamboo Viscose vs. Bamboo Lyocell
It can be extremely helpful to understand how bamboo viscose and bamboo lyocell differ in terms of manufacturing and the result, as both are popular bamboo fabrics.
As far as being soft and flowy is concerned, bamboo viscose is superior to bamboo lyocell. Its blended fabric allows it to drape beautifully over a bed while being softer and more comfortable to sleep on.
Bamboo lyocell is considered the most eco-friendly bamboo fabric, second only to bamboo linen, which is relatively uncommon due to its production process. It entails a closed-loop manufacturing process that allows all the materials used in production to be reused or recycled. For example, the water used in bamboo lyocell production can be reused with ease.
Of the two, bamboo viscose is the cheaper fabric to manufacture, making it more affordable compared to bamboo lyocell. It offers value for money, and comfort, and is a sustainable bedding option that is much lower priced than bamboo lyocell.
Bamboo lyocell is susceptible to piling over time, making it the less durable option. Meanwhile, bamboo viscose can last for a long time, especially with the right care. Using cold water and a gentle tumble to wash can help your bamboo fabric last longer.
You should also avoid using bleach, fabric softener, and other harsh chemicals to clean it. Air-drying bamboo viscose sheets can promote longevity.
Hi there, I’m Sam Billings, and I’m all about sustainability. Running a printing business is my thing, but my real passion is preserving nature. That’s why I run the Live Health blog, where I focus on Bamboo plants and their eco-friendly goodness.