Why choose Bamboo fabric?
Bamboo has many advantages over cotton as a raw material for textiles. The bamboo plant is fast growing, highly sustainable and is naturally organic. Bamboo can reach up to 35 metres tall and is one of the fastest growing woody plants in the world. In fact, regular harvesting actually benefits the health of the plant as studies have shown that felling of canes leads to vigorous re-growth and an increase in the amount of biomass the next year. Unlike the cotton plant, bamboo does not require replanting after harvest but will regenerate from its rhizome root structure. This prevents soil erosion and maintains soil integrity. Just like other cellulose-based clothing materials, bamboo fibre is biodegradable in soil by microorganisms and sunlight. Having reached the end of its useful life, clothing made from bamboo can be composted and disposed of in an organic and environmentally friendly manner.
How is fabric created from the bamboo plant?
There are two ways to manufacture bamboo fabric in the commercial world – the mechanical process and the chemical process. The chemical process is the more popular approach and is used to produce rayon or viscose fabric. Mechanically processed bamboo creates what is informally known as bamboo linen. It is costlier approach but is an environmental friendlier way of manufacturing bamboo-based textiles.
What is mechanically processed bamboo fabric?
Mechanically produced bamboo fabric requires no nasty chemicals, pesticides or fungicides. It uses a method similar to the one that produces linen from flax or hemp. The woody part of the bamboo is crushed mechanically before employing a natural enzyme retting and washing process to break down the walls and extract the bamboo fibre. Next, bamboo fibres are raked and combed into long strands, thereby preserving their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal characteristics. These bast fibres are then drawn out and spun into a yarn that is silky smooth to the touch. Because of the smooth and round structure of its fibres, mechanically-processed bamboo clothing is soft and non-irritating even to the most sensitive skin.
It is anti-bacterial, costlier and time consuming to produce than chemically processed bamboo, our 100% mechanically processed bamboo linen fabric feels similar to cashmere (Jersey range). It is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, anti-static, breathable and thermal regulating (which keeps you cool during hot weather and warm during the cooler months) even after multiple washings.
What is chemically processed bamboo?
This is the more popular method for producing bamboo fibres and the resulting fabric is generally called bamboo rayon or rayon made from bamboo.
By drawing on the same techniques that are being used to produce fabric from wood cellulose, manufacturers using the chemical process method, modifies these techniques to suit bamboo cellulose. Harsh chemical solvents are used to dissolve the bamboo cellulose into a viscose solution. Next, hydrogen peroxide is added as a stabilizer and the solution is forced through spinnerets into a hardening bath. This step causes thin streams of viscose bamboo solution to harden into bamboo cellulose fibre threads. The hardening bath is usually a solution of water mixed with methanol, ethanol or a similar alcohol. The regenerated bamboo fibre threads can then be spun into bamboo yarn for weaving into fabric. Chemically produced bamboo fabric exposes the workers to poisonous fumes and may cause long term health related problems