Bamboo Textile: The Future of Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Bamboo textiles are natural textiles used to produce a wide range of fabrics. The demand for bamboo textiles is steadily increasing in the eco-friendly textile market as more people discover its many practical benefits.

While some textiles are more eco-friendly, understanding what bamboo fibers and textiles are is essential because of their wide range of applications.

Getting adequate knowledge about the different manufacturing techniques used to create these textiles is also important. 

What is A Bamboo Textile?

Bamboo Textile
Bamboo Terry Fabric

Bamboo textiles are made of bamboo and are woven from a natural fiber extracted from the bamboo plant. 

It’s fair to say that the utility and aesthetics of bamboo textiles are intertwined.

Throughout the world, bamboo serves several purposes, including food, fodder, the principal building material, and raw material for a wide range of everyday products. 

However, bamboo is highly prized in Asia for its eco-friendly textile and medical uses. The versatile nature of bamboo has led to its widespread incorporation into numerous human-made products, including those in clothing such as corsets for women of high status in times past, furniture, and musical instrument industries.

Modern bamboo textiles are perfect for use in many decorative and design contexts due to their adaptability and elegance.

Fabrics and textiles made from bamboo fiber have benefited from recent developments in manufacturing technology and techniques.

Bamboo textiles are more eco-friendly than fabric types like cotton and have micro-gaps that make them a little bit softer and better at wicking away moisture.

The textile is resistant to UV light, germs, and is bacteriostatic, antifungal (eliminate harmful microorganisms), and are hypoallergenic. 

Typically, the density of bamboo textiles per square inch is measured in terms of thread count. 

Looking at this fact, bamboo thread counts usually fall between 300 and 500, which results in a softer fabric. 

How Are Bamboo Textiles Made?

Bamboo textiles are among the most eco-friendly options available, which means they are made using environmentally friendly methods.

Bamboo textiles can be produced using mechanical means or by chemical processes. The chemical process involves turning the bamboo fibers into cellulose which is crushed, soaked in sodium hydroxide, and woven into cloth. 

The first step in making bamboo textiles is to slice the bamboo into very narrow strips.

A metal or wooden saw is used to saw through the bamboo at a 45-degree angle between the two nodes and the bottom ring, also called the sheathing ring, to gain access to the node. This process gives rise to the bamboo culm. 

Next, the bamboo is smashed, and the stalks are chopped into tiny fibers to make the bamboo pulp. The pulp is then filtered, pressed to 145 °C, and steamed.

Another step in the production process involves dissolving cellulose in a 15–20 g/L sodium hydroxide or caustic soda solution at 20–25 °C. After that, the bamboo sheets are formed, cut up, and submerged in chemicals for about an hour to three hours.

Removing the fiber from the sheets must be soaked and then dried. The natural elasticity of the material after being spun into fiber threads is around 20%.

These filaments are first extracted from the bamboo stalks, then spun into threads, and then weaved into yarns that are utilized to create bamboo textiles.

A Brief History of Bamboo Textiles

Bamboo textiles have been cultivated for thousands of years, particularly in the Asian continent. Bamboo textiles have been around for a while now but are pretty low in popularity, and it’s only recently that the textiles have been produced commercially.

Philipp Lichtenstadt filed the earliest patents for bamboo textiles in the United States in 1864. He came up with the idea to create a “new and practical process for dissolving the fiber of bamboo.” However, the low demand for bamboo and the high transportation costs from Asia probably stopped his proposal from taking off.

The fabric eventually entered mainstream distribution and had widespread popularity in the United States during the 2000s. Despite China’s continued dominance in the textile industry, the United States remains the primary bamboo textiles source. 

Types of Bamboo Textiles 

Bamboo Rayon Fabric
Mixed Bamboo Fabric – 66% Bamboo Rayon, 28% Cotton and 6% Spandex

The processes involved in bamboo textile production are the primary determinant of its types and quality. There are different types of bamboo textiles which we’ll see subsequently. However, these might not be all types there are since bamboo can be applied to make a wide variety of fabrics.

  • Bamboo Lyocell textile

Like viscose, lyocell fabric is produced by a closed-loop process. This type of bamboo textile possesses some advantageous properties present in naturally created fibers due to the cellulose utilized in the manufacturing cycle not altering the chemical makeup of the fabric.

  • Bamboo Viscose textile

In appearance and feel, viscose bamboo textile is identical to other viscose fabrics.

Because of its luxuriously soft feel, the textile is often chosen for garments, linens, and even beds. Furthermore, bamboo rayon is a low-cost textile that is also quite simple to care for.

  • Linen or fine Bamboo Textile

Many people consider linen textiles made from fine bamboo fiber using a mechanical process to be the most natural of bamboo fabrics.

These bamboo fibers are long-lasting, sturdy, and soft, yet, their production is time-consuming and not cheap. As a result, many clothing brands usually steer clear of it.

Textiles of this kind are crafted by dissolving the plant’s stalk into a pulp using bamboo enzymes.

  • Bamboo-Cotton Fabric

As a blended fabric type, the organic cotton-bamboo fabric combines both bamboo and cotton’s most remarkable qualities and is therefore superior to both. 

Bamboo textiles also shrink less than cotton and retain their shape better. It’s also the textile that’s organically certified. 

Average Cost Of Bamboo Textiles Per Yard

The price for bamboo textiles depends significantly on the quality of the fabric and the method used to make it. For instance, chemically engineered bamboo will always cost more than cloth made by a mechanical process. The price of fine bamboo fiber cloth that is mechanically made will typically be more than the price of cotton.

Many fabric stores and internet vendors sell mechanically processed fine bamboo textiles by the yard for between $40 and $100 per yard. 

The typical cost of a yard of bamboo fabric made with cotton and other fabrics is roughly $15.

Bamboo Textiles Usage And Applications 

Bamboo Sheets
Bamboo Sheets

This fabric is similar to other fabrics in that it is stretchable, breathable, and durable. As a result, the textile industry uses it extensively to create various items. 

  • Home Products 

Bamboo textiles are used more in home goods than in the textile industry.

Bamboo textiles make many household products, including towels, hand towels, blankets, bed sheets, and mattresses.

  • Clothing materials

Due to its softness and durability, bamboo fabrics are frequently utilized in the clothing industry.

They are used in various garment-related products besides T-shirts, undergarments, leggings, and socks. 

  • Medical textiles 

Bamboo textiles are well known among many people due to their antimicrobial qualities. 

The textiles possess the natural effects of sterilization and bacteriostasis. Therefore, it has a vast application in sanitary materials such as sanitary towels, masks, surgical clothes, nurses’ wear, gauze mask, absorbent pads, and so on.

  • Bedroom fabrics

Textile producers can also make bedding materials from bamboo fibers. Due to the textile’s hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties, they help people avoid getting sick as frequently.

Your bed stays dry and odor-free thanks to the fabric’s deodorizing and absorptive capabilities.

Bamboo textiles produce sheets, comforters, pillows, duvets, drapes, etc. 

  • Baby diapers

Bringing soiled diapers on a trip is a nightmare, but you can avoid that by using disposable liners.

As an eco-friendly alternative to traditional disposable diapers, some companies are now manufacturing diapers made from bamboo materials.

Using bamboo fiber-containing diapers on your baby’s sensitive bottom is even better because of their inherent antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties.

While bamboo fabric can be used to create prefolds and flat diapers, it is more commonly used as an absorbent insert in pocket diapers, all-in-one diapers, and hybrid diapers.

  • Utility textiles

Bamboo fabrics are suitable for the body since they dry fast after getting wet and are soft to the touch. If you use bamboo towels, washcloths, bedding, and carpets in the bathroom, you may rest assured that any potentially harmful germs will die off quickly.

Bamboo Textile Care and Maintenance Tips 

To adequately care for and maintain bamboo textiles, I’ll advise you to adhere to these helpful tips below:

  • Bamboo clothing can be washed by hand or machine. However, it would be best if you stuck to using cold water the entire time. It is preferable to wash them after reversing them for the best results.
  • Care must be taken when using bamboo textiles and materials. Soak them in a bit of soap and lightly wash them in short cycles with other clothing of the same hue. Then rinse the material well after washing it to eliminate all soap residue.
  • Never use bleach or fabric softeners while washing these fabrics because they significantly reduce bamboo textile longevity. You should handle bamboo materials carefully because they become much more delicate when wet.
  • Avoid drying the fabric in direct sunlight as this could cause irreparable damage. Also, never dry bamboo cloth in a dryer since it will quickly shrink and lose shape if you do. When the fabric is dry, hang it up to prevent creases.
  • Bamboo sheets may be simply cleaned of stains, so long as you wash them off right away and do not allow the stains to dry on them. Stubborn stains can sometimes be removed using a little bit of vinegar and baking soda.

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