How Does Bamboo Become a Fabric

According to the New York Times “The Benefits of Bamboo,” the benefits of organic fabrics are endless from a sustainable, eco-friendly, and affordable perspective, but how exactly does bamboo become a fabric?

If we check our very own DreamFit Glossary, we find descriptions of both bamboo and also what is often called “bamboo silk:” or Viscose.

Bamboo is an easily renewable resource requiring only 1/3 the amount of water to grow than cotton, and can be grown with little to no use of pesticides or herbicides. Bamboo fabric is often described as feeling like cashmere and typically gets softer after each washing. Bamboo includes a naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and odor resistant fiber. The bamboo fabric also provides natural insulating properties providing warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.

Viscose is a bamboo rayon that has been proven to provide antibacterial protection against both gram positive and gram-negative bacteria. Viscose has also been referred to as “bamboo silk.”

The website Organic Clothing explains the different processes that produce bamboo fabric.

One of the most ancient ways is by crushing the woody parts of the bamboo plant and then using natural enzymes to break the bamboo walls into a mushy mass so that the natural fibers can be mechanically combed out and spun into yarn.

Most bamboo fabric, however, is manufactured by “cooking” the bamboo leaves and woody shoots.

While specifics can vary, the general process for chemically manufacturing bamboo goes like this:

  1. Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted and crushed.
  2. The crushed bamboo is soaked in a solution.
  3. The soaked and crushed bamboo pulp is then pressed by a grinder and left to dry for 24 hours.
  4. The bamboo is sent through small pulsating nozzles and then dropped into a large container where the product begins hardening and then converts into bamboo fiber threads.
  5. These threads are then spun into bamboo fiber yarns to be woven into reconstructed and regenerated bamboo fabric.

Newer techniques for these processes are appearing almost yearly. One of the more promising ones is using 4 to 5 year old Taiwanese-grown bamboo that has been dried and burned in 800 degree ovens until it is reduced to charcoal then processed and woven into bamboo fabrics.

Check out this short video on the great properties and sustainability of bamboo textiles. Bamboo: The Miracle Plant And while you’re at it, take a look at our most popular product – our DreamFit Degree 5 Bamboo Rich sheet sets at DreamFit.com.