Bamboo fabric is the material made from the bamboo plant. The fabric is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. It's a versatile, soft and long-wearing fabric. As a fabric, bamboo is sustainable from its growth and harvesting through to using and disposing of it.
Sustainability of bamboo
Bamboo is the largest member of the grass family and is considered to be the fastest growing woody plant in the world. It can thrive in a diversity of climates, with much of it being grown in Asia. This fast growth rate of bamboo and its ability to grow in many different areas and climates makes it a sustainable product, harvested quickly and easily replaced. It has enormous versatility when used for the textile industry.
Growth of bamboo minimises carbon dioxide emissions and generates more oxygen than a stand of trees. In addition, bamboo can help prevent soil erosion (it is not uprooted when harvested), helps to slow deforestation (as an alternative source of timber or in place of cotton) and, in general, can be grown without irrigation, thereby saving water.
At the end of its fabric cycle, bamboo fibers are biodegradable. You can even toss bamboo clothing into the compost bin (with the obvious rider that care needs to be taken concerning dyes and embellishments on the clothing).
Bamboo species used for clothing
The variety of bamboo used for clothing is usually the Moso bamboo. This bamboo is the main bamboo in China, covering about 3 million hectares.
Texture of bamboo fabric
Bamboo fabric is very soft to the touch and has a smooth surface. People unable to wear hemp or wool will often find bamboo clothing an excellent alternative. It feels similar to rayon, for those familiar with rayon.
Bamboo fabric s considered to be light to medium in weight.
Bamboo fabric characteristics
Bamboo fabric is highly absorbent and dyes easily. It also has excellent wicking qualities, which makes it great for wearing when performing outdoor activities.
As with silk, bamboo tends to keep the wearer warm in winter and cool in summer. It is considered to be cooler and softer than wool, hemp, linen and cotton.
Bamboo fabric as anti-bacterial qualities that can help reduce the growth of bacteria on the skin.
Bamboo fabric is easy to sew.
Care of bamboo fabric
Bamboo fabric is easy to care for. It can be hand- or machine-washed. While it is more eco-friendly to air dry it, bamboo clothing can be tumble dried if necessary. However, to prevent wrinkling, take it out of the dryer while still slightly damp and let it air dry the rest of the way.
Shrinkage will be minimal when washing.
When ironing bamboo fabric, use steam and medium heat.
Sources and citations
- Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo_textiles