Bamboo is one of the world’s most sustainable resources around. Bamboo is quite often referred as a tree, however, this plant is categorized as a grass, and it is very easy to grow.
This grass grows extremely fast and can shoot up a yard or more a day. Bamboo reaches maturity quickly and is ready for harvesting in about 4 years.
Bamboo has the ability to regenerate itself. So it does not need to be replanted after harvesting. Once bamboo has been cut down, brand new shoots continuously grow replacing old ones, so that this plant can be harvested over and over again.
Another benefit of bamboo is that they are low maintenance and required very little water to survive. They are also resistant to pests, therefore, do not require the application of pesticides at all.
Bamboo releases more oxygen into the atmosphere compared to trees, therefore, improving air quality. So planting bamboo can help reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the air.
This makes the plant very friendly to our environment.
The Bamboo Fabric Process
In the recent years, bamboo fabric clothing have gained popularity in the fashion industry. This eco-fabric has a natural sheen and luxurious softness that feels and drapes like silk. Bamboo fabric feels really good!
Have a read about my first encounter with bamboo fabric HERE.
Bamboo fabric is used to make a variety of clothing such as underwear, socks, bed sheets, towels, and pillow cases. I just love the wide variety of socks from Bamboo Bits and the bed sheets from Ettitude.
There are two ways to process bamboo to convert the bamboo into a fabric:
1) Mechanical Process:
This process requires crushing the woody sections of the bamboo plant and applying natural enzymes to break down the plant walls into a soft and mushy mass. The natural bamboo fibers are mechanically combed out and then spun into yarn for weaving into fabric.
This mechanical process is the earth friendly way of turning bamboo into fabric. It is also used to manufacture linen fabric from flax or hemp.
2) Chemical Process:
Many of the eco-fashion fabrics are made using the chemical process. The general process of chemically manufacturing bamboo fiber is known as hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching technology.
This involves soaking crushed bamboo with a powerful alkaline solution, such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and carbon disulfide, to break down the elements holding the bamboo fibres together. Through a complex series of steps, the bamboo fibres become thinner and are bleached. Once the process is completed, the fibres are spun into yarn.
Note: Some concerns have been raised about the harmful chemicals used during this process, but when used responsibly it should have no effect on the environment and workers’ health.
8 Benefits of Bamboo Clothing
1) Bamboo fabric feels great.
2) Non-irritating as the fabric does not cling to body
3) Robust, durable, and hypoallergenic
5) Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. So controls body odour!
6) Breathable and thermal regulating than cotton, hemp, wool or synthetic fabrics.
7) Very easy to dye the fabric
8) Highly absorbent keeping you drier during warmer weathers
It’s amazing how manufacturers have found ways to turn a sustainable renewable resource like bamboo into fabric. Bamboo fabric offers some great qualities for the eco-minded individual.
If you haven’t tried bamboo products before, then you might be missing out on their great benefits. You can read my post on where you can find some great bamboo products HERE!