Bamboo Fabric Is The Next Big Thing
Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass. Fabric made from Bamboo has been growing in popularity because it has many unique properties and is more sustainable than most other textile fibers. Bamboo fabric is light and strong, has excellent wicking properties, and is antibacterial and biodegradable.
Bamboo fiber resembles cotton in its unspun form, a puffball of light, airy fibers. Many companies use extensive bleaching processes to turn bamboo fiber white, although companies producing organic bamboo fabric leave the bamboo fiber unbleached. To make bamboo fiber, bamboo is heavily pulped until it separates into thin component threads of fiber, which can be spun and dyed for weaving into cloth.
Bamboo fabric is very soft and can be worn directly next to the skin. Many people who experience allergic reactions to other natural fibers, such as wool or hemp, do not complain of this issue with bamboo. The fiber is naturally smooth and round without chemical treatment, meaning that there are no sharp spurs to irritate the skin.
Bamboo fabric is favored by many companies trying to use sustainable textiles as it grows quickly and does not usually require the use of pesticides and herbicides to thrive. As a result, plantations can easily be kept organic and replanted yearly to replenish stocks. The process of making unbleached bamboo fiber is very light on chemicals that could potentially harm the environment.
In textile form, bamboo retains many of the properties it has as a plant. Bamboo is highly water absorbent, able to take up three times its weight in water. In bamboo fabric, this translates to an excellent wicking ability that will pull moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate. For this reason, clothing made of bamboo fiber is often worn next to the skin.
Bamboo also has many antibacterial qualities, which bamboo fabric is able to retain, even through multiple washings. This helps to reduce bacteria that thrive on clothing and cause unpleasant odors. It can also kill odor-causing bacteria that live on human skin, making the wearer and his or her clothing smell more pleasant. In addition, bamboo fabric has insulating properties and will keep the wearer cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Bamboo clothing is also UV protective which eliminates 95% of harmful ultra violet rays.
The versatility of bamboo fabric makes it an excellent choice for clothing designers exploring alternative textiles, the fabric is able to take bright dye colors well, drape smoothly, and be used in a variety of roles from knit shirts to woven skirts.
The environmental impact caused by bamboo usage is minimal when compared to most other fabrics. It is the fastest growing plant in the world, bamboo grows to its maximum height in about 3 to 4 months and reaches maturity in about 4 years. Bamboo quickly spreads across large areas which results in improved soil quality in degraded and eroded areas.
When bamboo is cut it is not uprooted like many trees which, also helps with soil stability and reducing erosion. Bamboo grows on hills and slopes where most other commercial plants are less viable.
An acre of bamboo yields ten times the amount that you would get from cotton. The water requirement for bamboo is minimal as rainfall is sufficient as opposed to cotton, which requires large volumes of water, which can be devastating to the environment. An additional benefit of increased volumes of bamboo being planted is more photosynthesis and less greenhouse gas.