Why should I choose bamboo?In one short sentence – it is a truly awesome fabric. It is soft, light and smooth to the touch. It breathes and is very hygroscopic. It has excellent absorption properties and is anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic. The latter comes from the plant’s anti-bacterial properties which are preserved in the fibre as well. The result is a naturally antistatic and odour-free fabric.
The properties of bamboo fibre make it excellent for textiles. It has a strong durability, stability and tenacity. It stands abrasion and possesses the qualities that make it perfect to spin. It is also easy to straighten and dye. The use of cellulose from bamboo pulp in clothing was started in China only in the recent decades and is quickly becoming a world phenomenon.
How soft and silky is bamboo fabric?It feels deliciously soft like very fine wool. The fabric is not made directly from the bamboo plant fibres, but from cellulose obtained from the pulp. The fibres are naturally smooth and round and the fabric feels superb to the touch.
Why does it smell less than other fabrics?
Bamboo has natural anti-bacterial properties that stop bacteria from multiplying. Other textiles do not have that property and the build-up of bacteria causes unpleasant odours to develop. Studies have proven that more than two thirds of bacteria do not survive in bamboo fibre even when incubated under perfect laboratory conditions.
How cool is it?It is very cool and comfortable and is perfect for hot weather. The fibre is filled with micro-gaps and pores contributing to excellent ventilation and moisture absorption properties.
How absorbent is bamboo fibre?Much more than cotton actually – over 50% better - and comparable to hemp.
Is it any good for sports?It is perfect as sportswear because it draws moisture away. Also it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which means it stays comparatively odour-free. It is a natural fibre and will absorb the sweat letting your body breathe.
Isn’t bamboo clothing just a poor-man’s silk?The use of bamboo as a textile is very recent, having been pioneered in China. Bamboo fabric is actually fast becoming the new darling of fashion. It is not easy or cheap to produce, although it does not require the massive initial capital outlay and machinery of most other textiles. The manufacturing process used has been adapted to be eco-friendly in tune with the plant’s characteristics and third millennium requirements. It makes it more expensive, but highly more environmentally responsible.
The use of bamboo as an alternative to wood is a different matter.
How is choosing bamboo fabric better for the environment?The bamboo used for fibre manufacturing grows mature in only a couple of months and does not really need any chemicals or watering so it is very sustainable. It regrows from its roots and if grown in your garden will quickly become a pest. All bamboo products degrade fully.
Will the processing during manufacture affect my allergies?Bamboo fibre is hypoallergenic. It is most likely to affect you less than any other material. In manufacturing it, there is no need to use chemicals to smooth the fibre as it is naturally round, neither there is a need to add antibacterial and uv protection as it possesses excellent properties on both counts. It is one of the most chemical free textiles and it also feels good!
Soft and hypoallergenicBamboo fibre is naturally smooth and round. There is no need for the use of chemicals in the production process to even out sharp spurs that cause skin irritation. It feels nice being worn close to the skin. Many allergy sufferers prefer bamboo to other natural fibres, such as wool, cotton or hemp.
Odourless textileBamboo is seldom infected or attacked by pests and thrives without any pesticides. The antibacterial properties of the plant which are retained in the fabric help reduce bacteria that cause unpleasant odours. This makes it great for use in nappies, underwear and socks.
Chinese scientists have found that bamboo produces a unique bio-agent named "bamboo kun" which kills odour-causing bacteria and fungi.
The Textile Inspection Association of Japan found that bamboo fabric retains excellent anti-bacterial functions after fifty washes. Another experiment proved that over 70% of bacteria incubated on bamboo fibre in laboratory conditions did not survive.
Absorbent fibreBamboo is able to take up three times its weight in water. In the fabric, this translates to an ability to pull moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate. Clothing made of bamboo fibre is thus the preferred choice for items worn next to the skin so it is favoured in nappies and children’s clothes.
A fabric that breathesBamboo fibre in its cross-section is filled with micro-gaps and holes. This contributes to excellent ventilation and moisture absorption which make the fabric very cool and comfortable. In hot conditions it is beneficial for women suffering from hot flushes and for anyone wanting to feel cool and comfortable.
Environmental footprint:Bamboo is the miracle plant of Asia. It grows so rapidly that can be harvested four to five years after planting as opposed to 20 years for pine. The harvesting is also not destructive as it regrows from its roots. The whole plant is used for different purposes: construction material, food, fodder, clothing, crafts and so on.
Compared to cotton, bamboo is far more sustainable. Bamboo requires almost no irrigation and no pesticides while cotton needs plenty of water and a Pandora’s box of chemicals. Bamboo has the same effect on greenhouse gasses as forests – it reduces them. Animals like sheep, llamas etc produce a huge amount.
Bamboo fibre is "the natural, green and eco-friendly new-type textile material of the 21st century". It is fully biodegradable and the process does not cause any pollution in the environment.
The bamboo plant has over 1000 other uses as well, including soil and erosion control, timber alternative, desert reclamation and of course, providing an insanely low-nutrient diet for the Giant Panda.
21 century bambooThe newest thing in textiles, bamboo has fluidity like silk and softness like cashmere. It is naturally antibacterial, it breathes and is environmentally friendly. Bamboo is a renewable resource and production of the fabric is eco-friendly.
It is becoming the new darling of fashion. It is a natural, handmade-look textile with a sleek look. Bamboo fibre clothes are starting to make an appearance in boutiques. Prices are as for ordinary clothes while the look and feel is exquisite and high-class. On top of all this, bamboo fabric is as versatile as cotton providing for a diverse range from bath towels to underwear and shirts to foot mats and even sanitary and medical applications.
Care InstructionsAs long as you don’t use the hot settings on your washer and dryer, care is similar to cotton. Some finished garments may need a gentle cycle which would be noted on the garment care label.
A few general care points that apply to all fabrics, not just bamboo:
Bleaching especially with chlorine causes yellowing in most fabrics and is not recommended. When hand washing make sure you rinse well to prevent oxidisation from soap left on the material. Vegetable dyes should be dried in the shade.