Guide to Bamboo Clothing

Bamboo has served many purposes over the centuries, such as structural material for houses, or as paper in ancient books. But, did you know that bamboo can also be used to make clothing? Those tall green stalks can be milled and sewed into comfy t-shirts or durable activewear.

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Bamboo clothing has gained popularity in recent years because of its unique properties and eco-friendly production process. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, and it doesn’t require any chemicals or fertilizers to grow. Here’s why people are stocking their wardrobe with soft, sustainable bamboo clothing.

How is bamboo
clothing made?

When one considers the natural state of bamboo stalks, it seems fascinating how they can become a buttery soft garment. Beijing University is credited with discovering the modern bamboo textile process in the early 2000s. Those working on the project used solvents and chemicals to break down the fibers and dye the fabric white.

Since then, companies have worked to turn bamboo into clothing, refining the process along the way. The bamboo textile market grew exponentially from 2004 to 2010, and the growth continues today.

These are the steps involved in bamboo clothing production:

Harvest and prepare

Harvesting is the first step in the bamboo textile process. The bamboo used for clothing is almost always harvested from East Asian countries. Once gathered, the stalks are cut into smaller pieces of raw bamboo and soaked in a solution. This solution softens the bamboo and breaks down its tough fibers, creating a pulp-like substance. The remaining bamboo pulp is then dried into sheets.

Mill into viscose

The dried parchment-like sheets of bamboo are milled via a closed-loop process. After passing through various phases of GOTS-approved treatments, the bamboo fibers undergo temperature changes and air restriction to soften the bamboo fibers. This common process is a method known as the viscose process, leaving incredibly soft, fluffy bamboo-viscose material.

Spin and sew

The soft viscose is spun into thread and, eventually, yarn. The yarn is knitted into a fabric that can be made into any type of clothing, from bamboo t-shirts, to leggings, to underwear. This is the most popular process for making bamboo clothing. The chemicals used in the solution can vary between manufacturers, as can other steps in the process. Companies that strive to reduce waste might use a closed-loop system that recycles the solution or take advantage of eco-friendly dyes.

 Difference between bamboo fabrics

There are several different types of bamboo fabrics, depending on the process used to make the fabric. Some processes are more sustainable than others. The process used can also impact the fabric’s properties.

Rayon from bamboo

Rayon from bamboo is soaked in the chemicals sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide to strip it down to a fiber. This process can remove some of the qualities of the original bamboo, including its antibacterial properties. Because rayon from bamboo is man-made, the Federal Trade Commission has fined companies that claim to sell bamboo products when the clothing items are actually made of rayon from bamboo.

Creating rayon from bamboo is the quickest way to make bamboo fabric, but it may not always be the most eco-friendly way because of the chemicals used. Rayon from bamboo is still known for being breathable and soft, like other bamboo fabric types.

Bamboo viscose

The most common bamboo fabric is bamboo viscose. Bamboo viscose is made by soaking the bamboo in a solution that softens it and turns it into a feathery soft material. The viscose is then dried and milled to create yarn. The chemicals used in the enzyme solution differ, but in every situation, the chemical residue doesn’t remain on the bamboo.

Bamboo viscose is very similar to rayon from bamboo, but it is derived from cellulose and plant fibers. These fibers are turned into a liquid-like substance. Viscose is effective at absorbing water and color, so it doesn’t take a lot of dye to become colored. It is also hypoallergenic and durable.

Polyester/bamboo blend

Polyester is a synthetic material that can be blended with bamboo to create a strong, breathable fabric. Polyester is synthetic, and it is made from a chemical reaction. Polyester has elastic qualities, while bamboo offers antibacterial properties and UV-protection.

When the perfect blend of each material is used, a polyester/bamboo blend can be a good material for clothing. It is not as thermal-resistant as regular bamboo, though.

Bamboo charcoal

Bamboo charcoal is made by burning bamboo in a kiln at a high temperature. Bamboo charcoal is naturally absorbent, and can be used to trap bad odors or pollutants. It is extremely porous — four times more than wood charcoal.

In order to turn bamboo charcoal into fabric, it is processed into nano particles, which are then embedded into cotton or polyester fibers and spun into yarn. The yarn is knitted into a versatile fabric that can be used for clothing or other textiles. The fabric from bamboo charcoal is hypoallergenic.

Reasons to wear bamboo clothing

Bamboo is a unique fabric with distinct properties.It even inhibits bacterial growth? Bamboo is antibacterial and antifungal, which means that it doesn’t collect and retain odorous, unhealthy bacteria and your clothes will always smell pleasant. That’s one of the many reasons so many people prefer bamboo fabric over others. Here are the other benefits of bamboo clothing.

Soft on the skin

Bamboo fabric is incredibly soft, down to its individual fibers. Because of bamboo’s smooth fibers, bamboo clothing does not irritate the skin or cause skin allergies. Anyone and everyone can enjoy this fabric because it is hypoallergenic. Bamboo clothing is so soft that it has been compared to
luxurious cashmere.

Keeps you dry

Whether it’s a hot, sunny day or a freezing winter night, staying dry is key to staying comfortable. Bamboo clothing has highly effective wicking properties that keep your body dry no matter what. It can absorb up to three times more water than its weight. While wearing bamboo clothing, your skin will be able to breathe rather than stay clammy and wet.

Resiliency

Bamboo clothing lasts and lasts. Why? It keeps its shape, even after lots of laundering. It is also very tough and hard to rip through. The fibers are long and strong. Bamboo clothing is also known for keeping its color for longer than other fabrics. You can get a lot of use out of bamboo clothing.

Women’s bamboo clothing

When you’re running errands or lounging around the house, it’s a pleasure to have clothing that is soft and non-restrictive. Bamboo fabric can be used for many different women’s clothing items. The fabric is durable and breathable.

Bamboo women’s clothing garments include:

• T-shirts
• Leggings
• Shorts
• Underwear
• Socks
• Tank tops

• Long-sleeve shirts
• Dresses
• Sleepwear
• Trousers
• Headbands

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Men’s bamboo clothing

Bamboo clothing keeps its shape and is highly durable. Plus, it is extremely soft, making it a perfect fabric for men’s clothing. There are many types of clothing that can be made out of bamboo fabric.

Bamboo men’s clothing items include:

• Button-front shirts
• Polos
• Long-sleeve shirts
• Jackets
• Shorts and pants

• Underwear
• Socks
• Sleepwear
• T-shirts
• Dress shirts

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Bamboo clothing for workouts

Once people discover the benefits of bamboo fabric for workout clothing, they typically don’t want to wear any other fabric again. Bamboo wicks off water from your body, keeping you dryer throughout your workout. Bamboo is also antibacterial, which means it doesn’t retain bad odors.

Another benefit of bamboo clothing for activewear is that bamboo is extremely soft. It doesn’t irritate the skin and cause itchiness. This is especially important for those with sensitive skin. Because bamboo is hypoallergenic, those with sensitive skin don’t have to worry about their skin getting irritated and red after working up a sweat.

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Bamboo underwear

Bamboo underwear truly feels like second skin. It is soft and flexible, and also extremely breathable. Because of its antibacterial properties, bamboo underwear also doesn’t hold onto bad odors. Everything stays healthy and hygienic.

Bamboo can be used for men’s briefs and women’s underwear in various cuts.

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Why Choose Cariloha Bamboo Clothing

Cariloha makes quality bamboo clothing. All of our pieces are made sustainably using eco-friendly viscose from bamboo. We take special care to create soft, breathable clothing that makes you feel comfortable all day long, no matter the weather.

We offer a full collection of men’s and women’s bamboo clothing. View our collection and find your next favorite wardrobe staple today.

We believe that eco-friendly materials don’t have to be scratchy or wrinkly. Our towels, sheets, clothing, and underwear are the exact opposite, actually. The bamboo fibers are soft on the skin, keeping you cozy all day long. In the winter and summer, our bamboo fabric products will wick away moisture and help keep your body at the perfect temperature. We’ve perfected our product to be everything you could want in a fabric. Choose between several different items with a broad range of colors and styles. Visit Cariloha.com to find the perfect products for you.

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