How Bamboo Sheets Are Made

You were probably surprised when you first heard about bamboo as a fabric. How is it possible to turn the hard bamboo eaten by pandas and used in construction into an incredibly soft yet durable fabric? or something our friend has recently installed in their new home as flooring or furniture. Some of us may even have lucky bamboo plants in our offices – anything to increase our chances of winning the lottery, right? We realize it sounds unbelievable, so we’d like to explain how it’s done!

What is Bamboo?

Bamboo fiber is derived from the bamboo species that is most similar to timber (there are more than 1,400 species altogether). The bamboo fiber manufacturing process varies depending on the desired fabric production.

In general, the plant is harvested at an age specified by the manufacturer and transported to a facility where it is crushed and frequently immersed in a liquid mixture, which varies but is frequently sodium hydroxide. The bamboo cellulose is dissolved during this process. The solution is then treated with a chemical, most commonly carbon disulfide, which allows the fibers to regenerate and be drawn off the plant. After the fibers are extracted from the plant, they are bleached and dried before being woven into a fabric or textile.

How is Bamboo fibers made?

There are three types of bamboo fabric available on the market today. The main distinction between these is due to the manufacturing process of the fibers used to weave the fabric.

Bamboo Rayon (Viscose): You may notice that bamboo sheets and other textiles have a silky smooth texture similar to rayon. This is due to the fact that rayon fabrics are created using essentially the same process – the natural material is converted into a fiber via a chemical process.

This is commonly known as the viscose process (the bamboo is dissolved in a viscose solution). The main source of concern with this manufacturing process is the use of toxic chemicals in the fiber manufacturing process, such as carbon disulfide. The Federal Trade Commission recently cracked down on the labeling of bamboo products, such as sheets, as 100% Bamboo. According to the FTC, the process of producing Bamboo rayon depletes the fibers of any natural health benefits, including antimicrobial properties. Bedding and other fabrics made with this process must bear the label “rayon from bamboo.”

Tencel Bamboo (Lyocell): Bamboo products made with lyocell fiber (available under the brand name Tencel) are considered a more eco-friendly alternative to viscose fiber and rayon bamboo fabric.

Lyocell fibers are made in the same way as regenerated cellulose fibers, but with non-toxic solvents to dissolve the bamboo and a closed-loop system (think minimal waste and low emissions). Water consumption is also reduced in this process, which has been used by environmentally conscious brands as a greener and more sustainable bamboo fabric processing option.

Bamboo Lyocell fabrics will be labeled.

Bamboo Linen: Bamboo linen is made in the same way as other linen fabrics such as cotton. And, like the linen pants you have sitting in your cotton, the fabric wrinkles easily. It is also not as soft as viscose or lyocell processed alternatives. While it is a more durable option, it will require more upkeep (unless you enjoy ironing!).

Bamboo Linen fabric will be labeled.

A Bamboo/Cotton blend is also available. It is typically composed of 60 to 70 percent bamboo rayon and 30 to 40 percent cotton, making it stronger than 100 percent bamboo but less soft.

Steps to make Bamboo sheets:

Plant Bamboo

Bamboo is a naturally renewable and sustainable resource. It uses much less water than cotton and does not require pesticides. It is the fastest growing plant on the planet because it belongs to the grass family and grows more densely than cotton or trees.

Cut Bamboo

When the bamboo matures, it can be cut and regrown from the same root system without damaging the soil or necessitating new farmland. Bamboo stalks that have reached maturity are cut and bundled. They will be taken to be cut into small raw bamboo pieces.

Pulp Extraction

To ensure safety and that no harmful chemicals are used at any stage of textile production, the bamboo stalks will be soaked in an OEKO-TEX® certified solution. As the bamboo chunks are dipped into the solution, pulp will form on them. The pulp will be separated and removed.

Pulp drying and milling

The pulp will be hung to dry. The pulp will be dried and formed into paper-like sheets. These sheets will be milled to create a soft fiber.

Fiber to Yarn Conversion

Bamboo threads are made from the fiber. These threads are then combined to make the thick bamboo yarn.

Final Product

Bamboo cloth is made from the yarn, which is thick, strong, and incredibly soft. The bamboo fabric is sewn into our lovely Simply Organic Bamboo bedding.

Is Bamboo Hypoallergenic?

Bamboo has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), when bamboo is processed into rayon, no trace of the original plant remains. The best way to learn about the benefits of the product you want to buy is to look into the company’s manufacturing process. “If a company claims its product is made with bamboo, it should have reliable scientific evidence to show it’s made with bamboo fiber,” the FTC states.

Do Bamboo Sheets Cause Sweating?

Natural bamboo has numerous properties that make it appealing for bedding. Bamboo has antibacterial, moisture-wicking, and thermoregulating properties. All of these characteristics contribute to keeping you cool (or warm) at night, depending on your body temperature. While it is debatable whether these properties are transferred from the bamboo plant to the fabric during the manufacturing process, many customers believe that their bamboo sheets keep them from sweating overnight. Because bamboo fibers differ from cotton fibers, bamboo sheets require a different treatment plan. Bamboo sheets frequently come with personalized care instructions to ensure the best possible care for their specific fabrics.

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