Should I avoid Bamboo fabric?
This is a question I was recently asked. And the answer usually is: Yes!
So what is wrong with Bamboo Fabric?
Bamboo fabric is often touted as an Eco natural fibre. Bamboo is fast growing, regenerates itself so you don’t need to replant, easy to harvest and the type of bamboo used is not the ones pandas eat. Sounds great right!
If you really think about it. How can you get a rigid wood like substance to change into a lush flexible, soft luscious fibre? Well basically have to add chemicals.
The majority of bamboo fabrics on the market are actually semi-synthetic and technically the same as a Rayon Viscose, which is not a natural fibre. Rayon Viscose is made from a soup of Cellulose (Wood Plant or Bamboo) with chemicals to make the fibres break down into a pulp. They are then extruded into fine filaments, to make a long fibre, a little bit like polyester.
The Global Organic Textiles Standard will certify a small amount of Bamboo Viscose in their mixed fibres certification, but it still has to come from an organic plantation.
Far less common is Bamboo Linen, which is made similarly to Flax Linen, by soaking the bamboo wood and mechanically crushing it get the natural fibres out of the wood.
Unfortunately there is not much in the way of Bamboo Linen on the market.
So unless you know exactly you are buying, Bamboo in fabric, clothing textiles is best avoided. Choose proper natural fabrics instead, like, Flax Linen, Hemp, cottons and wools. And wherever possible, choose Organic!