Bamboo fabric is becoming more and more popular in the textile industry, firstly because it is a renewable resource but also because it is environment-friendly and it has many more qualities than cotton in terms of quality, longevity, water absorption thanks to the porous fibers and softness.
What is bamboo?
Bamboo belongs to the grass family Poaceae and grows in east and south-east Asia, Australia, India, Himalaya, some regions of Africa, Atlantic region of the USA, Chile and Argentina. In Asia, bamboo has an historical economic use as food product and raw material, especially to build houses as it is the strongest construction material; it is also used to make furnitures. Bamboos are an interesting plant because they are the fastest growing plants/trees in the world, sometimes growing 60 cm per day. New bamboo canes emerge in the Spring and grow during 60 days during which time leaves are produced. After 60 days, the bamboo stops growing but can live as long as 10 years. It reaches maturation between 3 to 5 years old at which point it can be harvested. It can reach 3 meter high. Every year, new bamboos emerge even without replanting. Bamboos help improve the soil quality.
In the past few years, bamboos have gained considerable notice especially as a decoration plant because they fit in each and every home, garden, office, restaurant, adding a touch of zenness to any environment. Also, bamboos help fighting global warming as they release 35% more oxygen than any other plants/trees. They grow in extreme weather conditions, may it be in mountains or sub-tropical climates and can sustain very harsh incidents. As a matter of fact, bamboos were the first trees to grow right after the Hiroshima catastrophe.
Bamboos are really the way to go green and replace trees because of their short growth cycle and the so many uses we can make out of it.
Bamboo fibers and bamboo clothing
Bamboo fibers come directly from bamboo culms. Clothes made from bamboo fabric can absorb body moisture much more easily than any other fabric; they are elastic, soft, sort of ventilated to let the body breathe and the material being very flexible can be shaped very easily as well. Because of its absorption capability, bamboo can be dyed without any problem. At last, bamboo has natural anti-bacterial properties and contains a substance that helps stop unpleasant odors. Bamboo clothing includes bamboo underwear, bamboo t-shirts, bamboo shirts, bamboo towels, bamboo bed linen and much more.
Bamboo fibers can be produced mechanically or chemically however. Chemically-produced bamboo fibers are obviously the most common method for cost-related reasons and go through the same treatments as other fibers. It is nowadays used as a big marketing tool to attract customers even if the bamboo clothes are not necessarily eco-friendly. To make sure that your are buying bamboo clothes or bamboo-related garments that are safe for your health, look for organic bamboo clothes that have been certified by reliable and independent organic associations such as Oeko-Tex, Soil Association, SKAL or KRAV that limit the use of certain chemicals.
Always check for organic symbols on the labels, regardless which organic products you want to buy.
The main organic symbols include: