TENCEL™ vs Bamboo. What are the differences?Published on June 15, 2023
Are you trying to decide between TENCEL™ and Bamboo sheets for your bed? We understand why this might be a difficult decision as there are plenty of similarities between these two fabrics. Sourced from natural materials, both TENCEL™ and Bamboo fabrics are known for their eco-friendliness and outstanding breathability.
In this article, we'll deep dive into the differences between these two fabrics, from raw materials and production processes to final physical properties. We'll also discuss how they measure up in terms of temperature neutrality, durability, ease of product care, and cost. We hope that this can help you decide which of the two bed sheet fabrics best serves your needs!
TENCEL™ vs Bamboo:
Raw Material, Production & Physical Properties
TENCEL™ is a brand name for lyocell and modal fibers that are sustainably produced from natural raw wood via processes trademarked by the Austrian company Lenzing. Production of lyocell and modal fibers involves dissolving wood pulp using a recyclable solvent and extrusion through small holes to form fibers, which are then spun into yarn.
TENCEL lyocell is made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus wood in a closed-loop process that recovers and reuses the solvents used, reducing water usage and minimizing waste. This fabric is known to be durable, gentle on the skin, and moisture-wicking. TENCEL™ Modal fibers are made from beechwood in a self-sufficient energy process, and they contribute to the fabric's exquisite softness.
On the other hand, bamboo fabric comes from the bamboo plant, one of the fastest-growing woods in the world, capable of growing up to a yard a day. Bamboo fabric is produced either mechanically or chemically. The mechanical method crushes bamboo into a mush, further breaks it down using natural enzymes, and then spins the bamboo fibers into yarn. Mechanically treated bamboo, also called bamboo linen, is known for its silk-like feel, cooling properties, and antimicrobial characteristics.
Chemical treatment of bamboo involves a multi-step process using caustic soda or lye. While it is quicker, it has a greater environmental impact due to the use of harsh chemicals. Chemically treated bamboo fabric, known as bamboo rayon, is cotton-like and also offers a silky feel, thermoregulation, and hypoallergenic properties.
TENCEL™ and bamboo bed sheets are generally similar in terms of softness and durability - neither have the crisp feel of cotton. The production of both fabrics is more sustainable and environmentally friendly compared to cotton or synthetic materials. How do they measure up in terms of temperature neutrality, durability, ease of product care, and cost? Read on to find out!
Comparison of TENCEL™ and Bamboo:
One of the key factors contributing to the temperature neutrality of TENCEL™ is its moisture management properties. TENCEL™ fibers have a high degree of breathability, allowing efficient absorption and release of moisture. This helps to keep the skin dry and cool, preventing discomfort from sweat and moisture buildup. Similarly, Bamboo fabric, known as bamboo viscose or bamboo rayon, is often praised for its temperature neutrality. The unique hollow structure of bamboo fibers allows for good air circulation, heat escape, and ventilation.
Thread count, commonly associated with cotton fabrics, is not as relevant or impactful when determining the temperature neutrality of TENCEL™ and bamboo fabrics. We believe 300 is a happy medium, balancing both durability and breathability. Weave patterns and fabric construction can also impact temperature neutrality, with a looser weave enhancing breathability and air circulation for a cooler feel. Additionally, cooling treatments or technologies during the fabric finishing process can further enhance temperature neutrality.
Both TENCEL™ and bamboo fabrics are considered more sustainable alternatives compared to conventional fabrics like cotton or polyester. However, there are key differences to consider in terms of sustainability. TENCEL™ is manufactured using a closed-loop process, where the chemicals used in production are recycled and reused, reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact.
On the other hand, the production of bamboo rayon traditionally involves chemical processes that raise sustainability concerns due to the use of harsh chemicals and the potential environmental impact associated with their disposal. Proper management of chemicals like carbon disulfide, which is toxic and hazardous to human health and the environment, is crucial to prevent pollution. TENCEL™ has an advantage in terms of sustainability due to its closed-loop process.
Both TENCEL™ and bamboo sheets are easy to maintain. They should be washed on a delicate cycle in cold water with a mild detergent. Harsh chemicals such as bleach or fabric softeners should be avoided as they could damage the materials. It is recommended to hang dry both materials for the best results.
Affordability varies based on factors such as brand, shipping cost, packaging, retail price, and availability in your market. Bamboo or TENCEL™ fabric blended with cotton or synthetic materials will have lower pricing, as cotton or polyester is cheaper. 100% pure TENCEL™ or bamboo sheets will tend to cost more than mixed blend fabrics. Ultimately, the choice between these two materials for your bedsheets depends on personal preference.
When to Use TENCEL™ and When to Use Bamboo Bed Sheets?
TENCEL™ bed sheets are a great choice for people who sleep hot or sweat at night, as they have excellent moisture-wicking properties. TENCEL™ also offers a smooth and luxurious texture, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin. Bamboo bed sheets are also a good choice for people who sleep hot, as they are naturally breathable and help regulate body temperature. In terms of sustainability in the production process, TENCEL™ is the more environmentally friendly choice compared to bamboo rayon, which involves the use of harsh chemicals and produces chemical waste.
When choosing between TENCEL™ and bamboo sheets, several factors should be considered, including temperature neutrality, durability, ease of care, and cost. With a little research and personal preference, you can find the perfect bedsheets for your home.