What is Bamboo Viscose? A Deep Dive into the Fabric.


What is Bamboo Viscose: Bamboo plants and Bamboo Viscose Comparison

Ever asked yourself, what is bamboo viscose? There are so many different types of bamboo clothing articles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all eco-friendly or sustainable.

While bamboo viscose stands as a cornerstone of the sustainable textile movement, it’s not just a buzzword or a mere checkbox for us.

Delving into the world of eco-friendly fabrics, we’ve come to appreciate the intricate balance of innovation, sustainability, and ethical considerations that bamboo viscose brings to the table.

This article isn’t just about listing facts; it’s about sharing our journey through the verdant bamboo forests, the factories, and the fashion runways to truly understand what bamboo viscose is and why it matters.

Yet, as with all innovations, there are challenges and nuances that often remain hidden beneath the surface.

Join us as we unravel the story of this semi-synthetic fiber, its origins, impact, and potential to reshape the future for sustainable branding in fashion.

The Basics of ‘What is Bamboo Viscose

TLDR: Bamboo viscose, a semi-synthetic fiber derived from bamboo cellulose, differs from other bamboo fabrics due to its specific chemical processing, offering a soft and luxurious feel while raising questions about its eco-friendly claims.

While bamboo has been a staple in various cultures for millennia, its foray into the textile industry as bamboo viscose is relatively recent. Let’s understand its roots and the nuances that set it apart.

Definition and Origin:

Bamboo viscose, often simply referred to as viscose, is a semi-synthetic fiber made from the cellulose of the bamboo plant.

This cellulose is extracted from the bamboo pulp, which is then transformed into a soft and luxurious fabric through a series of chemical processes. Originating from the fast-growing bamboo plant, bamboo viscose combines the natural benefits of bamboo with the versatility of regenerated cellulose fibers.

Bamboo Viscose vs. Bamboo Fabric and Bamboo Rayon:

At first glance, terms like bamboo fabric, bamboo rayon, and bamboo viscose might seem interchangeable. However, there are subtle differences:

  • Bamboo Fabric: This is a general term that refers to any fabric made from bamboo fibers. It can include both natural and chemically processed versions.
  • Bamboo Rayon: Essentially the same as bamboo viscose, this term emphasizes the regenerated cellulose fiber obtained from the bamboo plant. The naming difference often stems from regional preferences or marketing choices.
  • Bamboo Viscose: This refers to the viscose process of transforming bamboo pulp into fabric. It’s the journey of turning the bamboo plant into a soft, wearable material.

The Viscose Process Explained:

The heart of bamboo viscose lies in the ‘viscose process’. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  1. Extraction: Bamboo is harvested and crushed to extract cellulose, resulting in bamboo pulp.
  2. Chemical Treatment: The bamboo pulp undergoes treatment with chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. This transforms the pulp into a thick, viscous liquid.
  3. Spinning: This viscous liquid is then pushed through tiny holes, forming bamboo fibers.
  4. Washing and Cutting: The fibers are washed to remove any remaining chemicals and then cut to the desired length for textile production.

While the viscose process has revolutionized the textile industry, it’s essential to understand the chemical processes involved, especially when considering the eco-friendly claims associated with bamboo viscose.

Is Bamboo Viscose Truly Sustainable?

While bamboo is an eco-friendly resource, the transformation into bamboo viscose fabric involves complex processes, some of which raise concerns about environmental and worker health due to the chemicals used, underscoring the importance of informed and ethical consumer choices.

Bamboo, as a plant, has long been celebrated for its remarkable attributes. Its rapid growth rate, often shooting up to several feet in a single day, makes it one of the most renewable resources on our planet. Moreover, the fact that bamboo requires minimal water, especially when compared to other plants like cotton, further cements its position as an eco-champion.

But when we transition from bamboo the plant to bamboo viscose the fabric, the narrative becomes a tad more complex. Bamboo viscose boasts several eco-friendly attributes.

For starters, products made from bamboo viscose, such as bamboo sheets and bamboo clothing, often carry a soft, luxurious feel while also being biodegradable. This means that, at the end of their lifecycle, they return to the earth, leaving minimal traces behind.

Yet, the journey from bamboo plant to bamboo viscose isn’t without its concerns. One of the most pressing issues revolves around the chemicals used in the viscose process. Terms like “bamboo viscose toxic” have floated around, pointing to the use of harmful chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide in its production.

While these chemicals are essential to transform bamboo pulp into soft, wearable fabric, their impact on the environment and workers’ health has been a topic of debate.

Bamboo Viscose’s Rise in Popularity”

Bamboo viscose, a sustainable alternative in the textile industry, offers a luxurious feel comparable to silk and cotton, with bamboo bedding and clothing providing superior moisture-wicking properties, comfort for sensitive skin, and natural antimicrobial benefits.

In recent years, the textile industry has witnessed a significant shift towards sustainable materials. Among these, bamboo viscose has emerged as a frontrunner, challenging traditional fabrics like cotton and artificial silk.

Comparison with Other Fabrics:

Bamboo viscose, with its luxurious feel, stands toe-to-toe with the elegance of silk. Yet, unlike silk, it’s derived from bamboo plants, making it a more sustainable fabric.

When compared to cotton fabrics, bamboo viscose offers a softer touch and a more eco-friendly manufacturing process.

Bamboo lyocell, another derivative of bamboo, is similar in many respects but differs in its manufacturing process and feel.

The confusion surrounding bamboo viscose, viscose rayon, and bamboo lyocell often stems from their intertwined origins and similar benefits. However, each has its unique place in the textile industry.

The Benefits of Bamboo Bedding:

There’s a reason bamboo sheets and bamboo bedding have surged in popularity.

Not only do they offer a super soft touch but they also possess excellent moisture-wicking properties. This ensures that those cozy bed sheets remain cool and dry, even on warmer nights.

Moreover, bamboo bedding is naturally antimicrobial, warding off dust mites and other pests, ensuring a clean sleeping environment.

Advantages of Bamboo Viscose Clothing:

Bamboo viscose clothing is not just a fashion statement; it’s a testament to innovation meeting sustainability. The moisture-wicking properties of bamboo viscose clothing ensure that wearers remain dry and comfortable throughout the day. Its super soft texture makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin, reducing the chances of irritations. Furthermore, bamboo viscose clothing is naturally antimicrobial, keeping odors at bay and ensuring you feel fresh, no matter the activity.

How is Bamboo Viscose Made?

The bamboo viscose production process involves harvesting bamboo, extracting its cellulose to form a pulp, which is then chemically treated, primarily with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide, to produce regenerated cellulose fibers that combine bamboo’s natural benefits with the softness of viscose, though environmental concerns arise from the chemical usage.

From Bamboo Plant to Bamboo Pulp:

The initial step in creating bamboo viscose is harvesting the bamboo crops. Once harvested, the bamboo is processed to extract the bamboo cellulose from its core. This extraction results in a substance known as bamboo pulp. It’s this pulp that serves as the foundational material for bamboo viscose and other bamboo fabrics.

Chemical Processes Involved:

While the idea of bamboo clothing might evoke images of natural processes, the transformation from bamboo pulp to viscose fabric involves a series of chemical treatments. Two primary chemicals play a pivotal role in this process: sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.

The bamboo pulp is treated with sodium hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda, turning it into a viscous solution. Following this, carbon disulfide is introduced, converting the solution into a substance that can be spun into fibers, known as viscose bamboo.

It’s essential to note that while these chemicals are crucial for the production of bamboo viscose, their use and disposal have raised environmental concerns. The textile industryis continually seeking more sustainable methods to reduce the carbon footprint associated with these processes.

The Regenerated Cellulose Fiber Obtained:

Once the chemical processes are complete, the viscose bamboo solution is pushed through spinnerets, resulting in fine threads or fibers. These fibers, when solidified, form the regenerated cellulose fiber, which is the primary component of bamboo viscose clothing. This regenerated cellulose fiber combines the natural benefits of bamboo with the versatility and softness of viscose fabrics, offering a unique blend of comfort and sustainability.

Difference Between Bamboo Viscose and Other Materials:

While bamboo viscose is gaining popularity, it’s essential to differentiate it from other materials like bamboo linen, linenorganic cotton, and bamboo rayon. Each has its own set of properties, manufacturing processes, and applications. Bamboo viscose, with its moisture-wicking abilities and soft texture, stands out as a preferred choice for items like bamboo bed sheets and clothing.

Bamboo Viscose vs. Bamboo Rayon and Viscose Rayon:

While bamboo viscose and bamboo rayon often seem synonymous, there’s more to the story. Both are derived from the cellulose of the bamboo plant, but their naming often stems from regional preferences or marketing nuances. Essentially, bamboo rayon emphasizes the regenerated cellulose fiber obtained from bamboo, while bamboo viscose specifically refers to the viscose process used in its creation.

Viscose rayon, on the other hand, broadens the spectrum. It’s not limited to bamboo and can be made from wood pulp or wood cellulose from various sources. This fabric, while sharing similarities with bamboo viscose, might not always boast the same sustainable and eco-friendly attributes, especially if derived from less sustainable wood sources.

Bamboo Viscose and Bamboo Lyocell: Similarities and Differences:

Bamboo viscose and bamboo lyocell both originate from the bamboo plant, but their journey to becoming a fabric differs.

While bamboo viscose undergoes a chemical process involving sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide, bamboo lyocell is produced using a closed-loop process that recycles water and uses non-toxic solvents. This makes bamboo lyocell often touted as a more eco-friendly alternative.

Both fabrics offer excellent moisture-wicking properties, ensuring cool air on the skin, and are naturally antimicrobial. However, bamboo lyocell is often praised for its thermal regulating properties and even softer texture.

Bamboo Viscose vs. Cotton Fabrics:

Cotton, a natural material, has long been a staple in the textile industry. But how does bamboo viscose compare?

Firstly, bamboo viscose is often lauded for its luxurious feel, sometimes even likened to silk. It’s super soft, moisture-wicking, and offers antibacterial properties, making it an excellent fabric choice for sensitive skin.

Cotton, while breathable, doesn’t naturally wick moisture in the same way bamboo viscose does. Additionally, while both can be grown sustainably, bamboo plants often require less water and are resistant to natural pests, reducing the need for harmful chemicals.

However, it’s essential to note that not all bamboo viscose is created equal. The sustainability factor hinges on the manufacturing process. Bamboo viscose sustainable practices involve minimizing chemical use and ensuring responsible farming, which can make it a more eco-friendly choice than traditional cotton farming.

As we chemically alter and transform natural materials into wearable textiles, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of each fabric. Bamboo viscose, with its range of benefits, certainly stands out. Although, it’s essential to be informed and make choices that align with both our comfort and our commitment to the planet.

Pros and Cons of Bamboo Viscose


Bamboo viscose has rapidly gained popularity in the textile industry, and for good reasons:

  1. Sustainability: At the heart of bamboo viscose’s appeal is its sustainable nature. Bamboo, as a plant, grows quickly, requires minimal water, and can thrive without pesticides. This makes bamboo fabrics, including bamboo viscose, a more eco-friendly choice compared to traditional cotton fabrics.
  2. Moisture-Wicking: One of the standout features of bamboo viscose clothing is its excellent moisture-wicking properties. Whether it’s bamboo bed sheets or bamboo clothing, the fabric ensures you remain dry and comfortable by effectively wicking moisture away.
  3. Luxurious Feel: Often compared to silk in its softness, bamboo viscose offers a luxurious feel against the skin. This is why bamboo sheets and bamboo bedding are often touted as premium products in the market.


However, like all materials, bamboo viscose isn’t without its challenges:

  1. Chemical Processes: The viscose process, which transforms bamboo pulp into usable fabric, often involves chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. While there are eco-friendly methods available, not all manufacturers adhere to them, leading to concerns about the environmental impact.
  2. Confusion Surrounding Bamboo Viscose: With terms like bamboo rayon, viscose bamboo, and bamboo lyocell floating around, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding bamboo viscose. This often makes it challenging for consumers to make informed decisions.
  3. Eco-Friendly Claims: While bamboo as a plant is sustainable, the manufacturing process of bamboo viscose can sometimes negate these benefits. It’s essential to differentiate between the sustainability of bamboo plants and the entire process of creating bamboo viscose fabric.

Bamboo viscose stands as a testament to innovation in the world of sustainable fabrics. Its luxurious feel, combined with its eco-friendly attributes, makes it a sought-after choice for many. However, as conscious consumers, it’s crucial to be aware of the entire picture, understanding both its strengths and areas of concern. By doing so, we can make informed choices, pushing the textile industry towards more transparent and sustainable practices. Join us in this mission, advocating for a future where every fabric not only feels good but does good.


Bamboo viscose, a fusion of nature’s brilliance and human innovation, offers a sustainable and luxurious alternative in the textile realm. While its benefits, from moisture-wicking properties to a soft touch, are undeniable, it’s essential to approach its eco-friendly claims with informed discernment. As we embrace the comforts of bamboo viscose, let’s also champion transparency, ethical manufacturing, and a genuine commitment to our planet’s well-being.