Home Tech What exactly is Lyocell fabric and is it really eco-friendly?

What exactly is Lyocell fabric and is it really eco-friendly?

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What exactly is Lyocell fabric and is it really eco-friendly?

I sleep on a lot of bedding. It comes with the territory when you try sheets and duvets for a living. I’ve slept on everything from bamboo and silk to plain weave cotton, but there’s one term I’ve seen quite often in bedding materials that I didn’t know much about: lyocell. So I had to know. What sets it apart from other bedding materials? Is it more comfortable to sleep on it? Are the descriptions of refrigeration and eco-consciousness I often see accurate? What is Tencel and how is it different from lyocell?

Lyocell is a cellulose-based synthetic fiber similar to fabrics such as rayon with purported eco-friendly benefits in the way it is manufactured. Is it the magic solution to organic sheets? No. But it is a step in the right direction and there are many opportunities for lyocell to become an even more environmentally conscious option.

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Close the cycle

Lyocell has a cellulose structure, similar to both rayon and cotton, so it is not a synthetic fabric. But while we harvest cotton from a plant, lyocell and rayon are man-made fibers that take wood pulp and transform it into fiber and, eventually, fabric. “The process is called wet spinning,” says Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. “You take wood pulp and form a slurry, which then becomes a filament and then a fiber.”

The process for the two is different enough that the Federal Trade Commission labels rayon and lyocell as separate fibers. One of the biggest differences is production. Different, more aggressive chemicals are used to make rayon that cannot be reused, while lyocell is known for its closed-loop production processes that reuse almost all of the solvent to produce more lyocell.

Leonas says lyocell is a better option than rayon because of the different chemical options in its manufacturing. That is, she says that rayon production uses carbon disulfide, which is toxic to both the environment and the people who work in the wet spinning process. Lyocell production no. “There are chemically sound technical reasons that make it more environmentally friendly and less toxic to workers,” she says.

Words Tencel and lyocell They are often used together or sometimes interchangeably. Where lyocell is the fabric, Tencel is the brand. It is property of Lenzing Group, which manufactures a specific trademarked Tencel Lyocell fabric. “It’s like cornflakes versus Kellogg’s,” Leonas says. You can find lyocell in all types of bedding, from sheets to our favorite mattress.

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