What is Bamboo?
Bamboo is a plant found in nature for many centuries with a wide range of uses. Bamboo has always been an important part of Asian culture but recently has found its way to the West. This is because of its anti-bacterial properties and high level of utility in production.
Bamboo grows organically in most conditions and does not need any herbicides or chemical fertilizers to thrive. It also offers an environmentally sustainable solution to many modern products that are needed in everyday life. Bamboo is also 100% biodegradable and has a natural resistance for bacteria. Compared with cotton, it is one of the fastest growing plants in nature and requires far less water than cotton to grow to harvestable stage.
What is Bamboo Used for?
Bamboo has found several applications over the years in Asia and more recently in the West. These uses include as fuel for cooking, medicine, construction material for homes and domestic structures, textile production and much more. Bamboo is used to make paper, weapons for fishing and hunting, musical instruments and even as a writing material.
Recently, bamboo has found use as a fabric for making clothing and beddings. Bamboo fabric is used in making bedsheets, bed linen and duvet or pillow covers.
How is Bamboo Fabric manufactured?
The method of production of bamboo to make fabric depends on the type of fabric in questions. It involves dissolving bamboo plants in a viscose liquid that contains some processing chemicals. The liquid is then extruded through micro holes to form the threads. The threads are woven to form the fabric that can be made into sheets or clothing. In general, there are 4 different types of bamboo fabrics used to make bed sheets and linen.
Bamboo Viscose or Rayon
Rayon is renewed cellulose from bamboo stalks. These are combined by a chemical process and transformed into fibers that can be weaved into fabric. Rayon is quite popular because of the following advantages that it offers over other types of cellulose-based fabrics. It has excellent moisture absorbance compared to cotton and other cellulose-based fabrics. Rayon does not charge up with static electricity and it does not insulate body heat and is excellent for use in hot climate and times of the year. It can easily be dyed to a variety of color and patterns with remarkable results.
This is another type of rayon and a newer generation of cellulose-based fabrics. It is really soft and ideal for clothing that touch the skin such as undergarments. It is wear-resistant, takes a lot of wetness and does not retain mineral deposits from water so it retains its softness over time. It is also more water absorbent when compared with cotton. It however needs to be ironed as it is quite prone to wrinkles and stretching.
This is fiber manufactured by a nanotechnology process. It is 100% biodegradable and made from bamboo. It absorbs sweat very well and disperses it to the atmosphere without leaving an odor. It is also soft on the skin and has a natural anti-bacterial property. It also does not retain electric charges and is hypoallergenic on the skin too.
Linen is usually made from flax or hemp but can be made with bamboo fiber. Bamboo linen isn’t as soft as those made from flax and hemp, but it is more environmentally sustainable and longer lasting.
Benefits of Bamboo sheets
Bamboo sheets offer a lot of advantages over other bed sheets:
1. Eco friendly
Bamboo is naturally renewable, grows extremely fast and can be harvested at any stage of its life as long as the roots are intact. They also do not need plenty of water to grow and can fit in small spaces.
Bamboo sheets are popular for a feature called “moisture wicking”. This simply means that they can absorb moisture away from the body, leaving a cool sensation that is useful during the summer time. They are comfortable and can be used in all weathers.
3. Natural anti-bacterial characteristics
Bamboo sheets are naturally bacteria and germ resistant which makes them perfect for individuals suffer from allergies or have sensitive skin. Bamboo sheets are also mite-resistant as there’s nothing to feed on while staying on bamboo sheets.
They are very very soft and comfortable. Bamboo sheets have a smooth and silky texture that you can run your hands over and feel the difference. This also makes them very popular for use as beddings.
Caring for Your Bamboo Sheets
Bamboo beddings are quite unlike other types of sheets so you need to know how to take care of them so that they can serve you better without losing the softness. Here are some easy tips to bear in mind when caring for your bamboo beddings:
1. Cold water washing
Bamboo bed sheets are best washed with cold water so that they don’t shrink. If you buy bamboo beddings that have not been pre-shrunk, you can wash them with hot water but only one time before use.
2. Air drying
Bamboo beddings are best air dried. If you don’t have the capacity or space to air dry your bamboo sheets, then use a gentle cycle and cool drying for them. But as much as you can, air dry them to get the best out of them.
3. Wash separately
Wash your bamboo beddings separately to avoid them absorbing colors from other fabric. This also prevents other rougher materials from ruining the soft fibers that make up the sheets.
4. Avoid washing with chemicals and softeners
These sheets are already really soft and delicate without losing their durability. You don’t need to use any chemicals, bleach or anything with them. They are all too harsh for bamboo beddings and should be avoided.
Bamboo Sheet Threadcount
Bamboo sheets have a threadcount, but it is different from what is obtainable with other fabric. If you want to buy bamboo sheets, they come in two counts of 320tc and 500tc. Some brands have 500tc bamboo sheets that may even be less soft than other brands’ 320tc sheets.
This is why threadcount is not a good indication of bamboo sheet quality. The crucial things to look out for when buying bamboo sheets is the reputation and quality that the manufacturer offers. Also look out for their certifications that show that they are making use of 100% bamboo-derived viscose.
There are also a lot of companies out there that sell bamboo sheets at cheap prices, but they will most likely be other materials such as polyester. Stay with reliable manufacturers and brands of bamboo sheets to make sure that you are getting real value for your money.