Lyocell - Everything about the environmentally friendly material of the future

Wood fiber clothing? Sounds strange - but it's soft, health-friendly and sustainable. Discover everything about the miracle material Lyocell here

Lyocell fabric closed
Quelle & Copyright by Closed, shirt dress made of lyocell

Author: House of Eden

  • Lyocell is made from wood fibers and thus consists of renewable raw materials
  • Manufacturing is more environmentally friendly than that of Cotton, because only a few chemicals are used
  • Not all have yet Textile manufacturer discovered the material for itself, but it keeps growing

The British department store chain Selfridges called lyocell a real “wonder fabric”, and it may be right. First commercially produced around 30 years ago in Mobile, Alabama, the material, which is also known under the brand name Tencel, is currently very popular.

This applies to both textile manufacturers and consumers alike. Soft as butter, very supple and hypoallergenic - that's how it is natural material, which is made from wood fibers and is therefore also considered particularly sustainable.

What is Lyocell fabric made of?

Usually eucalyptus is used for production. But oak and birch can also serve as a basis. The Wood is cut into small pieces and ground into a pulp, which the chemical amine oxide then dissolves. What is left in the end is raw cellulose. It is pressed through spinnerets, creating white lyocell fibers. After washing and drying, these are spun into yarn and then woven into fabric.

How does it feel?

The fabric is very soft, hypoallergenic, extremely skin-friendly thanks to its smooth structure and more than 50 percent more absorbent than cotton. That makes it an ideal material for Sportswear like workout shirts, leggings and socks. For this reason, the material can currently be found particularly often in the sports department.

Gradually, the international manufacturers are increasingly discovering the potential of lyocell for shirts, jumpsuits and loungewear. It is to be expected that many items of clothing outside the athleisure category will soon be made of lyocell.

lyocell

Source & Copyright by Artic flamingo

Is there a difference between Lyocell and Tencel?

Even if the terms are often used interchangeably, Tencel does not automatically mean Lyocell. The brand name Tencel from the Austrian company Lenzing Fibers stands for both Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell. The most striking difference is that Tencel Modal is obtained from beech wood, which makes the production of Modal more regional than that of Lyocell - after all, eucalyptus does not grow in Europe. Otherwise the fabrics are very similar.

Related topics: Beautiful textiles for sustainable furniture

3 reasons why Lyocell is sustainable

1. Renewable raw material

There are several reasons for that. Eucalyptus trees grow quickly, do not require irrigation or pesticides. They can be grown on areas that are no longer suitable for food. As a result, there is no competition with food in terms of the space it takes to grow.

2. No toxic chemicals

In addition, the production does not require any toxic chemicals. It is completely different with cotton: its cultivation requires the use of many plant toxins. In contrast, almost 100% of the amine oxide used in Lyocell can be used repeatedly. The production process was therefore awarded the “European Award for the Environment” from the European Union.

3. Low water consumption

In addition, production uses less than half as much water as cotton. The better choice is of course Organic cotton. Another long-term advantage: The material is very breathable, which is why it does not absorb odors so quickly. The result: less washing and thus even more water savings.

Lyocell advantages and disadvantages at a glance

In many countries, lyocell production includes fossil fuels. Of course, this negates the material's good carbon footprint. In order to be able to really call the material a sustainable material, the origin of the raw materials must be clearly traceable. And often this is not the case - especially in fast fashion, it can be assumed that environmental compatibility was not a priority in production.

Advantages

  • Very good ecological balance thanks to resource-saving production
  • Material based on renewable raw materials such as eucalyptus
  • Environmentally friendly through minimal use of chemicals that are also recycled
  • Suitable for allergy sufferers as it is breathable and skin-friendly
  • Naturally biodegradable

Disadvantages

  • Currently mainly available in the form of athleisure & occasionally sustainable brands
  • Compared to tree full more expensive
  • Lyocell produced with fossil fuels is not environmentally friendly (pay attention to its origin!)

Is Lyocell Better Than Viscose?

The manufacturing process of viscose is very similar: wood is also the basis for viscose. However, so many additives are used in further processing that viscose is regarded as a chemical fiber. With regard to the sustainability factor, Lyocell is clearly ahead.

Instructions for use

What is the best way to care for Lyocell? Lyocell is a fine fabric. Therefore ideal: Wash inside out at 30 degrees and then let dry completely.

If a lyocell garment needs to be ironed (which is unlikely because the fabric is quite wrinkle-free), it should be turned inside out and ironed at the lowest temperature. An ironing cloth between the iron and fabric is also very helpful. This protects the lyocell and looks like new for many years.

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