Bamboo Fabric - What's All the Buzz about Bamboo Fabric?

There seems to be a lot of excitement about bamboo right now. Bamboo is popping up in all kinds of products. Bamboo flooring is in vogue and I even saw bamboo disposable plates! In my line of work though, its the bamboo sheets, bamboo towels and loungewear that I deal with daily. At my shop, The Linen Closet, we get asked about bamboo a lot. People want to know what makes bamboo fabric so special. Is bamboo really eco friendly and do they really make these baby soft pajamas out of trees?


First of all, bamboo is classified as a grass. A grass that can grow to 100 feet tall mind you. The first thing you notice is how extremely soft bamboo fabric is. To get it this way, they grind up the bamboo stalks into pulp. The pulp is blended, stretched and compressed into bales of airy bamboo fluff. The puffy stuff is then spun and woven into fine bamboo fiber. The bamboo fabric is then bleached without the use of chlorine, and can then be dyed. The fabrics produced range from soft supple jersey, like those used in lounge wear and smooth sheeting or silky terry like those used for robes and toweling.

Bamboo is environmentally friendly. It is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet and can be harvested with virtually no impact to the environment. Bamboo can be selectively harvested annually and will grow without having to be replanted. It can be grown with very little water. It can survive droughts and even flooding. It has natural antibacterial components, so no pesticides are needed in its growth. Bamboo is also a sustainable crop and is completely biodegradable. In fact, because of its rapid growth and root structure, bamboo can reclaim land seemingly destroyed by overgrazing and even clean the soil of toxins in a very short time. Another notable bonus, bamboo emits 35% more oxygen than the equivalent stand of trees.

Walk in a Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Fiber
Bamboo Fiber
Bamboo Clothing
Bamboo Clothing

Bamboo fabric is more absorbent than cotton. I’ve seen it advertised as much as four times more absorbent! The cross-section of bamboo fiber reveals various micro-holes, allowing bamboo fabrics to have superior moisture absorption. These holes allow it to absorb and evaporate human sweat rapidly when used in nightwear. Anyone suffering from night sweats can see the big advantage here. It’s absorbency makes it perfect for towels too!

Bamboo is antibacterial because it contains a naturally occurring anti-microbial agent called kun. The kun prevents bacteria from cultivating on it. This means bamboo fabrics can actually kill odors. Nice for sleep wear and exercise wear. Thanks to bamboo’s antibacterial properties, towels will also stay fresher between washings.

Other advantages of bamboo fabric include its breathability, its washability and durability. But, as good as all that sounds and I know from experience, bamboo’s best feature is its incredible softness. I guess we could call that its “butterbility.”

Note: Some of the claims made by bamboo manufacturers are coming under scrutiny.  Please refer below to a comment by Steve.  The Butterbility is still, at this time, undisputed.

YouTube: Bamboo Hot New Eco-Chic Fashion Trend

Comments 13 comments

JoAn McBride 8 years ago

This is news and so interesting. I love your comments and information. The fabrics do feel awesome.....I squeezed some....what an unusual fabric. It is a useful hub and pretty picture. Thank you so sending it out!

leafa mcbirdie 8 years ago

wow! I've felt some of the bamboo items in your store so I know how wonderfully soft and silky they are but I had no idea about its antibacterial properties -very interesting. I was also fascinated to learn just how eco-friendly bamboo is, from it's rapid growth w/o need for pesticides right down to how it can reclaim and clean the soil -it sounds like the perfect plant. after reading your article and watching that video clip I'd love to run out and buy some fluffy bamboo towels and that designer's entire line of clothing (LOVED that little black dress!). eco friendly clothing sure has come a long way from the early days of the rough and scratchy blah colored organic cotton! thanks for the enlightenment! <3 :)

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

JoAn- Kinda scary posting my first hub, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

leafa- Ya, who needs rough and scratchy when there is bamboo around!

Danielle Kistler  8 years ago

Very informative Patti! I love bamboo fabric, as you know, since I bought the last of the coral color and pretty green towels for my shop. They are super absorbent and just feel so natural on the skin.....great for spa treatments! Keep hubbing!

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Thanks for turning me on to it Danielle, I think I'm hooked.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

Thnaks for the info on bamboo.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

You are most welcome.

Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 8 years ago from British Columbia

My daughter has a great website with natural parenting information and supplies, and she uses bamboo in her exclusive training pants, as well as other items which she designs and makes. She loves the bamboo jersey as for its softness, absorbency and antibacterial properties.

If you're looking for great information and supplies, check her site out at:

PS: I've forwarded her your site info.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Wishing great success to your daughter!

MoniqueAttinger profile image

MoniqueAttinger 7 years ago from Georgetown, ON

I think bamboo is a fabulous fabric - I featured an online retailer that carries all bamboo fabric clothing in a recent hub. I suspect that more and more clothing manufacturers will go this way. Nice to hear other voices who are talking up the virtues of this fabric! ;-)

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 7 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

I do love bamboo. I wear it whenever I can, feels like butter!

Steve 5 years ago

Just wondering. Is bamboo really more absorbent than cotton or hemp? I hear the claims but I've seen no evidence. In a comparison of the same gsm material, would bamboo be more absorbent? I'm looking for proof.

Also, please be careful on the anti-bacterial and ecological claims. Any trace of kun is eliminated after the very harsh chemical treatments required to turn the bamboo plant into cloth. As a matter of fact the FTC has fined vendors for claiming anti-bacterial properties and has mandated that bamboo must now be called "Rayon from Bamboo". The ecological advantage of the bamboo crop is wiped out by the very harsh chemicals used in processing the fabric.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 5 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Yes Steve I noticed the change in the labeling over the last year, I wondered why.

As far as proof, of course I found it stated in manufacturer provided material and articles on the web, but that does not make it so. I remember in elementary school getting out our science books and blacking out "facts" that were no longer "facts" but instead last years fiction. And so is the way of things in our ever expanding and ever evolving universe.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment I will make a note of it in my article.

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