FABRIC TALK: TENCEL / LYOCELL
Tencel is one of our favourite fabrics to wear in Summer. Why? This sustainable fabric allows your skin to ‘breathe’ and doesn’t absorb odors. Tencel fabrics have a luxurious look and feel and are amazingly comfortable to wear.
Lyocell or the branded name, Tencel, is a more environmentally friendly substitute for viscose. It consists of cellulosic fibers made from wood pulp, mostly eucalyptus.
Lyocell is most often produced in the USA, England and Austria.
The wood pulp is dissolved in a solution of amine oxide that is then spun into fibers and the solvent extracted as the fibers pass through a washing process. The manufacturing process recovers 99.5% of the solvent, which is purified and then recycled back into the process. The solvent itself is non-toxic.
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Lyocell is a sustainable material, because it is biodegradable, made of renewable material and attention is paid to sourcing wood pulp from sustainably managed forests. Other environmental benefits are that there is no bleaching needed before processing as the fiber is very ‘clean’ by itself. There is reduced energy, water and chemical consumption in deying and you can launder clothing made of tencel effectively at a low temperature. For the production of tencel you need less water than for the production of viscose or cotton. A disadvantage is that the overall process of Lyocell is very energy intensive (apart from the dyeing process).