Silk? Tencel? Bamboo fibre? Linen-based fibres? What should I choose?
As the summer heat approaches, it is important to choose a breathable and comfortable bedding. In addition to the most common cotton fabrics on the market, there are four very popular fabrics to choose from: silk, tencel, bamboo fibre and hemp fibre.
Silk is a long continuous fibre made by the solidification of the silk liquid secreted by the cooked silkworms during cocooning, also known as natural silk. Animal protein fibre, silk is fine, soft, smooth and cool, a very moisture absorbent and breathable material, its moisture return rate can reach about 12%, 50% higher than cotton, and 3-4 times more moisture permeable than cotton.
Lyser, a wood pulp fibre, has good moisture absorption and breathability, with a moisture return rate of 11.5%, similar to silk, better breathability than silk and better thermal conductivity, so you will feel very cold when you touch TENCEL fabric.
It has natural antibacterial and deodorising properties, is second only to hemp in terms of moisture permeability, and is similar to hemp in terms of breathability, but because it is a short fibre, it is only suitable for use with other blends to make cool mats and other products.
- Linen-based fibres
Moisture absorption and breathability are the best, it can be said that the most suitable for the summer fabric, moisture recovery rate can reach about 13%, while the breathability is more than double the Tencel, but hemp fabrics have not yet completely solved the problem of prickly feeling of the skin, so currently generally and other materials for blending for the production of cool mats and other products.
Silk & Tencel
- The difference between natural and recycled fibres
Silk is superior because it is a natural animal protein fibre, whereas other natural plant fibres may have pesticide residues for pest control, but silk has 0. Tencel is taken from wood pulp fibres, which retains the moisture absorption and breathability of wood, but is obviously less prestigious than silk.
Tencel fabrics are generally made from staple fibres (about 38mm and 51mm), whereas silk fibres are thousands of times longer than tencel staple fibres, and the length of a cocoon can reach 1500m. The silk length is stronger when spinning and weaving, so the silk will last longer than tencel.
- Silk is cooler than Tencel
The thermal conductivity of silk is higher than that of tencel, which means that silk has a higher capacity to absorb heat instantly than tencel, and silk has the highest sense of coolness in contact with all materials inside the fabric, i.e. in summer contact with silk can feel that sense of coolness more than tencel.
Silk is the longest of all natural fibres and has the best softness and lustre for a comfortable fit. Although Tencel also has a soft and snug fit, it is inferior to silk.
Pure Cotton & Tencel
- Moisture absorption and breathability
TENCEL is better than cotton in terms of moisture absorption, as cotton has a moisture regain rate of 8%, while TENCEL has a moisture regain rate of about 12%, while TENCEL is also better than cotton in terms of breathability, as cotton has a breathability of about 200~500, while TENCEL can reach 1500, which is more than 3 times that of cotton.
As the weather starts to warm up, especially into summer, the advantages of thermal conductivity and contact warmth that cotton had in winter no longer exist and are replaced by Tencel fabrics. This is because Tencel has a thermal conductivity of 0.18, which is better than cotton, and a strong contact cooling sensation.
Bamboo fibre & cotton
Bamboo fibre is divided into two types: raw bamboo fibre and bamboo pulp fibre, often referred to as bamboo pulp fibre, which refers to bamboo slices treated and air-dried, refined into bamboo pulp in line with fibre production, then dissolved and spun.
- Moisture absorption and breathability
Bamboo fibre has a porous, multi-slit and hollow structure, with a moisture-return rate of 12% (cotton 8%), so it has good moisture absorption and release, and can physically cool down 3 to 5°C, while the breathability is 3.5 times that of cotton. Therefore, it can quickly absorb sweat and keep cool and comfortable in the hot summer; so that mites do not exist to live and people do not have allergy symptoms in summer.
- Antibacterial properties
Bamboo fibre has natural antibacterial, anti-mite and anti-odour properties. The Japan Textile Inspection Association found that its antibacterial rate could reach 71% within 24 hours, and four kinds of harmful bacteria were killed for more than 40 minutes; SGS found that bacteria could multiply in cotton, but would be killed 75% after 24 hours on bamboo fibre.
- Freshness and comfort
The concentration of negative ions in bamboo fibre is as high as 6,000 ions/m3, which makes the body feel fresh and comfortable. Bamboo is rich in tyrosine, vitamin E and a variety of trace elements such as SE, CE and other anti-cancer and anti-ageing functions, which have a health effect.
Tencel is a regenerated cellulose fibre that combines the high quality features of many fibres, such as the moisture absorption and breathability of cotton, the high strength and durability of polyester, the flamboyant feel of wool and the comfort of silk to the touch. The spinning process has no waste water discharge and is naturally biodegradable, which is very beneficial to the environment.
- Water absorption
While polyester fibres are unable to absorb water completely, Tencel fibres rule and absorb cleanly and are 1.5 times more absorbent than cotton. The main reason for this is the breakthrough controlled nanofiber technology that allows body sweat to be absorbed and discharged in bundles of microscopic tubes, so that there is no more stuffiness.
- Bacteria Control
As Tencel absorbs and releases the body's sweat back into the atmosphere in a timely manner, the dry environment makes for a slow growth of bacteria and good inhibition of mites, mould and odour. Tests have proven that bacteria grow about 2000 times faster on other man-made fibres than on Tencel.
The smooth, full surface of Tencel fibres and their excellent absorbency make Tencel products more suitable for sensitive skin types, and dermatology reports that the use of Tencel products against the skin significantly improves comfort and pleasure.
- Environmental friendliness
Tencel is extracted from wood pulp and is 100% naturally biodegradable. The process of recycling is: wood pulp - Tencel - degradation - fertiliser. The unique environmentally friendly fibre manufacturing process in imported Tencel allows 99.97% of the solution to be recycled and reused, making it more environmentally friendly.
Static electricity is harmful to the human body and can affect one's skin and sleep quality when exposed to it for long periods of time. Static electricity is generated by dryness and the natural moisture content of Tencel alone is 13%, which, together with its excellent moisture conductivity, makes it impossible for static charges to build up and allows for a better user experience.
Tencel has many of the above advantages and is definitely a good choice of fabric in the summer, but the following points need to be noted in the cleaning process, otherwise it will easily lead to pilling, pilling, silk running, shrinkage, wrinkles and other problems.
- When machine washing tencel, it is easy for the fibres to separate from the surface under repeated external friction, creating an effect similar to that of peach skin fleece, which is commonly referred to as pilling.
- Tencel soaking prone to pilling, cleaning Tencel soaking or washing time should not be too long, because Tencel fibres absorb moisture well, long time soaking, in the water between the fibres move more, the friction factor increases, easy to lead to serious original fiber tendency, manifested as Tencel prone to pilling and pilling.
- Tencel is easy to pilling and pilling when shaking dry, due to the rigidity of tencel fibres, tencel is washed and if twisted, machine shaking dry and other methods easily make the yarn original fibrillation, resulting in surface hairiness, the result is fabric pilling and pilling problems, the best way is to dry with water.
- As Tencel absorbs moisture and dyes well, Tencel is prone to shrinkage and fading after exposure to the sun, so it should not be dried at high temperatures or exposed to the sun, otherwise it will easily lead to shrinkage and fading. After washing, the water should be squeezed dry and then hung out to dry in a relatively ventilated and dry place.