How Are Bamboo Sheets Made?
The answer to how bamboo sheets are made is evident in the name of the miraculous bamboo plant. What is not apparent are the differences in the manufacturing processes as many diverse chemicals assist in the production of bamboo fabrics. So, how are bamboo sheets made?
Not to confuse you from the very beginning, we’ll explain the whole process step by step, starting with planting bamboo, then harvesting it, extracting the cellulose, and processing the natural bamboo fibres to create perfect sheet fabrics.
Bamboo Fabric Manufacturing
Bamboo sheets are made in several steps that we explain below.
First Things First: Planting the Bamboo Plant
Before metamorphosing into incredibly soft sheets, bamboo needs to grow first. The ideal time to plant bamboo crops is generally between March and June, but certain studies show that bamboo growth is accentuated when planted during the summer or early autumn.
Fun Facts About Bamboo Growth
Guinness World Records reports that the first place for the fastest growing plant on Earth goes to a bamboo species that can grow as long as ninety centimeters per day.
Well, although some gigantic bamboo species resemble trees, this is primarily because bamboo is, in fact, grass.
Time to Harvest
When it’s time to harvest bamboo, growers cut the stalks slightly above the root in order to preserve their roots. This way, the plant can regenerate completely new bamboo stalks. The swift regeneration is possible since—as we mentioned—the plant is not a tree but grass, so its shoots start sprouting straight after their harvest.
Chopping the Bamboo Up
After the harvest, manufacturers cut the bamboo plants into small strips at a 45° angle to prevent splitting. The next step is letting the bamboo dry to allow manufacturers to remove the outer bark of its skin.
Processing the Bamboo Fiber
The above steps are similar everywhere, but this is where the differences begin. In a nutshell, the fabrication process can vary depending on the fabric that manufacturers want to produce. Since our very own bamboo sheets are made of 100% organic bamboo viscose, we will break this process down.
Bamboo Viscose Process
When manufacturers are left with a bare inner core comprising a significant amount of raw bamboo pulp, they smash these stalks. Then, they heat the manually or mechanically crushed raw material using steam and various chemicals, typically sodium hydroxide, which creates a solution known as bamboo pulp.
As the bamboo pulp is high in fiber, producers easily push it through a spinneret, spinning these fibers into incredibly soft weaving yarn called bamboo viscose.
However, the softness of the bamboo fabric is due to its long staple span. The final surface area of the final product is incredibly soft as it consists of smooth fiber sides instead of sharp ends.
Two Types of Weave in the Creation of Bamboo Viscose
Manufacturers use two types of weave to create bamboo bed sheets: sateen and twill.
- Typically made from exceptionally fine yarn, sateen weave uses a three-over, one-under pattern. This type of weave creates a fabric with a dazzling look and smooth feel. Its only drawback is that it’s susceptible to snagging and damage when met with hard objects.
- On the other hand, twill weave has a diagonal rib pattern that secures the bamboo viscose threads against pilling or breaking. This means that twill creates as smooth a fabric as sateen does, but a touch more durable.
Bamboo lyocell is another manufacturing process for bamboo sheets, closely resembling that of bamboo viscose.
For the production of bamboo lyocell, manufacturers break the bare inner core into one-inch squares and load them into a steamed, pressurized vessel abounding in a non-toxic solvent—amine oxide. The next step is to wash this shapeless mass of lyocell fibers with water to later dry it on a huge sheet, eventually rolling it onto spools. The rest of the process copies viscose production: manufacturers producing diverse bamboo beddings.
The lyocell process stands out because it uses a closed-loop system that reuses almost 99% of the water and chemicals in the next batch of the manufacturing process.
Manufacturers create this type of fabric using natural enzymes to dissolve the bare inner core, and they later spin the material into silky yarn. The bamboo linen made by this method is environmentally friendly as it does not use any harmful chemicals.
Nonetheless, discovering manufacturers that create linen through this mechanical process is not plain sailing.
The bamboo plant continues to amaze us, allowing manufacturers to create a wide variety of fabrics to suit our growing needs. It enables us to do all that without leaving considerable amounts of carbon footprint and destroying the environment.
So, the next time you ask yourself if you should buy bamboo sheets, knowing that they’re made in an environmentally-friendly manner might just push you into making the right decision.