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Analysis of the Bamboo Fabric Underwear

One of the craziest things about textiles is that fabric can be made from nearly anything. While you may be used to seeing underwear made from cotton, did you know that many types of underwear are made from fabric created from trees? Viscose is made from a number of different types of trees, while modal fabric is made exclusively from beech.

Today, we will be discussing bamboo fabric. While not technically a tree, bamboo’s tough, woody stems are made into a soft and breathable fabric, which has become a popular choice for underwear.

What is Bamboo Fabric?

Bamboo fabric is a type of viscose, meaning that it is made using the cellulose of bamboo. The bamboo is chopped into fine, small chips before being soaked in a mix of sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide, which breaks the bamboo chips down into a mealy pulp. Then, the bamboo pulp is forcefully strained to create thin, liquid threads before being solidified into a solid form with sulfuric acid. Finally, these threads are combed, spun, and woven into a tight, breathable fabric known as bamboo viscose or bamboo rayon, depending on the processes used.

Is bamboo fabric a sustainable choice for underwear?

Other types of viscose, like modal fabric, rely on trees to supply the cellulose needed to create the threads. As you may know, trees take a long time to grow, and many consumers have an issue with manufacturers cutting down large forests in order to create these fabrics, even if these forests were cultivated for that exact purpose.

On the other hand, bamboo is an extremely hardy and fast growing plant, and if you have ever planted bamboo in your own garden, you know that it is almost impossible to kill. Plus, growing bamboo requires almost no pesticides, fertilizers, and only very small amounts of water, which is more sustainable when compared to other tree or plant growth, such as beech trees or cotton plants. This means manufacturers have an almost unending supply of bamboo to create bamboo fabric for underwear, without damaging large forests that our ecosystem relies on for oxygen creation.

However, bamboo fabric may not be the most sustainable option for underwear due to the chemicals used during the fabric creation process. Chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, carbon disulfide, and sulfuric acid are all extremely toxic, and these harmful chemicals can cause issues in the surrounding environment and have a large carbon footprint.

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has gone to great lengths in order to ensure that the public knows that bamboo fabric is not quite as all-natural as some companies have claimed in the past. In 2015, the FTC fined multiple companies for claiming to sell “bamboo clothing” instead of using the label of “rayon made from bamboo” so that consumers are more aware of the processes that the fabric goes through and the environmental impact it may have.

That being said, while the manufacturing process for bamboo fabric underwear may not be the most sustainable, the cultivation of bamboo for textile use is one of the most environmentally-friendly types of grow operations. It could be better, but it certainly could be a lot worse.

Why is bamboo a great fabric choice for underwear?

Aside from the sustainability arguments, bamboo viscose is a wonderful fabric choice for underwear of all types. Here’s why:

  • Bamboo fabric is seriously soft. Like other fabrics in the viscose family, bamboo fabric is exceedingly soft and silky, and when used for underwear, it is far more comfortable than heavier fabrics. In fact, many wearers compare bamboo fabric to silk — but without the price tag! 
  • Bamboo fabric is antifungal and antimicrobial. Your underwear has to deal with a sensitive area of your body, one that often gets sweaty and produces its own bacteria. Especially for women, your underwear needs to be able to keep the healthy bacteria in place without allowing unhealthy bacteria to flourish. Bamboo features an all natural, antimicrobial and antibacterial biological agent referred to as “bamboo kun”, which is the reason why bamboo plants are able to grow quickly without the need for excess fertilizers or water. Bamboo kun also prevents the plant from being attacked by fungi or bacteria that would otherwise decimate the bamboo population. Even after the bamboo is turned into fabric, the bamboo kun remains in the threads, giving your bamboo fabric underwear the ability to kill unhealthy bacteria that may try to grow and prevents unpleasant odors.
  • Bamboo fabric is breathable. As mentioned, our nether regions produce a bit more moisture than other parts of the body, so it is imperative that underwear fabric does not trap that moisture. Bamboo fabric has microscopic holes in each thread, allowing for superior breathability. This makes bamboo fabric an especially great choice for underwear worn during hot days or sweaty activities. 

What are the drawbacks of bamboo fabric underwear?

Just like every fabric option for underwear, bamboo has its drawbacks. Here are a few of the most glaring issues:

  • Bamboo fabric is a bit more expensive than cotton. Especially the more sustainable options, bamboo fabric tends to have a higher price tag than your run-of-the-mill cotton underwear.
  • Depending on the manufacturer, some bamboo fabric underwear is not sustainable. It is important to do your research to see whether or not the manufacturer is committed to making the most environmentally-friendly choices as possible.
  • Bamboo fabric is breathable, but it is also very absorbent. It can absorb up to three times its weight in water, which is great for preventing sweat dripping from your underwear, but it also means that it takes longer to dry and may need to be washed more rigorously.

Want to learn more about bamboo fabric underwear?

BKage Underwear is the premiere manufacturer for all your custom underwear needs. Whether you want to create your own line of bamboo fabric underwear, we’ve got you covered. Our customer service agents are available 24/7 and are standing by to help you with all of your underwear related needs.

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