Bamboo vs cotton
We are going to do a comparison review of bamboo and cotton today to see what the main differences are between the two. Bamboo and cotton have been used for clothing and bedding for hundreds of years, but only recently has bamboo been gaining in popularity. The bamboo plant grows quicker than cotton and uses a third less water, it also does not need any pesticides as they are no natural pests attracted to it. Cotton does require pesticides to grow and these chemicals are harmful to the environment. A bamboo plant after it has been harvested can be replanted every year which is makes very eco-friendly. Organic cotton is preferable to non-organic cotton as it uses less pesticides.
Once bamboo fabric has been spun from the bamboo fiber it feels incredibly soft, a bit like cashmere or silk. The bamboo fibers are smooth and round, this means they are no rough or sharp fibers to irritate the skin. Even if people have allergies or skin conditions that would not usually wear wool, they can wear bamboo next to their skin. Bamboo fabric gets softer over time, even with repeated washings the material stays soft and the colours last a lot longer than cotton, which fades over time.
A unique feature that bamboo possesses that cotton does not have is its antibacterial qualities which are unique to the plant. Bamboo has a unique antimicrobial quality called “kun” that is a bio-agent which is a natural property of the plant. This unique property makes bamboo naturally antibacterial, odour resistant and antifungal, cotton does not have any of these natural properties. Another by-product of this “kun” is that reduces bacteria that thrive on skin and in clothes, this in turn reduces bacteria that will produce unpleasant smells.
A bamboo plant absorbs water at higher levels than other plants, these property is also present in the fabric and creates a wicking ability in the material. The plant is able to absorb three times the amount of water to its weight and some of this ability is retained in the fabric. This wicking feature pulls moisture away from the skin so that the water can evaporate and bamboo also has insulating properties too. A good example of this that when it’s hot you will stay cooler and when it’s cold you stay warmer.
When using both fabrics to produce bedding and clothing, bamboo is an excellent choice as it’s a strong and light fabric that needs less dye than cotton. The colours that bamboo fabric produce are more vivid than cotton and the colours don’t fade as quickly either. A range of products can be made from bamboo fabric including, bamboo shirts, bamboo underwear, bamboo sheets, bamboo pillows, bamboo towels, bamboo dresses and bamboo curtains.
One aspect of bamboo vs cotton is that bamboo products do cost more than cotton, but as the market has more bamboo products available, then the price will drop accordingly. The biggest producer of bamboo is China and some of the fabric produced in this country is not green, but pressure on China to become greener will improve this situation. Unlike man-made fibers like polyester, bamboo is fully biodegradable and will not cause any lasting damage to the environment when it’s in the soil again after use. So, the next time you look around the shops, keep an eye out for bamboo products and let us know what you think of them?
©Bamboo & Coconut 2016