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TENCEL™ vs Bamboo: What’s The Difference and Which Should You Buy

When it comes to buying high quality bed sheets, our options have expanded far beyond cotton. While cotton is still indisputably the king of textile, its carbon footprint has led to many searching for alternatives. Despite the wide range of options, there are two up and coming materials that are here to challenge its position in the bedding world - TENCEL™ and bamboo.


Bed sheets come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and of course, materials, which could potentially make shopping for bedsheets online a daunting task. As TENCEL™ and Bamboo are both considered eco-friendly in the eyes of the masses, it is understandably difficult to differentiate their benefits and downsides. 


Shopping for bed sheets online should not be as complicated as it seems, and we are here to aid you in your decision - TENCEL™ or Bamboo, which is better suited for you. From their similarities to differences, we cover it all in our article. Continue reading to find out more.

Dog and woman cuddled up in bed

TABLE OF CONTENT

TENCEL™ vs Bamboo     Go to Section

What is TENCEL™    Go to Section

1. Types Of TENCEL™

2. TENCEL™ Lyocell

Benefits of TENCEL™ Lyocell     Go to Section

1. Silky Soft & Strong

2. Improved Breathability & Moisture-Wicking Properties

3. Less Wrinkling & Fading

4. Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable

Drawbacks of TENCEL™ Lyocell     Go to Section

1. Cost

What is Bamboo     Go to Section

1. Types Of Bamboo

2. Bamboo Rayon

Benefits of Bamboo    Go to Section

1. Softness & Durability

2. Naturally Hypoallergenic

Drawbacks of Bamboo Rayon    Go to Section

1. Prone to wrinkling

2. Questionable Eco-friendliness

Discover Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Bed Sheets & Bedding Range     Go to Section

1. TENCEL™ Lyocell Sheets

2. TENCEL™ Lyocell Mattress Protector

3. TENCEL™ Lyocell Duvet

4. Responsibly Made

5. 100 Days To Sleep On It

Frequently Asked Questions     Go to Section

TENCEL™ vs Bamboo

TENCEL™ and Bamboo are both made from fast-growing plants that do not require any toxic pesticides to grow. Beloved for their hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking properties, it may be difficult to choose between the two. However, no need to lose sleep over this, we will be breaking down their differences for you to make a well-informed decision when it comes time for you to purchase your ideal sheets.


We will mainly focus on the comparison between TENCEL™ Lyocell and Bamboo Rayon (the most common Bamboo fabric).

Tencel fabric vs Bamboo fabric

differences

TENCEL™ Lyocell

bamboo

Plant

Eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms

Bamboo fabric refers to the variety of textiles that are made from the bamboo plant.

Feel

Smooth, soft and silky from the first day of use


Soft and supple to the touch.

Cooling

Ultra cooling 


Breathable and moisture-wicking, excellent for regulating temperature in various climates

Higher moisture absorbency than cotton, but not as efficient as TENCEL™

Aesthetic

Smoother, drapey silk-like look


More vibrant as it retains dye better and is less prone to fading over time

Drapey silk-like look

Suitable for sensitive skin

Hypoallergenic and retards bacteria growth by 10 times as compared to cotton

Durability

Resistant to wear and tear


Resistant to pilling

Durable and stable

Wrinkle resistance

More Wrinkle resistant

More prone to wrinkling

Environmental friendliness

Requires less energy and water to produce


Less waste produced due to closed-loop process


Wood pulp sustainably sourced

Oftenly marketed as “green” and “sustainable” due to its plant origin but it may not always be the case 


Depending on its manufacturing process (mechanically or chemically), the degree of eco-friendliness varies 

Care

Relatively easy care

(machine washable on gentle spin with cold water)

Not able to withstand rigorous washing and heated drying

Cost

Generally higher price point than cotton due to costlier production


However, time and money saved on care and maintenance due to its durability makes the overall cost difference hard to quantify

Slightly lower price point than TENCEL™ 

What is TENCEL™

Produced by Austrian textile company Lenzing AG, TENCEL™ is the brand name for semi-synthetic fibers such as modal and lyocell, two fabrics commonly used in bedding and clothing. 


Lenzing’s core market is wood-based cellulose fibers. They manufacture viscose, modal and lyocell which are derived from sustainable wood and pulp, coming from certified and controlled sources. To produce this material, wood pulps are dissolved in a solvent and extruded through small holes to make fibers. The resulting fibers are then treated and spun into yarn.

What is Tencel Lyocell fibers
Photo from TENCEL™

From self-sufficient biorefineries and closed-loop production to being actively involved in the protection of endangered and primeval forests, it is clear that TENCEL™ fabrics are not only ethically produced but also eco-friendly all at the same time.

Types of TENCEL™

As noted earlier, TENCEL™ is Lenzing’s flagship brand for textiles using a variety of fibers that range from viscose to lyocell. While originating from all-natural, renewable and biodegradable sources, it may be difficult to tell the various fibers apart. 

Biorefinery- from wood to fibers

TYPES OF TENCEL™ FIBERS

TENCEL™ viscose

TENCEL™ modal

Short Description

LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose fibers are derived from sustainable wood and pulp, coming from certified and controlled sources. 

Modal is the second generation of regenerated cellulose fibers and was first developed by Lenzing who has the trademark for it. 


TENCEL™ Modal is made from beech wood, sourced from sustainably managed forests in Austria and neighbouring countries.

Mainly made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms. 


Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing and require no toxic pesticides and very little water to thrive.

Known for

Compared to conventional viscose, the production of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded fibers generate up to 50% lower emissions and water 

A more uniform internal structure gives TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers great strength, efficient moisture absorption and gentleness to skin

Things To Note

Traditional manufacturing of viscose fibers is done through a chemical- heavy process that is often unregulated, producing toxic emissions and pollution. 

They can also be blended with other fibers to improve its overall softness and comfort.

Production recycles water and more than 99% of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, making this the most eco-friendly of all cellulose regenerated fibers.

Some fabrics may contain a blend of TENCEL™ fibers with other fibers such as cotton or bamboo, to create fabrics such as bamboo lyocell. For a product to carry the TENCEL™ trademark and Lenzing TENCEL™ certification, it only has to contain 30% of the Lenzing fibers - hence it is important to check if the product you’re purchasing is pure, or simply a blend!


Blends are usually done to improve the feel, performance or durability of the fabric. However blends of TENCEL™ fibers typically do not retain the best of either material, hence it is always better to go pure.

Tencel branded fibers
Photo from TENCEL™

TENCEL™ Lyocell

As Lenzing embarked on a journey to discover an alternative, eco-friendly production process in the 90s, they started making great strides in the field of Lyocell technology. And in 1997, the first full-scale Lyocell production plant went into operation at Heiligenkreuz, Burgenland (Austria). Following this, Lenzing also managed to acquire the TENCEL™ trademark in 2004, and the rest is history.


So what makes TENCEL™ Lyocell stand out from generic Lyocell? Generic Lyocell is often made from wood pulp and birch trees whereas TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are mainly made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms.

6. Flat lay photography of white mug beside green leafed plants
Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

TENCEL™ Lyocell is also extremely versatile. From bedding and home products, to apparels and intimates, TENCEL™ Lyocell makes great fabric for all. While it might be pricier than the average fabric, we believe that its benefits outweigh the cons and that purchasing TENCEL™ Lyocell-made products is a worthwhile investment.


Our Ultimate Guide to TENCEL™ fibers explores TENCEL™ and what it is all about in greater depths.

Benefits of TENCEL™ Lyocell

1. Silky Soft & Strong

Thanks to the natural structure of the lyocell fibre, TENCEL™ is most well known for how it feels - exceptionally silky and smooth on the skin. Long fibres are also used when weaving the sheets resulting in a smoother surface that is not only comfortable but beneficial to those with sensitive or easily-irritated skin. TENCEL™ is also strong and durable which makes it easy to maintain.

Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Classic Set in Fern Green
Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Classic Set in Fern Green

2. Improved Breathability & Moisture-Wicking Properties

TENCEL™ lyocell stands out as an extremely breathable and absorbent fabric. It’s ideal for warm sleepers as lyocell fabric can wick excess moisture away quickly, keeping the body cool during sleep in a wide variety of climates. 

If you are someone who is prone to sweating in your sleep and struggles to find sheets to keep you cool throughout the night, then TENCEL™ sheets may be the thing for you. In fact, this ‘cooling feeling’ increases with increasing air humidity - perfect for Singapore’s weather conditions! This temperature regulating textile will keep you cool and dry in bed, allowing you to achieve a good night’s sleep anywhere, at any time. 

Girl sleeping on Weavve's Lyocell  Duvet Cover Set in Sky Blue
Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Duvet Cover Set in Sky Blue

Perfect moisture management also reduces bacteria proliferation without the need for any chemical additives. As a naturally derived fibre, TENCEL™ lyocell is also hypoallergenic and biodegradable, making it perfect for people with sensitive skin or skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis

3. Less Wrinkling & Fading 

An additional favourite feature of TENCEL™ lyocell is that it is less prone to wrinkling and less vulnerable to fading with regular washing. It is also less likely to shrink and not prone to becoming thin overtime. 

As TENCEL™ lyocell is a strong fibre with a higher dry and wet tensile strength (compared to silk and modal), it is capable of keeping 85% of its dry tenacity under wet conditions, allowing the fibres to retain their shape. This makes Lyocell sheets quick to dry and fairly easy to iron and care for. 


Woman making the bed, featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Deluxe Set in Sand Taupe
Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Deluxe Set in Sand Taupe

4. Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable

Production of TENCEL™ fibers is undeniably more environmentally friendly than other fibers as it involves a closed-loop process that recycles more than 99% of the solvent used in manufacturing. It also uses less water and energy than conventional cotton production.


Apart from minimal waste and better water conservation, TENCEL™ itself supports verified climate protection projects, specifically in communities impacted by the textile industry. These projects aim to help ill-prepared communities become more climate-resilient and introduce them to new sources of renewable energy. For example, improved cookstoves in Bangladesh, solar water heating in India and Kamphaeng Saen landfill gas to energy in Thailand. 


This gives consumers who are all for sustainability a peace of mind knowing that they are supporting a brand that cares deeply about Mother Earth.

Low angle view of green trees
Photo by Gustavo Juliette from Pexels

Drawbacks of TENCEL™ Lyocell

1. Cost

While the global Lyocell fabric market is estimated to reach 745.9 Kilo Tonnes (KT) by 2027 from 415.6 KT in 2018, it is still a small percentage of the global fabric market. With growing demands and high manufacturing costs, the price of TENCEL™ Lyocell remains slightly higher than other alternative fabrics such as cotton and polyester.


However, we are optimistic that this con can be improved over time as seen by the opening of a new Lyocell fiber production plant by Lenzing A.G. in Prachinburi (Thailand) to strengthen its production capability. The plant will have a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes and will be operational by the end of 2021. 

What is Bamboo

Bamboo has traditionally been used to signify luck and prosperity, especially in Asian households. However, the Bamboo we will be touching on today is its fabric. As the textile industry moves towards being environmentally sustainable, plant based fibers such as Bamboo entered the spotlight as a replacement to conventional fabric.


Bamboo, like eucalyptus, grows in abundance. Moreover, being a self-regenerating and fast-growing plant, it is easy to assume that its fabric would be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Which it is when compared to cotton cultivation, which requires a substantial amount of water and pesticides. However, does it really live up to the hype?

Green leaf on Beige Textile

There are two types of production for bamboo fabric - mechanical and chemical. Mechanical manufacturing involved bamboo plants being crushed manually into mush and further broken down using natural enzymes. The fibres are then combed out and spun. Bamboo fabrics made mechanically are also known as Bamboo Linen. 


On the other hand, chemical processing of bamboo fabric is the more popular process out of the two. It involved the use of harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide instead of using natural enzymes as it quickens the production process. Though it is more time efficient, the harsh and toxic chemicals leave a negative impact on the environment. Bamboo produced through this process is sometimes called Bamboo Rayon.

Person holding a globe
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

With more and more Bamboo sheets being labelled as ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’, it can be overwhelming to know what to look out for when buying them for the first time. Read on to learn more about the different types of bamboo fabrics, with varying processes involved in production.

Types of Bamboo

Types of Bamboo

Bamboo Rayon

Bamboo Lyocell

Raw Bamboo Linen Fiber

Production

Firstly, the bamboo plant is macerated in an alkaline solution that dissolves the plant into cellulose. It is then run under high pressure through a nozzle to turn it into a fibre. 

Also known as CleanBamboo™, 100% Bamboo Lyocell is the most sustainable Bamboo fabric. 


Pure organic bamboo pulp is crushed, washed and spun into yarn, instead of being processed chemically.

Produced mechanically, the process is very similar to the manufacturing of common linen fabrics.


The wooden parts of the Bamboo plant are crushed mechanically before the bast Bamboo fiber is extracted and spun into yarn.

Characteristics

Resembles cotton linen. Silky to the touch, thermoregulating and hypoallergenic. 

Silk-like, smooth and soft. Thermoregulating, cooling and antimicrobial. 

Being less chemically intensive and polluting, it usually contains the most amount of natural bamboo fabric.

Things To Note

Chemicals used like carbon disulfide is a toxic chemical that can potentially cause neural disorder and pose danger to the human reproductive system. While the revival of solvent is 50%, 50% is likely to be discarded into the environment.

Production recycles 98% of water used in the manufacturing process, making this the most eco-friendly out of the five.

Though less chemically intensive, this type of Bamboo fabric may be slightly coarse and wrinkles easily, hence it may not be ideal for intimate bedding products.


It is also very labour intensive thus it is important to verify that the manufacturer uses fair and safe labour practices

Bamboo Rayon

If you were searching for Bamboo Rayon on Google, chances are that “Bamboo Viscose” popped up in your searches. This is because Rayon and Viscose are seen as synonymous and used interchangeably in the market. However, there is a slight difference between the two, mainly in the manufacturing process.

Person holding sewing mahcine
Photo by Wallace Chuck from Pexels

This history of Rayon dates back to the late 1800s when scientists were looking into creating a silk alternative. Rayon is a fabric that is made from raw materials like bamboo or wood cellulose, whereas Viscose is derived from wood cellulose and plant fibres, which are made into a viscous liquid then undergo a series of chemical processes. The organic viscose liquid is what makes both rayon fibers and cellophane, thus Viscose fibres are deemed a type of Rayon.


Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between Rayon and Viscose, we can dive deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of Bamboo Rayon.

Benefits of Bamboo Rayon

1. Softness & Durability

Comparable in touch to silk or cashmere, Rayon from Bamboo bed sheets can feel luxurious. This is thanks to their longer fibers which wick moisture away from the body, reducing the feeling of being sweaty and clammy under them. They can also last a long time when cared for properly and dry quickly, making them ideal for those in smaller apartments without a dryer.

Textured backdrop of crumpled textile with a smooth surface
Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

2. Naturally Hypoallergenic

Some health-related benefits of Bamboo sheets are that they are naturally antifungal and antibacterial. When compared to traditional cotton, they are also much less susceptible to mold, mildew and odor. Making them great alternatives for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies.

Crop woman cleaning face with cotton pad
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Drawbacks of Bamboo Rayon

1. Prone To Wrinkling 

In terms of aesthetics, Bamboo rayon bed sheets can be more prone to wrinkling due to their softness and suppleness. However, it is important to note that it all comes down to the frequency of use and how it is being cared for. With proper care, these wrinkling tendencies may be limited. 

Little boy loading the laundry with his pet dog
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

2. Questionable Eco-friendliness

As mentioned earlier, Bamboo fabrics in theory make good alternatives for others who may not be as environmentally friendly. However, with chemical intensive production, the eco-friendliness of Bamboo plants may not make much of a difference in the end. While Bamboo Lyocell might a worthy substitute, it is harder to find.


The main comparison between TENCEL™ sheets vs Bamboo is the solvent used in the dissolution process of turning wood into pulp. The solvent used for the chemical production of Bamboo fabric is Sodium Hydroxide (NaH), which is corrosive and potentially harmful to the surrounding environment of the production factory. Whereas, TENCEL™ uses N-methyl Morpholine N-oxide (NMMO), a comparatively friendlier solvent for the environment.

Young tomato plants in pots
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Moreover, with the lack of standardization between all Bamboo manufacturing, unlike Lenzing TENCEL™, it makes it difficult for consumers to judge which are truly environmentally friendly. One way to avoid falling for ‘greenwashing’ is to look out for certifications such as Oeko-Tex and Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). 


However, it is important to note that not all Bamboo fabrics are made equal and there are brands who produce them in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Thus, always remember to look out for certifications and trusted suppliers!


All in all, TENCEL™ Lyocell and Bamboo fibres overlap in multiple ways - from their soft feel and silky drape to hypoallergenic properties, they are both worthy opponents in the fabric industry.

Tencel fibers close up
Photo from TENCEL™

Discover Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell Bed Sheets & Bedding Range

Each Weavve Lyocell bedding starts with the best Lyocell fibers (100% Lenzing TENCEL™) that are spun into the finest 80s yarn count threads. These fine single ply threads are then woven into 400 thread count fabric, giving you stronger, smoother and lighter sheets. 

Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Classic Set in Midnight
Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Classic Set in Midnight

Discover our TENCEL™ fibre bed sheet sets and separates that will elevate your sleeping experience with it’s cool and silky feel. However, if you prefer a buttery soft and crisp alternative, we also have a range of Cotton bedsheets that will immerse you into a hotel-like experience right at home. 

Featuring Weavve’s Cotton Deluxe Set in Cloud
Featuring Weavve’s Cotton Deluxe Set in Cloud

Weavve’s Mattress Protector’s outer fabric is made from 100% Lenzing TENCEL™, making it ideal for sensitive skin. TENCEL™ Lyocell’s highly breathable and moisture-wicking properties also gives users ultimate comfort. Additionally, it has a waterproof layer coated with a breathable, hypoallergenic membrane layer that blocks out dust mites and allergens from penetrating the mattress. 

Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Waterproof Mattress Protector

Discover Weavve’s Lyocell Duvet, made from 100% Lenzing TENCEL™ inner filling and outer fabric (yes, pure 100%!), making it possibly the first full TENCEL™ Lyocell duvet / duvet insert in Singapore.


Whether you want a cooling blanket for hot summer nights or be kept warm on rainy days, this duvet will meet them all. Available for pre-orders now!

Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Duvet
Featuring Weavve’s Lyocell Duvet Insert

Responsibly Made

Here at Weavve, we pride ourselves on being committed to responsible sourcing, production, sale and use of our products. We take great effort in ensuring that our decisions account for all the people who help build our products, the environment and our consumers. From certified Standard 100 by Oeko Tex® sheets to BSCI certified factories, Weavve make sures that everyone is cared for at every step of the way.

BSCI certified factory

100 Days to Sleep On It

Buying a sheet should be easy and delightful. Here at Weavve, we are fully committed to making exceptional products and our 100 day free return policy* makes it easy for you to take the leap of faith, especially for first time users. Learn more about our 100 Day Free Trial.

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Frequently Asked Questions: TENCEL™ vs Bamboo

Which is cooler, TENCEL™ or Bamboo?

When it comes to hot sleepers, TENCEL™ sheets definitely take the crown for this. While both types of fabrics are breathable, TENCEL™ bed sheets feel cool to the touch, making them ideal for people who sweat as they sleep or Singapore’s warm and humid weather.


(There has not been much scientific research, but based on customer feedback, most who have used both have crowned TENCEL™ as the winner for most cooling fabric)


TENCEL™ vs Bamboo smoothness

Both TENCEL™ and Bamboo have similar feel - silk-like and smooth. However, we believe that TENCEL™ may be a better option as it is less prone to wrinkling as Bamboo, hence allowing you to have that luxurious look effortlessly!



Bamboo vs TENCEL™ vs Cotton

As consumers, we are spoiled for choices on the bed linen market - from Cotton, to Bamboo, to TENCEL™ - it is no wonder that it may get confusing when it comes to bed sheet shopping. Here is a quick summary for each material to help you get a better understanding.

Cotton

Cotton is a natural fiber harvested from the cotton seed pod of cotton plants. It is the most widely used traditional material today - from drying our faces on a soft cotton towel in the morning, to putting on our favourite worn-in cotton t-shirt, until we slide between fresh cotton bed sheets at night, it is impossible to avoid cotton.  


The production of cotton fabric from cotton fibers these days requires a machine called Cotton Gin to remove the seeds from cotton bolls, as well as any dirt from the cotton. The raw cotton fibers are then transformed into long strands through a process called carding. These long strands are then spun into yarn and put through various chemical treatments to be dyed and finally woven into their designated textile material such as bed sheets or apparels. 


Read our article here to find out more about the differences between TENCEL™ and Cotton, and which you should buy.

TENCEL™ Lyocell

Produced by Austrian textile company Lenzing AG, TENCEL™ is the brand name for semi-synthetic fibers such as modal and lyocell, two fabrics commonly used in bedding and clothing. 


Lenzing’s core market is wood-based cellulose fibers. They manufacture viscose, modal and lyocell which are derived from sustainable wood and pulp, coming from certified and controlled sources. To produce this material, wood pulps are dissolved in a solvent and extruded through small holes to make fibers. The resulting fibers are then treated and spun into yarn.


From self-sufficient biorefineries and closed-loop production to being actively involved in the protection of endangered and primeval forests, it is clear that TENCEL™ fabrics are not only ethically produced but also eco-friendly all at the same time.

Bamboo

Bamboo, like eucalyptus, grows in abundance. Moreover, being a self-regenerating and fast-growing plant, it is easy to assume that its fabric would be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Which it is when compared to cotton cultivation, which requires a substantial amount of water and pesticides. However, does it really live up to the hype?


There are two types of production for bamboo fabric - mechanical and chemical. Mechanical manufacturing involved bamboo plants being crushed manually into mush and further broken down using natural enzymes. The fibres are then combed out and spun. Bamboo fabrics made mechanically are also known as Bamboo Linen. 


On the other hand, chemical processing of bamboo fabric is the more popular process out of the two. It involved the use of chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide instead of using natural enzymes as it quickens the production process. Though it is more time efficient, the harsh and toxic chemicals leave a negative impact on the environment. Bamboo produced through this process is sometimes called Bamboo Rayon.


At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference and which material you think is best suited for you and your needs.

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