August 19, 2021

What are the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo fabric: 15 Pros & Cons

The advantages and disadvantages of bamboo fabric have been getting a lot of attention recently. The material seems eco friendly at first glance, but when you dig a little deeper you find there are major disadvantages of using bamboo fabric. 

Let’s explore in detail what are the advantages of bamboo fabric as well as what is the disadvantage of bamboo.

advantages and disadvantages of bamboo

What are the advantages of bamboo fabric?

There are lots of advantages of bamboo fabric that you need to know about. Not only is it softer than silk, making it one of the most comfortable materials you’ll ever wear, it's also anti-bacterial, resistant to wrinkles, and has eco friendly properties when made sustainably. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you are seeing bamboo pop up everywhere. Whether you have recently received it as a gift from your aunt, or considering it to cover your dream bed in a silky smooth bamboo linen, there are a number of pros and cons of bamboo fabric. Let’s jump in and explore the advantages of bamboo fabric. 

10 advantages of bamboo fabric:

1. Bamboo is an ultra-soft fabric

Bamboo fabric is luxuriously soft, so soft that it feels like it lightly floats on your skin. This is due to the smooth round structure of the bamboo fibre, which has no sharp or rough elements that could cause irritation.

2. Bamboo clothing is breathable

Bamboo fabric offers excellent ventilation thanks to microscopic holes in the fibre. This keeps you feeling fresh for longer, meaning you have to wash your clothes less. Ultimately, less washing helps clothes last longer, key to a sustainable wardrobe

3. Bamboo is good for hot weather

The thermoregulatory properties of bamboo fabric helps keep you cool when the weather gets hot. The breathable and moisture wicking nature of the material allows for ultimate comfort on hot days. So yes, that bamboo shirt will keep you cooler than a cotton alternative.

4. Powerful insulating

These same thermoregulatory properties of bamboo fabric also helps keep you warmer in winter, making bamboo a performance material for any weather. This is due to its cross sectional fibres which helps keep heat in on colder days, ensuring bamboo is warmer than cotton when the temperature drops.

5. Bamboo fabric is moisture wicking

Bamboo fabric actually helps to keep your skin comfortable and dry by wicking moisture from your skin more quickly. This makes bamboo perfect for sports clothing or more intimate clothing, as it is much more breathable than cotton. In fact, bamboo clothes dry twice as fast as cotton (although can absorb more water, see point 3 from the disadvantages list below).

6. Bamboo is anti-bacterial

Bamboo fabric is supposedly anti-bacterial, meaning that your top will stay fresh for longer as the fibre helps fight odours. As we well know, less washing helps your clothes last longer, making your closet more eco-friendly.

7. Bamboo offers UV protection

Bamboo fabric offers natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays, filtering up to 97.5% of UV radiation. 

8. Bamboo is good for sensitive skin 

Natural bamboo is hypoallergenic, making it perfect for sensitive skin as it does not cause allergic reactions. As a rule of thumb for those prone to sensitive skin, you should always look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label which ensures no trace harmful materials are left in the fabric. 

9. Bamboo fabric prevents wrinkles

An amazing fact about bamboo is that it does not wrinkle easily, even after frequent washing. This makes it perfect for those of us less keen on our iron, plus makes it more sustainable as we need to use less energy to maintain our bamboo clothes.  

10. Bamboo is a sustainably grown crop

Please note, we stress sustainablygrown crop. Most articles praise the environmental credentials of bamboo clothing, however this can be overstated. It is very sustainable to grow, but can be less eco-friendly to turn into fabric. Interested to know more, we have written a honest review discussing the true environmental impact of bamboo clothing


What are the advantages of bamboo fabric?

What is the disadvantage of bamboo?

As amazing as bamboo fabric sounds, there are a few cons to using bamboo. Not only is it expensive, it needs a little more care when you are doing the washing, and the way it is made may be less sustainable than you might think. Here are the top 5 disadvantages of bamboo clothing:

What are the disadvantages of bamboo:

  1. Bamboo is invasive: Part of what makes bamboo sustainable is its ability to grow fast and thrive on poor soils. This also makes it an invasive species that can easily take over and outcompete native plants. 
  2. Bamboo shrinkage: Bamboo can shrink in the wash when compared to linen or other tougher fabrics, so it's best to wash bamboo on a delicate wash and follow the care instructions on the label
  3. Bamboo fabric is slow to dry: Unfortunately bamboo fabric does not dry as quickly as synthetic or cotton fabrics. The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that we state it dries faster than cotton in point 5 above. This is due to its absorbent nature of bamboo, able to absorb 3 times its weight in water, meaning after you wash bamboo clothes or sheets it has more water to evaporate. It also loses some of its strength when wet, so make sure to follow care instructions on the label.
  4. Bamboo is more expensive than cotton: Unfortunately most bamboo costs more than cotton, especially if you are looking for sustainable bamboo rather than bamboo rayon. 
  5. Bamboo sustainability: Yes, bamboo growing and harvesting is incredibly sustainable, however most bamboo clothes are made out of bamboo rayon, which requires a chemically intensive viscose process to produce. Make sure to check the origins of your bamboo fabric if looking for eco-friendly bamboo, most bamboo clothes are sadly the rayon alternative
    disadvantages of bamboo

Interested to know more? We explain how bamboo processing can be very unsustainable in our fair and honest review of how eco friendly is bamboo clothing?

Alternatively, you can explore one of the most sustainable materials to wear in our deep dive into why is linen so sustainable?

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