Saturday, 15 March 2014

THE HEARTBREAKING PROBLEM WITH BAMBOO

Bamboo fabrics tend to feel soft and silky like rayon, because they are rayon.  Bamboo grows tall and strong cuz it is chalk full if Lignin.  This makes it difficult to produce fabric from, and requires a lot of chemicals to break it down. So the bamboo gets put through a cellulose process to create a viscose fabric.  In the states it is no longer allowed to be called a natural or organic fabric.  Unfortunately it also appears to lose its antimicrobial properties that helped make it popular with cloth diapering moms.  This applies to bamboo flannel,  fleece and Terry etc, also zorb.

Bamboo linen however is put through a mechanical (natural)  process and is still considered a natural fabric due to its natural processing.

I first read about this a short time ago through a post at change diapers.  The post is on bamboo-rayon absorbency. However a link is included to explain why they refer to the bamboo fabric as bamboo-rayon. 

When I read this it took a bit to digest the info.  Then I started doing additional reading.  It kinda hurt, like when you've been lied to....oh yeah we were.

Curious, I looked into hemp fabrics also.  Most of the info I was able to find was promotional (from retailers and manufacturers).  What I did learn however is that most hemp fabric is mechanically (natural) made.  But not all.  Here's how to tell the difference.   Hemp fabric wrinkles Lots.  Some people don't like this so manufacturers have found a way to reduce and/or eliminate wrinkles (sometimmes refered to as relaxed)...and you guessed it, its chemical. So with hemp you can test for wrinkles if you want to go for natural hemp fabric.  Sadly that would likely be after purchase.

So to keep these diapers green I will be sticking with cotton fabrics from mechanical processes.  I do have to say I found this all very dissapointing.  I am however thankful I discovered this in the protype phase.   My first diapers I made for baby moss do have a bamboo core. 

Do I think other cloth diaper companies have been lying to us?  Not at all!  I think they simply have had the bamboo pulled over their eyes.