Bamboo is one of nature’s most sustainable resources. Therefore to many it makes a perfect “green” material for creating fabric and other constructive materials. Bamboo offers many natural components, unlike other fabrics which are beneficial to the wearer.
Unlike many other crops grown for fibers, bamboo is quite unique in that it grows so easily and quickly without requiring the use of harmful pesticides. Bamboo can grow 24 to 36 inches in a single day. This rapid growth allows for ample supply of bamboo to be feasible, especially for an organic fiber.
As a woven textile, bamboo retains many of same qualities that make it so very unique as a plant. Bamboo is extremely absorbent. In plant form, bamboo is able to soak up and store three times its weight in water. In fabric terms, this absorbency power means cloth with excellent wicking capability.
Wicking is the ability of a fabric to pull moisture away from skin so that it can evaporate into the air. Outdoor wear is often touted for its excellent wicking ability. Items such as hiking socks or undershirts should be able to wick well.
Due to its excellent wicking component, bamboo fabric is great for items worn in close contact with the skin. Bamboo fabric helps to keep you feeling cool even in the hottest weather. Bamboo also prevents stickiness too, which is great for humid climates.
Bamboo has a natural component, known as bamboo kuhn or kun, that is a built-in antibacterial agent. The fabric form of bamboo retains this amazing quality which means that the fabric does not have to be treated with chemicals like most fabrics. Bamboo fabric retains this antibacterial characteristic even through repeated washings.
This natural anti-bacterial ability kills bacteria that usually thrive on clothing, particularly moist clothing. Clothing tends to get damp with perspiration, particularly during summer months and cause unpleasant odors to form. Bamboo works two ways to prevent this from occurring. One, moisture is wicked away by the bamboo, reducing the moisture problem to begin with. Secondly, any remaining odor causing bacteria are destroyed by the kuhn which acts as a natural microbial agent.
To add to its versatility, bamboo fabric also features insulating properties which help to keep the wearer cooler in summer and warmer in winter. You can physically feel the fabric and notice the difference in the coolness or warmth by touching it, as it gets about two to three degrees cooler or warmer than the air surrounding it.
Bamboo feels like silk when wearing it. This silkiness lends to it being a very easy fabric to both drape and wear, making it very desirable for designers to work with. Bamboo fabric also has the ability to block UV rays 417 times better than cotton fabric.