Tencel Fabric – From nature to your closet
What is Tencel ?
Tencel fabric is an amazing eco friendly fabric that represents a milestone in the development of environmentally sustainable textiles.
Tencel is a natural, man made fibre which is also referred to as lyocell. Made with wood pulp from sustainable tree farms, tencel textiles are created though the use of nanotechnology in an award-winning closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents and emissions.
Though it’s certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council and 100% biodegradable, perhaps the greatest benefits are the variety and exceptional comfort you can experience with tencel clothing.
- Eco Print
Made from the natural cellulose found in wood pulp. The fiber is economical in its use of energy and natural resources, and is fully biodegradable.
- Colour Rich
Tencel was created with color in mind, because of the fibers’ high absorbency. The fabrics can be dyed to high quality standards.
- Moisture Absorbent
This eco fabric has natural breathability and 50% greater moisture absorption than cotton.
Due to its moisture management, Tencel is also anti-bacterial.
- Feel of Fabric
Similar to rayon in feel. Soft, breathable, lightweight and comfortable. Tencel has an extremely smooth, soft surface that drapes beautifully to flatter every figure.
- Great for sensitive skin
Tencel’s smooth fibre surface feels soft and supple against the skin and its incredible wicking abilities keep the skin dry, making Tencel a great fabric for sensitive skin.
This eco fabric has controllable fibrillation (the very fine hairs found on the outer fibres), which can be manipulated into everything form suede-like softness to a silky smooth finish.
This super fibre can hold up to a beating when both we and dry, and is most conveniently resistant to wrinkles.
Disadvantage of Tencel Fabric
- Tencel will shrink (approx. 3%) after its first washing but retain its shape after that.
- Tencel is more expensive than most eco fabric alternatives.
Caring for Tencel Fabric
- Delicate fabrics may be hand-washed in cold water with a gentle detergent. Drip dry. Tencel will shrink about 3% with the first washing, and will resist shrinking from then on.
- Machine washing, using the gentle cycle, is appropriate for many garments (read the garment care label), and drip drying is preferable to machine drying. If line dried, you can briefly toss in the dryer with a damp towel to soften the fabric.
- If you must touch up the garment with an iron, use a warm iron only. Too much direct heat may scorch the fabric.
- Dry-clean Only: Some garments have a “dry-clean only” label. This is often due to other fabrics used as finishing details or structuring elements, such as linings, in the garment. The lining, for example, may shrink more than the Tencel fiber which could cause puckering if washed in water. The best course is to understand the washing requirements before purchasing the garment.
Tencel Fabric – An Eco Friendly Fabric Option
TENCEL® is a brand, the trademark is owned by Lenzing Fibers location Austria. The fibre used for the TENCEL® fabric is called Lyocell.
Lenzing Fibers state that the required blend composition must be a minimum of 30% in order to be able to use the brand name.
TENCEL® Lyocell obtained from traceable and sustainable wood pulp (Eucalyptus trees are grown on farms certified by the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC) being dissolved in a non toxic organic recovered and reused solvent, thus using an extrusion method through tiny holes comes Lyocell fibres.
This method is referred to as a closed loop process, meaning in the case of TENCEL® Lyocell, more than 99% of the solvent is recovered and reused, all of this leading to less land and water usage. No harmful chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. Above all, for the garment industry TENCEL® has a reputation for being extremely eco friendly and environmentally sustainable.
How is Tencel Fabric made?
Made from wood pulp cellulose, lyocell (see below) is produced in a solvent spinning process that is organic, sustainable and uniquely revolutionary. The only current lyocell manufacturer in the United States is Lenzing Fibers, and the company markets the product under the trademarked brand name Tencel as a soft, absorbent, durable, versatile, and eco-friendly fibre.
Within the solvent spinning process that produces Tencel®, a closed loop circuit recovers, purifies and reuses the solvent up to 99.5 percent, yielding very little byproduct. This environmentally conscious process, which is also 100 percent organic since the basis is a natural raw material, has been on the receiving end of numerous awards, including the “European Award for the Environment” by the European Union.
Lyocell the facts
- Lyocell is considered an eco friendly biodegradable fabric made using petrochemical derivatives.
- Lyocell could be viewed as being a hybrid, it is a man made fibre made from naturally organic materials.
- Lyocell is better described as a man made recovered or regenerated fibre.
A lot of energy is used in the production process. The dyeing and other texture producing process also have some issues, depending on the producer. Some use toxic chemicals in these additional processes.
Simply, Lyocell is made from the cellulose obtained from wood pulp (Cellulose is a natural polymer found in all vegetative living cells, apparently, trees are 50% cellulose and cotton around 90% cellulose) and the process of Lyocell production starts by treating wood chips in such a way that they form into a substance resembling thick paper.
This paper like material is then cut up and broken down into small pieces and then chemically dissolved, forming a cellulose slurry. This is then extruded through a device with many tiny holes in it.
At this point the Lyocell comes out as long thin fibres, these then go through further chemical processes followed by washing and drying before being compressed. At this stage the Lyocell fibres can be spun and then either used alone or blended with other fibres to make a yarn.
Lyocell either wet or dry is strong and long lasting. It can be and often is blended with other fibres including: wool, cotton, silk and other more durable man made fibres.
The feel and texture of the finished fabric is easily manipulated by blending Lyocell with these other fibres resulting in a wide ranging variation.
The clothing manufacturers love to use TENCEL® Lyocell as it is easy to work with giving many qualities needed within the garment industry, hangs well, crinkle and wrinkle resistant, is absorbent and breathable making it extremely suitable for sporting garments.
Lyocell is versatile and depending on additional treatments it can be machine washed, hand washed, or dry cleaned.
Lyocell has industrial uses as well, it is used to reinforce other materials.