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Bamboo Fabric: A Buyer’s Guide for Bamboo Clothing

What makes bamboo fabric so extraordinary for you and your little bub? This ultra-soft, environmentally conscious fabric comes from materials derived from the bamboo plant. Manufacturers turn bamboo pulp into various types of sustainable fibres used in many applications—including your little one's clothing, bedding, and more.

How is bamboo fabric made?

The bamboo plant is harvested, processed into fibre, spun into yarn, and woven into a luxuriously soft fabric. There are two processes that can be used to achieve this result:

  1. The mechanical process is environmentally-friendly. Bamboo stalks are cut and crushed, then treated with natural enzymes. After washing and spinning these fibres into yarn, the resulting textile often has an oh-so-soft feel.
  2. The chemical process is more efficient, but the agents used to make the bamboo fabric are less healthy for people and the planet. In this method, chemicals like sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid break down the bamboo stalks. The dissolved cellulose becomes fibres that manufacturers may treat with additional chemicals before it becomes thread.

At Nest Designs, we opt for eco-friendly fabrics that are sustainably grown, harvested, and processed. We look for fabrics made using natural processing methods, less water and energy, and a small carbon footprint.

Bamboo fabric

What are the different types of bamboo fabric?

There are several types of bamboo fabric, but they are all special in their own ways. The differences in these materials come down to how they are manufactured, treated, or blended with other fabrics. These activities affect the feel, durability, and other features of the fabric, resulting in sub-types of bamboo material. 

Some examples of the different types of bamboo fabric include:

  • Bamboo linen: known for its durability and naturally soft texture.
  • Bamboo rayon: a soft and smooth textile that is the most used in clothing.
  • Bamboo viscose: a material that's a bit softer and more durable than rayon.
  • Bamboo lyocell: a satin-like, breathable fabric.
  • Bamboo silk: offers a smooth, delicate texture similar to traditional silk.
  • Tanboocel: combines bamboo cellulose with Tanboocel, a sustainably sourced wood pulp, for enhanced softness, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties.
  • Bamboo jersey: made by knitting bamboo fibres, resulting in a stretchy, comfortable, and breathable material.
Nest Designs bamboo fabric

How does bamboo fabric feel?

Bamboo fabric has a luxurious softness and premium comfort. The feel of high-end bamboo fabric may seem similar to silk or cashmere. The material has a smooth, soothing texture and natural cooling effect, offering unparalleled comfort when used in clothing. 

It stays soft, even after numerous washes, making bamboo fabric a top choice for baby clothing and bedding. 

Is bamboo fabric sustainable?

Bamboo fabric has earned a reputation for being eco-friendly, but some factors add to the plant's sustainability:

  • Bamboo grows quickly, making it a highly renewable resource (but it must be grown without pesticides to be eco-friendly).
  • The plants have a low environmental impact, need minimal water, and have natural pest resistance. 
  • Bamboo isn't picky about the climate it grows in, helping it thrive in numerous locations globally.

Unfortunately, not all bamboo fabrics are sustainable, especially those made using chemicals, which raise environmental concerns. Choosing bamboo fabrics made with mechanical methods is likely the most sustainable option and one that we at Nest Designs focus on. 

What are the benefits of bamboo fabric?

There are many reasons people adore bamboo fabric; it offers many benefits, including:

  1. Plush feel: bamboo fabric is incredibly soft, making it gentle on sensitive skin, perfect for newborns and those with skin sensitivities.
  2. Breathability and moisture-wicking: bamboo fabric keeps you cool and dry in warm weather by allowing better airflow than other fabrics.
  3. Hypoallergenic: the fabric's natural properties make it resistant to dust mites and mould, making it an excellent option for those with allergies or skin irritations.
  4. Antibacterial: Bamboo contains natural antimicrobial properties that can help prevent bacterial growth and odour, keeping clothing fresher for extended periods.
  5. Thermo-regulating: bamboo fabric adapts to body temperature, providing warmth in colder weather and coolness in warmer conditions.
  6. Sustainability: bamboo is a highly renewable resource that grows rapidly and requires minimal water.
  7. Durability: though it's oh-so-soft, bamboo fabric is also surprisingly strong.
  8. Versatility: Bamboo blends well with other materials such as cotton, Tencel, or spandex, enhancing its properties and expanding its range of uses.
Nest Designs sleep bag

What are the downsides of bamboo fabric?

Though bamboo seems like a perfect fabric at the outset, this type of material has a few potential downsides. Some things to consider when selecting bamboo clothing, bedding, and other textiles include:

  • Chemical processing may harm the environment and workers if not managed properly.
  • There may be industry greenwashing due to a lack of regulation with bamboo fabrics. Some products labelled as "bamboo" may not accurately reflect the material's manufacturing process. Additionally, quality and eco-friendliness can vary widely between manufacturers and brands.
  • Bamboo may shrink in the wash more than other materials, so following care instructions is vital to maintain quality. (Find out how to care for your bamboo clothing)

Being mindful of these downsides can help you make informed decisions about choosing the best bamboo fabric for your family.

Is bamboo safe for babies?

Environmentally-friendly bamboo fabric is safe for babies because it’s healthy, promotes airflow, stays fresh for longer, and it’s skin-friendly. Wrapping your little bub in the coziest, premium materials helps them stay comfy, too. Bamboo fabric keeps little ones snug, and it's also safe for babies because it is:

  • Gentle on skin and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions compared to some synthetic materials.
  • Hypoallergenic with natural properties that often make it resistant to dust mites and other allergens, which can be beneficial for babies prone to allergies or skin sensitivities.
  • Highly breathable and moisture-wicking, helping to keep babies cool and dry to prevent rashes and discomfort.
  • Naturally antibacterial due to antimicrobial agents that can help prevent bacterial growth and odour, keeping baby clothing fresher for longer.

However, check the product certification to ensure a bamboo fabric is safe for your little love. Always look for certified organic or OEKO-TEX Standard 100 labelled bamboo fabrics to ensure they meet stringent safety and environmental standards. (Read about Nest Designs certifications on Our Fabrics page.)

Do babies sleep better in bamboo?

While there is no magic material that helps improve your baby's sleep, bamboo fabric can certainly contribute to better sleeping conditions by helping your little one stay as comfortable as possible. 

Since bamboo fabric is breathable, it's easier for babies to regulate their temperature and reduce the risk of overheating. Bamboo also wicks away moisture, keeping your little one dry. Of course, putting them to sleep while hugged gently by a comfy bamboo sleep suit keeps them cozy during bedtime, too. 

Nest Designs swaddle sleep bag

Is bamboo clothing good for babies with eczema?

Bamboo clothing can benefit babies with eczema due to its hypoallergenic and soft nature. As a naturally hypoallergenic fabric, bamboo is less likely to cause potential skin irritations that could impact their slumber. Bamboo fabric is also extra gentle for delicate and irritated skin, with softness that reduces friction and possible discomfort caused by eczema. 

Additionally, as a fabric that breathes and wicks away moisture, bamboo helps reduce moisture buildup on the skin. It keeps it dry, minimizing the risk of irritation and itching that often comes with eczema.

Is bamboo a healthy fabric

Yes, bamboo fabric is often considered a healthy choice for several reasons. It's known for being soft, breathable, hypoallergenic, and moisture-wicking, making it comfortable to wear, especially in warmer weather. Bamboo also has natural antibacterial properties that can help reduce odours and keep the fabric fresher for longer.

Is bamboo fabric hypoallergenic? 

Bamboo fabric is hypoallergenic, making it less likely to cause allergic reactions. The natural properties of bamboo fibres are less irritating to sensitive skin than some other fabrics. Bamboo fabric tends to be smooth and soft and doesn't have spurs or irritants that can aggravate the skin. 

Is bamboo the same as rayon?

There's bamboo, rayon, and bamboo rayon—they're similar but not the same thing. Bamboo fabric comes from bamboo pulp, which undergoes different processes to create fibres used in textiles. However, rayon material is semi-synthetic and includes various types of fibres. And bamboo rayon is a blend of the two.

Is bamboo fabric better than cotton? 

Bamboo fabric and cotton are natural materials with unique characteristics, and which is "better" depends on personal preferences and specific needs.

Bamboo has some advantages over cotton:

  • Softer
  • Better Moisture-wicking
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Sustainable plant source
  • Not as prone to wrinkling

Cotton also has advantages over bamboo:

  • More breathable
  • More versatile
  • It may be less expensive than bamboo fabric

Choosing bamboo fabric and cotton depends on what factors are most important to you. See our Fabric Guide for help determining the best sustainable fabrics for your unique little one.

Is bamboo as breathable as cotton?

Bamboo is a breathable fabric but falls just shy of the breathability cotton offers. However, depending on the material's weave, the breathability of some bamboo fabrics may be comparable to cotton. 

Both fabrics are lovely in their own ways but in terms of breathability, both bamboo and cotton are considered great options. The choice between the two might come from other factors like softness, sustainability, or specific preferences.

Is bamboo clothing cooler than linen?

Bamboo and linen are highly breathable fabrics that help keep you and your little one cool in warm weather, but linen has a slight edge over bamboo in this department. Linen has exceptional breathability and moisture-wicking abilities, making it perfect for summer. Bamboo fabric also offers excellent moisture-wicking and breathability and is great for year-round use. 

Why is bamboo clothing so expensive?

There are reasons for the elevated price tag on bamboo clothing. Bamboo can sometimes be more expensive than other fabrics because of:

  • An involved production process: though bamboo is fast-growing, manufacturing is labour-intensive.
  • Quality and durability: premium bamboo products contribute to a higher price point.
  • Supply and demand: limited availability or specialized production can increase the price.
  • Certification and standards: bamboo fabric that adheres to specific standards may be more expensive due to the certification process.

How is bamboo fabric used?

Bamboo fabric is used in many ways due to its unique properties. Some common uses:

Adult Clothing: Bamboo fabric is widely used in clothing manufacturing. It's often used to make comfortable and soft garments such as: 

Bamboo shirts  |  Bamboo cotton underwear  |  Bamboo leggings  |  Bamboo nursing tops

Nest Basics

Baby/Kids Products and Clothing: Because of its hypoallergenic properties and cozy softness, bamboo fabric is used in making baby types of baby products such as: 

Bamboo sleep sacks  |  Bamboo sleep suits  |  Bamboo long sleeve onesie  |  Bamboo crib sheet  |  Bamboo toddler/kids' underwear  |  Bamboo romper  |  Bamboo duvet covers

Nest Designs baby clothes

Home Textiles: its softness and absorbency make bamboo fabric a popular choice for linens. Bamboo fabric is used in producing: 

Bamboo blankets  |  Bamboo twin sheets  |  Bamboo pillowcases  |  Bamboo nursing covers  |  Bamboo bathrobes

Nest Designs

Accessories: Bamboo fabric is used to make accessories with a soft and luxurious feel. These accessories may include:

Bamboo Bibs  |  Bamboo Smocks  |  Bamboo Headbands

Nest Designs

How long do bamboo clothes last?

The lifespan of bamboo clothing can vary based on several factors, such as the quality of the fabric, how it's cared for, and how frequently it's worn and washed. Generally, bamboo clothing is durable and can last many years if cared for properly. Like other well-made textiles, high-quality bamboo fabric can retain its softness, shape, and colour for an extended period. However, frequent washing, harsh detergents, and rough handling can affect its lifespan.

Bamboo: The perfect choice for comfort

Bamboo fabric is an exquisite material that you and your little one will love. From cozy bamboo clothing to soft bedding and more, this natural textile offers incomparable comfort for your family. 

Experience the perks of premium bamboo by shopping the Nest Designs Basics Collection.