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What is viscose?

September 26, 2014

Many manufactured clothing items have labels that say the fabric content is "viscose." This has a number of meanings and not all labels include the useful details. Use your sense of touch to determine how natural the fabric is. Does it feel soft as a new born lamb? Is it full of static? Catches on your skin as you gently swipe your fingers across the fabric? Softness is desired against the skin but if the item is full of static electricity, clings and won't let go, and catches on the slightest skin irregularity, the viscose fabric may be more synthetic than natural. I will use viscose fabrics that don't gather electricity while I wear them, don't fight to cling to the body, don't catch on every little thing that passes, don't make me sweat while wearing them,and whose fibers don't instantly snap creating little balls that don't come off and eventually render my clothing unwearable. Read on for more:
Viscose is a generic term for fibers and fabric made from natural sourced cellulose. By strict dictionary definition Viscose actually is applied only to the organic resin in liquid form before it is extruded into fibers. But it is used in textiles: after the viscose resin is extruded it is usually called rayon if it comes from evergreen trees, Tencel if it is from certain elms and hardwoods.The generic viscose of the plant source may not be identified, it comes in many weights, weaves, knits and textures. It can be very cool and comfortable in the summer. Viscose fibers come from an assortment of tree and plant materials from elm and evergreen trees to soy and bamboo. Common names for viscose type fabrics include viscose, rayon, tencel, modal, cupro, art silk and in non fabric use viscose is also turned into cellophane and cellulose and celluloid. Pretty amazing stuff! The international agency in charge of this stuff -CEITA -decided over 15 years ago that viscose and cellulose fibers and fabrics were no longer synthetics, they are now classified as natural fabrics. So enjoy: these fabrics are fantastic in hot weather, some are better than cotton at keeping the body cool.