This Popular “Natural” Fabric Can Harm The Environment: How To Buy Better


Viscose fabric is made from cellulose that’s been extracted from the bark, wood, or leaves of plants.

It’s most often made from bamboo, pine, or eucalyptus trees, but it can also be created from more unique plant products like corn husks, citrus byproducts, and sugar cane.

Once these raw materials are collected, they’re sent to a manufacturer to be broken down and spun into yarn in a chemical-intensive process. So, while viscose is made from natural materials, it’s a heavily processed fabric.

Viscose is most often used to make clothing (especially loungewear and activewear), but you’ll also find it in home textiles.

The finished material tends to be super soft, breathable, durable, and moisture-wicking, and it holds color well. It’s also relatively affordable (viscose was actually created to be a cheaper alternative to silk in the early 20th century). Since it blends well, you’ll often find it combined with materials like cotton, polyester, and hemp to increase the softness of a garment.

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