Is this durable fabric too good to be true?


Tencel is the brand name that has been used for designer clothing made from modal and lyocell fibers. Think of Tencel over modal and lyocell, like plastic bags that close as Ziplocks and fabrics as Kleenex.

Modal and lyocell fibers are known to be incredibly soft and eco-friendly. These promising claims have recently made Tencel talk among textile producers, fashion gurus and stores. So, does this trendy fiber live up to its reputation?

In a panel that performed a blind comparison, Tencel was found to be softer than any other cotton or cotton blend sheet. Beyond its sweetness, Tencel has a number of other lucrative qualities. The fabric made from Tencel Lyocell Sheets is effortless, wrinkle resistant and also holds dye well, meaning it can be dyed in a range of vibrant hues.

Due to its superior softness, Tencel modal is generally used to make comfortable loungewear and intimate clothing. Overall, Tencel is a great option for anyone looking for clothes that are durable, long lasting, and retain their softness.

History of Tencel

Lyocell was first developed at a fiber manufacturing plant in the United States in 1972, using an advanced solvent spinning process that turned wood pulp into a textile material.

As attention to pollution gained in popularity in 1992, Tencel lyocell was introduced to the market as a new generation of more durable cellulosic fiber. In the wake of its creation, Tencel was first used in denim.

The Tencel lyocell brand was originally owned by the British chemical company Courtaulds. Tencel was Courtaulds’ foothold in the textile market, which quickly developed into Tencel Kai, a textile industry group in Japan that was responsible for promoting Tencel.

Shortly after, the “soft denim” trend was born. By blending cotton with Tencel lyocell, the jeans have a softer and more comfortable feel. This trend has taken root among manufacturers in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Soon, big brands around the world were using Tencel in their jeans, making everyday casual pants even more appealing.

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How is Tencel produced?

Tencel fiber is somewhat comparable to rayon. Both are classified as “regenerated cellulose” fibers which are created by dissolving wood fibers with a chemical solvent. Even though Tencel has a natural origin, it is still man-made. The fiber is not classified as “natural” or “synthetic”.

Tencel fibers come from trees, mainly birch, beech, spruce and eucalyptus, which are then made into fiber. Manufacturers take the wood pulp from these trees, dissolve it with a chemical solvent, and then push it through an extruder to form the fibers.

These fibers are then used to make clothes. They can be mixed with other fabrics or used alone.

Environmental impact

Tencel brand fabrics are produced with environmentally friendly processes from natural raw wood fibers from sustainable sources. Tencel fabrics are also certified biodegradable.

What is important to note is that even though Tencel is a lyocell fiber, not all lyocell fibers are Tencel branded and therefore are not guaranteed to be as environmentally friendly as Tencel fabrics. Lyocell that is not a registered trademark may be from non-sustainable sources or may be a blend containing a blend of lyocell and other fibers.

The main factor that separates rayon from Tencel is that it requires more energy and more chemicals to produce than Tencel, a process that is unnecessary and harmful to both the workers producing the fiber and the environment. .

Tencel’s production process, on the other hand, uses wood from trees from sustainably harvested forests and uses less toxic chemicals that are recycled back into the production process. Tencel is made with a circular production system in mind, in which 99% of the chemicals and solvents used to break down wood pulp are recovered and recycled. Both biodegradable and compostable, the fibers used in Tencel can fully return to their original shape.

Compared to other common fabrics, Tencel also leads in many ways. For example, Tencel consumes 20% less water than cotton and uses five times less land than cotton production. Still, the process is not flawless, as there are still harsh chemicals and dyes used in Tencel’s production process.

Tencel vs other fabrics

Tencel is used to make products such as bedding, shirts, and pants, among other items that are also typically made from fabrics such as linen and cotton. So, is there any benefit to using Tencel instead of these natural materials?

There are a number of qualities that distinguish Tencel from more common fabrics. Tencel absorbs moisture more effectively than cotton and is a anti-perspiration material. This could make Tencel an ideal fabric for people living in rainy climates or for people with moisture-sensitive skin that might be irritated by damp clothing.

Due to the fine hairs on the outer surface of the fiber strands, Tencel is also easily moldable. Manufacturers can shape fibers into a variety of shapes, from a silky smooth finish to a soft suede-like texture without compromising the quality of the end product.

Tencel lyocell fibers are known to be breathable, elastic and wrinkle-resistant. The breathability of Tencel makes it a top choice in sportswear and a great alternative to cotton in sportswear.

Despite its many selling points, the Tencel also has a few drawbacks. Tencel and lyocell in general are more expensive than other fabrics. The fabric costs more to produce due to the technology used in processing.

A significant amount of chemicals are required in the production process of Tencel. Although the chemicals are not toxic, they can cause skin irritation if your skin is particularly sensitive.

The future of Tencel

Yanshan Zhang / Getty Images

With continued recognition and commitment to the importance of sustainability, Tencel has the potential to occupy an important place in the future of fashion. From many points of view, there is little reason why Tencel should not replace other fabrics in a wide variety of clothing items. Its versatility, durability, soft, shiny feel, and lighter carbon footprint certainly help promote Tencel.

However, Tencel’s production capacity is much lower than that of cotton and other fabrics, which makes it difficult to replace in quantity. Expanding Tencel’s production facilities can increase its availability while simultaneously reducing production costs.

With increased demand from the fashion industry to adopt environmentally friendly practices, Tencel’s production capacity may increase, opening up possibilities for it to become an increasingly central fabric.


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