Better Bedding, Part III

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lyocell-brilliantlg.jpgThe next in my series on better bedding is a relatively new, natural fiber and cotton alternative, called Lyocell. These fibers make a high quality, long-lasting fabric that is hypoallergenic, soft, and warm.

Lyocell is made from wood pulp cellulose (typically from well-managed beech and eucalyptus tree farms) and processed in an environmentally-sensitive way. Pesticides and other harmful chemicals are not commonly used in the forests. According to Organic Clothing, “The fiber is produced via an advanced ‘closed loop’ solvent spinning process, with minimal impact on the environment and economical use of energy and water. It often, though not always, uses a non-toxic solvent which is continually recycled during the production process. Chlorine bleach is also not needed as it is in conventional cotton fabric manufacturing (products with a ‘TCF’ label are chlorine free).”

The nature of lyocell lends it to fibrillate (pill) and not take to dyes easily, therefore the finishing process is sometimes less environmentally-friendly or irritating to people who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities. To control fibrillating, enzymes or chemical treatments are used and later washed out of the fabric during processing. It then becomes part of the waste water that must be treated. When looking to purchase lyocell products, be sure that the manufacturing facility used to make the product uses eco-friendly dying processes. Your best bet is to look for products made in the U.S. or Europe.

Lyocell can be used for both the filling and a lustrous outer covering for comforters, quilts, blankets, duvet covers, shams, pillows, and mattress pads. It naturally resists dust mites, fungus, and allergens, and also has a cooling effect in the summer and a warming effect in the winter.  It can be made to simulate a variety of textures like suede, leather, or silk.

It is soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage. Care instructions vary from machine washable, hand-washable, or may require dry-cleaning [not an environmentally-friendly choice unless your dry cleaner opts not to use perchloroethylene (perc)]. Wet cleaning or carbon dioxide cleaning are suitable alternatives to dry cleaning as well.

Sources: lyocell.net, Lotus Organics

Tag(s): Bed and Bath, Gift Ideas, Going Green

Comments

2 Responses to “Better Bedding, Part III”

  1. Tony Meleca on September 5th, 2008 12:15 am

    Hi JoyceB – That was a really comprehensive series on bedding. It’s about time I changed some of my bedding and your series has been timely. Cheers 🙂 Tony

  2. Tony M’s one minute intro | Organic Guide on September 5th, 2008 1:00 am

    […] well-researched, comprehensive posts on all manner of green topics. Check out the recent three part series on green bedding – very […]

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