Viscose vs Silk – The Ultimate Comparison

Silk, a luxurious fabric that originated in China, was spread throughout the world by the silk trade. Despite its high price, silk has remained a beloved choice for its softness and sheen since then. However, to provide a more economical option, viscose was developed, which has gained more and more popularity over time. As a result, the discussion between these two fabrics has raged. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive comparison of these two fabrics.

What is Viscose?

Viscose is a fabric that shares some similarities with silk. It is a semi-synthetic fabric made from plant-based cellulose fiber derived from wood pulp and produced through several artificial chemical processes. Initially, it was used for making furniture items and later also used to make clothing. Unlike polyester and other chemical fiber materials, viscose is a relatively environmentally friendly and safe material.

What is Silk?

Silk is made from natural protein fibers and this fiber is one of the earliest animal fibers that humans have been using. Among them, mulberry silk fiber filament yarn is the most important one and makes up the majority of natural filament yarn. Silk products are known for being exceptionally comfortable to wear, and their skin friendliness stands out in various fabrics. It is also considered one of the finest fabric materials worldwide.

Viscose vs Silk

Texture

Both viscose and silk radiate vibrant colors and excellent luster with good drape. Silk is smoother and softer than viscose.

Stretch

When it comes to stretchiness, silk outperforms viscose as it is made from fibers composed of protein fibers with good elasticity and resilience, making it stretchy and less prone to wrinkles compared to viscose. Viscose, on the other hand, is not as stretchy as many other fabrics and is usually easily creased, however, there are many ways to enhance the stretch of viscose, such as viscose blends.

Comfortableness

Viscose and silk are both lightweight and highly breathable fabrics with a great capacity to absorb moisture and are perfect for those who sweat during sleep. Besides, Silk fabric contains amino acids and is therefore great on sensitive skin.

Environmentally Friendly

  • Water Consumption and Water Pollution

Although viscose dyes more easily than silk with fewer procedures, reducing water consumption, the raw materials of viscose can cause water pollution when treated chemically in production. 

Silk from natural animal protein fibers will not have pesticide residues, thus reducing water pollution during production processing.

  • Biodegradability and Sustainability

Viscose can completely biodegrade in approximately 8 weeks and is not harmful to human or environmental health. 

Silk is not only biodegradable but also sustainable. The waste materials from the silk production process can be recycled and turned into valuable new fibers for other uses. 

Comparing Applications of Viscose and Silk

  • Viscose

Viscose is a versatile material. It can be used to make comfortable pajamas, underwear, home textiles (such as towels or carpets), embroidery, and decorative shoelaces. Additionally, viscose also has uses in the medical field, especially in the production of medical tools such as medical bandages.

  • Silk

Like viscose, silk can be used to create a variety of products, from upscale garments such as men’s formal shirts, suits, and ties to home textiles. In addition, as a suitable material for medical sutures, silk can degrade to amino acids and be absorbed by the body.

How to Tell the Difference Between Viscose and Silk?

Squeezing Test

First, hold the fabric in your hands and squeeze it tightly, then release it. Then observe the wrinkles appear on the fabric. If the fabric is silk, your squeeze will not leave any wrinkles because of its elasticity and high wrinkle resistance. However, if the fabric is viscose, it will leave noticeable wrinkles and it takes some time for the wrinkles to disappear completely.

Fabric Burn Test

  • The Smell of Burning

Pull out the threads of the fabric for burning. Viscose burns with a smell that is similar to the smell of burning paper. However, Silk burns with a smell similar to burning hair or wool, because they are all protein fibers like silk.

  • The Speed and Flame of Burning

Viscose is very flammable and burns quickly with a yellow flame. Silk, however, burns slowly with no visible flame, and stops burning as soon as the flame leaves the fabric.

  • The Ashes of Burning

Viscose burns with little ash. The ash is smooth, light gray, or grayish-white and twisted. Meanwhile, silk shrinks when it burns, and the ash that remains is in the form of small black-brown balls that crush to powder when rubbed between fingers.

FAQs

Is Viscose Better than Silk?

Viscose and silk have their advantages and disadvantages. That is why your needs and preferences should be prioritized when we are talking about which fabric is a better one. If you are looking for a fabric that is both natural and soft on the skin, then silk is the right choice. However, if you are on a budget and still want a fabric with the texture of silk, then viscose is a better alternative.

Is Viscose More Expensive than Silk?

No, viscose is usually cheaper than Silk, and the price of silk is about twice as much as that of viscose. This is because the process of making silk is complicated and time-consuming, requiring expensive raw materials and high labor costs. In contrast, Viscose has a much wider source of raw materials and low production costs, making it a more economical option.

Conclusion

Although viscose is becoming more and more popular due to its wide range of applications, silk still stands out in the high-end market because of its luxurious quality. As we mentioned previously, it’s important to consider your specific needs when you are choosing between viscose and silk, as there’s no one best fabric, only the one that is most suitable for you. You can find more related information in the “More Resources” section below. If you are still unsure about which fabric to choose, feel free to contact us at Sinosilk.

More resources:

Silk Viscose Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

Silk vs Cotton – Source: Sinosilk

Polyester vs Silk – Source: Sinosilk

Is Silk Breathable – Source: Sinosilk

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