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Fabric Guide: What is Tencel Fabric?

The concept of environmental protection has been propelling the advancement of sustainable fabrics and catalyzing transformative shifts in the textile industry. As a professional fabric supplier, we are delighted to introduce you to a fabric known as “Tencel.”

Since its debut, it has garnered immense popularity and emerged as a rising star in the textile industry. We have curated this guide to assist you in acquainting yourself with Tencel fabric.

What is Tencel Fabric?

Tencel fabric is crafted from cellulose fibers sourced from renewable wood materials and undergoes a series of chemical processes. With its smoothness, softness, and breathability, Tencel offers a versatile range of applications and delivers a comfortable experience. 

It has captivated high-end brands, fashion designers, and everyday individuals alike, emerging as an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to traditional textiles. Once you acquaint yourself with it, you won’t be able to forget it.

The Origin of Tencel Fabric: Tencel and Lyocell

Strictly speaking, Tencel is a brand name owned by Lenzing AG, an Austrian company. 

Essentially, Tencel refers to a type of fabric made from lyocell fibers. Lyocell fiber was initially developed by Courtaulds Fibers in the 1980s. In 1990, Lenzing AG acquired the lyocell fiber technology, leading to the production and commercialization of Tencel.

Since the brand name “Tencel” is exclusive to Lenzing AG, only lyocell fibers produced by them can be called Tencel. However, with the dissemination of technology and information, the popularity of Tencel fabric has surged, and it has become a common term for this type of lyocell fiber.

Tencel is a specific type of lyocell fiber, but not all lyocell fibers are referred to as Tencel. This distinction arises from the fact that lyocell encompasses cellulose fibers produced through solvent-spinning techniques.

To provide a clearer understanding, we can liken lyocell to tissue, while Tencel represents a specific brand name within the tissue category.

What is Tencel Fabric Made of?

Tencel fabric is derived from natural and renewable wood, with a particular emphasis on eucalyptus trees. However, it is not directly woven from wood or wood fibers; instead, a chemical process is involved. Let’s explore the complete production process of Tencel fabric.

How is Tencel Fabric Made?

  1. Harvesting of Wood

To uphold the principles of sustainable development, the wood utilized for producing Tencel fabrics is typically sourced from sustainably managed forests. Eucalyptus or other hardwood trees are harvested responsibly to minimize the ecological impact of production.

  1. Wood Pulp Production

The wood is mechanically broken down into small pieces and then processed with chemical solvents to create wood pulp.

  1. Fiber Production

The wood pulp, containing cellulose fibers, is dissolved in a chemical solvent and undergoes a reaction to form a viscous solution. The chemical solvent used is usually non-toxic and is recycled through a closed-loop process with a recycling rate of over 99%. 

The viscous solution is then extruded through spinnerets into a coagulation bath, where it solidifies into continuous fibers.

  1. Fabric Weaving

The formed fibers are washed and dried, after which they can be processed into yarn using traditional spinning techniques. Various intricate weaving or knitting methods are employed to create fabrics. Tencel fabric undergoes final dyeing and finishing processes, resulting in soft fabrics available in a wide range of colors and prints that we see.

Is Tencel Fabric Sustainable?

Now that you know how Tencel fabric is made, let’s explore a question that concerns many people: Is Tencel fabric sustainable?

The answer is: Yes, Tencel is considered sustainable.

Based on the production process mentioned above, we understand that Tencel fabric is crafted from renewable raw materials, and the cultivation of eucalyptus trees requires minimal water and pesticides. Additionally, the energy consumption during production is deficient, which is fantastic!

However, your concern, shared by many, may revolve around the use of chemical solvents. When Tencel is produced using the Lyocell process, it utilizes non-toxic solvents and effectively recovers chemicals through a closed-loop production system, significantly reducing its environmental impact.

Furthermore, Tencel fabric distinguishes itself from synthetic fabrics like polyester as it is derived from natural sources and is semi-synthetic, enabling it to decompose at the end of its lifespan naturally.

Tencel fabric stands out as one of the most sustainable fabrics in the textile industry. To ensure peace of mind when making a purchase, you can opt for certified Tencel fabrics, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or OEKO-TEX-Standard 100.

What Fabric is Tencel?

Tencel is a fabric that falls under the category of cellulose fibers and is derived from natural wood pulp. Since its introduction, it has gained popularity and admiration for its softness, breathability, and excellent drape. Today, it remains a popular choice for clothing and home textiles.

If you’re interested in learning more about Tencel fabric and its variations, we would be delighted to provide you with further information.

What is Tencel Lyocell Fabric?

Tencel Lyocell fabric is the original form of Tencel fabric and is typically produced using cellulose fibers extracted from eucalyptus wood pulp. It possesses the notable characteristics of Tencel fabric: softness, smoothness, and breathability. 

The term “Lyocell” denotes its manufacturing process, which involves the use of non-toxic solvents and a closed-loop production system, contributing to its sustainability.

Tencel Lyocell fabric holds a favorable reputation in the market, and those seeking its benefits often utilize it in home textiles and clothing for maximum comfort.

What is Tencel Modal Fabric?

Tencel Modal is another sustainable fabric that utilizes the Lyocell process to transform beechwood pulp into textiles. Tencel Modal fabric offers a silky texture, excellent durability, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability. People appreciate the luxurious and elegant feel of Tencel Modal and are captivated by its natural luster.

Tencel Modal fabric excels in the realm of clothing, including underwear, loungewear, and activewear, as it can adapt to various styles.

What is Tencel Denim Fabric?

Tencel Denim fabric is a variation of Tencel fabric. Sustainably sourced wood pulp undergoes various processes to be spun into yarn and then woven using denim techniques, resulting in denim fabric. It maintains the classic appearance of denim while surpassing traditional denim in terms of performance. 

Tencel Denim fabric offers enhanced softness, graceful drape, and excellent breathability. Its notable advantage lies in its sustainability, aligning with current market trends.

Tencel Denim fabric can enhance your wardrobe with essential denim pieces like jeans, jackets, dresses, and more. It ensures comfortable to wear even in hot environments.

What is Tencel Twill Fabric?

Tencel Twill fabric refers to fabric woven using twill weaving techniques. It showcases distinct textured features with a diagonal pattern, lending the fabric a unique texture and subtle sheen. Tencel Twill fabric is not only durable but also sustainable, making it an excellent choice for environmentally conscious individuals like yourself.

Where can Tencel Twill fabric commonly be found? You can discover a variety of applications for Tencel Twill fabric, including shirts, dresses, jackets, curtains, interior decorations, and more.

What is Tencel Blend Fabric?

Tencel blend fabric is created by combining Tencel fibers with other materials such as cotton, spandex, or polyester to enhance the fabric’s performance. 

For example, cotton Tencel fabric is a blend of cotton fibers and Tencel fibers. This combination improves the breathability and moisture-wicking properties to a certain extent while maintaining the smoothness and softness of Tencel. The performance of the fabric can be affected by the blend ratio.

Tencel blend fabric has a wide range of applications. You have the option to select Tencel blend fabrics with different compositions based on your specific needs. These fabrics can be used in clothing, accessories, bedding, and interior decor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tencel Fabric

Pros of Tencel Fabric

  • Tencel fabric offers a smooth texture.

Despite undergoing chemical processing, Tencel fabric made from natural wood pulp maintains its smoothness. This makes it more skin-friendly, without causing any irritating friction. Additionally, the smoothness enhances the fabric’s draping and flow, resulting in a more visually pleasing appearance.

  • Tencel fabric is soft.

The softness of Tencel fabric is comparable to that of silk, providing a gentle and soothing sensation against the skin. Soft items naturally attract people, encouraging them to touch and feel. The softness of Tencel fabric significantly reduces the risk of irritation or discomfort, even for sensitive skin.

  • Tencel fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable.

Tencel fabric’s moisture-wicking ability surpasses that of cotton, which is well-known for its moisture absorption, by 5-10 times. Its unique structure ensures effective moisture absorption, keeping sweat away from the body and maintaining skin health by preventing bacterial growth. Its excellent breathability facilitates moisture evaporation, keeping the fabric clean and dry.

  • Tencel fabric provides exceptional comfort.

With its luxurious appearance and smooth, soft texture, Tencel fabric offers a pleasant sensation when touched. These qualities ensure a comfortable experience when in contact with the fabric. Its outstanding breathability and moisture-wicking properties guarantee comfort during use.

  • Tencel fabric maintains shape effectively.

Thanks to its unique fiber structure and manufacturing process, Tencel fabric retains its original shape even after repeated wear and washing. This ensures the durability of various applications, such as clothing, bedding, and curtains, allowing them to remain visually appealing for an extended period.

  • Tencel fabric is eco-friendly.

Both the raw materials and production process of Tencel fabric require minimal energy consumption. Additionally, manufacturing technique advancements have significantly reduced chemical solvents’ ecological impact. Tencel fabric supports natural decomposition, alleviating concerns about pollution.

Cons of Tencel Fabric

  1. Tencel fabric is typically more expensive than synthetic fabrics and pure cotton.
  2. Tencel fabric is susceptible to damage when exposed to friction.
  3. Tencel fabric is sensitive to temperature and can become stiff in humid and hot environments.
  4. Tencel fabric is prone to wrinkling and requires careful cleaning and storage.

What is Tencel Fabric Used for?

In our previous discussion of the advantages of Tencel fabric, we didn’t delve into its versatility. Here, we will provide a detailed introduction to its uses. You can explore the following applications to find your purposes for Tencel fabric, or they might even inspire new projects.

Fashion Industry

The elegant drape and gentle touch of Tencel fabric make it highly appealing for a wide range of clothing. It seamlessly adapts to different styles, eliminating compatibility concerns. Now is the time to expand your wardrobe and try Tencel shirts, dresses, pants, activewear, and more. They are sure to elicit a “WOW” from you.

Home Furnishings

Home furnishing is where Tencel fabric truly shines. Tencel bedding, in particular, is highly sought after in today’s market, offering a comfortable night’s sleep, especially in hot weather. Its excellent absorbency makes it ideal for towels, bathrobes, and more. 

Have you ever considered using Tencel fabric to decorate your home? Replace your sofa covers, seat cushions, and curtains with Tencel, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Other Applications

Tencel fabric’s environmentally friendly production addresses the diverse sustainability needs of various industries. If you seek sustainable and eco-friendly products, don’t hesitate to choose Tencel. Additionally, it finds utility in the medical field for creating dressings and other medical textiles.

Care Guide for Tencel Fabric

When we purchase a Tencel product, we naturally hope it will accompany us for a long time which requires proper care. Therefore, we have compiled the common questions you may have during the care process and provided professional answers for you.

Can You Wash Tencel Fabric?

Absolutely. Tencel fabric is machine washable. Simply set the machine to a gentle cycle, and you can easily free up your hands. To ensure that Tencel remains undamaged, pay attention to the following:

  • Use a neutral detergent and avoid using soap or laundry powder.
  • Wash with cold or lukewarm water at around 30 degrees Celsius, while avoiding hot water.
  • Avoid soaking for an extended period; the time should not exceed 10 minutes.
  • Avoid scrubbing or brushing.
  • Air dry naturally—do not wring or expose it to direct sunlight.

Can You Use Fabric Softener on Tencel?

It is generally not recommended to use fabric softener when cleaning Tencel fabric. Tencel fabric itself is already very soft, and the residue from fabric softener may actually affect the fabric’s texture and performance. Using a dedicated mild detergent is sufficient.

How to Iron Tencel Fabric?

  1. Set the iron to a low to medium temperature.
  2. Place a cloth on top of the Tencel fabric.
  3. Gently press the iron on top and move it steadily and continuously.
  4. Avoid leaving the iron in one place for too long, as it may damage the fabric.
  5. Continue ironing, paying special attention to wrinkles or folds without applying excessive pressure.
  6. After ironing, hang or lay the Tencel fabric flat and let it cool completely.

Tencel vs Cotton

Contrast dimension Tencel Cotton
Source Derived from wood pulp, typically eucalyptus trees Obtained from cotton plant’s seed pods
Characteristics More soft and smooth

Higher moisture absorption

Breathable

Sustainable

Soft and comfortable

Moisture absorption

Breathable

Durable

Price Higher cost Cost-effective
Application Apparel

Home Textiles

Industrial applications

Apparel

Home Textiles

Industrial applications

From the information provided in the table, we can clearly observe the similarities and differences between these two fabrics. While we may not be able to definitively determine whether Tencel or cotton is superior, you can choose the one that best fits your preferences.

Tencel is an innovative fabric resulting from modern technology. It boasts a silky-smooth surface, enhanced softness, and superior moisture absorption compared to cotton. Notably, it is also considered a sustainable fabric, albeit relatively more expensive.

Cotton has a longer historical background and is widely recognized as the most commonly used fabric. Its applications are similar to those of Tencel. Cotton is known for its softness and breathability, although it lacks the luxurious silkiness of Tencel. 

While cotton exhibits good moisture absorption, it may retain moisture for a longer duration. Moreover, cotton is highly durable and offers a more budget-friendly price point.

FAQs About Tencel Fabric

Is Tencel fabric toxic?

Tencel fabric is non-toxic, allowing you to use it with confidence. The production of Tencel fabric undergoes rigorous oversight by regulatory authorities. This ensures the use of non-toxic solutions and employs a closed-loop production process for effective solvent recycling. To ensure safety, you can look for fabrics certified with the OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

Does Tencel shrink?

Compared to other natural fiber fabrics, Tencel fabric has a lower shrinkage rate. Shrinkage typically occurs when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, we recommend using cold water for washing, avoiding sun exposure, and using low-heat settings for ironing.

Is Tencel fabric stretchy?

While Tencel fabric doesn’t possess inherent elasticity like spandex, it can be blended with elastic fibers to enhance its stretchability.

Does Tencel fabric pill?

Due to its smooth and tightly woven structure, Tencel fabric generally doesn’t pill. However, excessive friction or agitation during use or washing may result in some degree of pilling. Therefore, proper care is necessary to ensure the long-lasting comfort of Tencel fabric.

Is Tencel fabric good for summer?

Absolutely! Tencel fabric is an excellent choice for the summer season. It offers exceptional breathability and high moisture absorption, effectively wicking away sweat and aiding in heat dissipation to keep your body dry. Additionally, its soft and smooth texture, along with its excellent drape, provides a comfortable feel against the skin, making it highly suitable for hot environments.

Conclusion

Choosing sustainable Tencel fabric is a responsible way to take care of our planet. At Sinosilk, we provide custom Tencel scarves and blends, including silk Tencel scarves. Our professional factory maintains strict quality control, ensuring the delivery of the finest Tencel products to you. If you have any other ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with you!

More Resources:

What is Modal Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

What is Silk – Source: Sinosilk

What is Viscose Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

What is Rayon Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

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