These days, natural, organic fabrics are very popular. There's a lot of talk about hemp fabric for its obvious properties. Not many know about bamboo.
We are all aware that bamboo is a plant, which is commonly grown in Asia. It is sometimes referred to as a grass, but it also has a hard, woody and hollow stem which is very strong and durable.
Bamboo is most commonly used as a food source around the world. Most of us know by now that the giant panda enjoys bamboo, they live almost completely on bamboo plants. Not many in the western world use bamboo in cooking, but it is used all over Asia. Bamboo has a crisp texture and light, sweet flavor. It generally assumes the flavor of ingredients it is combined with, so bamboo shoots are often used as fillers in Asian cuisine. While some bamboo can be eaten raw, some varieties must be cooked to remove some toxic elements.
It is also used as a material in construction. Because of its hard surface, and its ability to grow quickly, it is considered to be one of the best renewable resources on this planet. Unfortunately, most bamboo used in construction is chemically treated to ward off rot, and insects. This affects its ability to be labeled a 'green' product. Nearly anything made of wood can be made from bamboo. Depending on the type of wood, some woods are quite soft, bamboo is often better than wood for its great strength.
Bamboo fabric is made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. It is a sustainable fiber because the bamboo plant is very quick growing and does not usually need pesticides or herbicides to thrive. It will degrade in soil and it is pollution-free to the environment after decomposing. Plantations can be easily kept organic, and replenished yearly. Bamboo fiber has only been on the market since the latter years of the 20th century. It was developed by Chinese corporations to counter the all too popular cotton fabrics. The fiber is similar to the cotton fiber, in its unspun form. To make the fiber, it is heavily pulped until it separates into thin fibrous threads. It is then spun and dyed like other fibers such as wool and silks, and woven into cloth. The fabric is very soft and can be used close to the skin. In fact, the bamboo fiber works similarly to Gortex in its ability to wick moisture away from the skin. Many people, who have allergic reactions to fibers, are not affected by this non chemically treated fiber. It is naturally smooth unlike some fibers such as hemp and wool which have spurs in the fiber leading to reactions. In a woven or textile form, bamboo is known as an antibacterial fabric. This antibacterial effect is retained even after several washings. It kills odor causing bacteria that usually thrives on clothing causing unpleasant odors. It can also kill odor causing bacteria that lives on skin, leaving the wearer and their clothes smelling sweeter. It has insulating properties, keeping the wearer cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It is also creates a ultra-violet protection from the sun. It can be blended with most other fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, silk, and Dacron.