Everything you need to know about rayon fabric sustainable

Rayon fabric sustainable is a fabric that you may come across when shopping for eco-friendly fabrics. This is a popular fabric in the fast fashion world and is considered by many to be more eco-friendly than fabrics like polyester and nylon. So what is this fabric, how is it produced and what are the advantages and disadvantages? Let’s discover the answer with Dugarco through this article!

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1. What is rayon fabric?

Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric, also known as viscose, extracted from pure cellulose fibers. Wood pulp and cotton are the materials that manufacturers use to produce rayon fabric sustainable. The manufacturing process of this fabric requires the use of several chemicals to treat the fibers.

With a soft texture like silk or linen, rayon feels soft and comfortable to wear. In addition, the fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable, making it an ideal fabric for sportswear. However, some rayon fabrics require hand washing or dry cleaning as the fabric may shrink when machine washed.

Rayon, first discovered and developed in the late 19th century, is known as rayon and is a semi-synthetic fabric. The French silk industry experienced a crisis due to a disease affecting silk in the 1860s. The result of this led to chemists seeking to produce artificial silk.

rayon fabric sustainable
Overview and a brief history of rayon fabric sustainable

The father of the rayon industry was Hilaire Bernigaud, Comte de Chardonnet. In 1891, the production of the first rayon “Chardonnet silk” began at a factory in Besançon. However, this process is slow, expensive, and dangerous. The fabric with the name we commonly call Viscose rayon was produced in 1891 and 1905 by the British silk company Samuel Courtauld & Company.

By 1925, the production of rayon had become an industry. In 1952, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) divided rayon into two categories, pure cellulose (rayon) and compound cellulose (acetate). Rayon has become a globally important fiber because of its durability and flexibility. Not only objects, manufacturers often mix it with other materials to make paper, tire cords, carpets, etc.

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2. Pros and cons of rayon sustainable

Here are some advantages of rayon fabric sustainable:

  • Rayon fabric can be used as an affordable substitute for silk, which is also the main attraction of this fabric. Because it’s stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking, and soft to the touch.
  • Rayon is comfortable and non-irritating, so it’s commonly found in blouses, trousers, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, and home decors such as bed sheets, upholstery, and blankets.
  • Rayon is a versatile fiber that blends easily with other fibers to create a bright and beautiful material for lingerie and luxury clothing.
  • The look of draped fabric creates a luxurious feel.
  • Since rayon is a rayon, it is highly absorbent and easy to dye.
  • The costs involved in the production of rayon are usually less than with other natural materials.
is rayon a sustainable fabric
Rayon fabric sustainable has high absorbency so it feels comfortable to wear

Besides, the disadvantages of rayon fabric include the following:

  • Rayon fades relatively quickly although it is easy to dye.
  • It is a difficult fabric to care for, which gets damaged every time you wash it. Because it is a rayon fiber, the durability is very low when wet.
  • A major drawback of rayon is its susceptibility to water. When exposed to water, it easily shrinks when wet, and its wrinkle resistance is reduced.
  • Since the fabric is light, it can be easily damaged when ironing if not handled carefully.
  • Another disadvantage of rayon fabric is the harmful manufacturing process. Most clothes made from rayon go through chemical processes that harm human health and the environment.

3. How is rayon fabric produced?

Although rayon can come from any plant, depending on the speed of growth and adaptability, the plants are selected as raw materials for rayon. Three common types of trees are used as raw materials for rayon fabric sustainable:

  • Eucalyptus: Native to Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and surrounding islands. They have also been grown on plantations in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, such as California and Hawaii in the United States.
  • Bamboo: Not only grows in hot regions like Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, and Latin America but also grows in colder places in the United States and the United Kingdom. The two giant bamboo species are the Moso bamboo in China and the Guadua bamboo in Latin America.
  • Oak: This tree grows naturally in the US and Europe, grown in sustainably managed forests in temperate climates.
rayon fabric eco friendly
The Origin of Materials and the production process of rayon fabric sustainable

Different types of Rayon will apply different production methods. Each will have some variation in chemical processing, treatments, and fibers, however, their manufacturing processes are similar. Here are the steps in the rayon fabric manufacturing process:

  • Harvesting wood pulp to extract cellulose.
  • Manufacturers dissolve materials such as wood pulp in caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to convert them into dry cellulose. However, when making rayon with a high moisture modulus, manufacturers often use a weaker caustic soda.
  • The manufacturer then treats the cellulose with a chemical such as carbon disulfide to form a soluble compound known as cellulose xanthate. They further bathed the cellulose xanthate in caustic soda and made a viscose solution. They filter out impurities and store them for days.
  • Manufacturers convert the viscose solution into viscose rayon. This stage is done using a spinneret that pushes the liquid through large or small holes.
  • Next, they placed it in an acid bath, which began to solidify the rayon fibers to create regenerated cellulose fibers.
  • After solidification, the yarns are subjected to different spinning methods, including ring spinning, spool spinning, and continuous spinning.
  • Manufacturers move on to washing, bleaching, drying, and stretching the fibers. With high-modulus wet rayons, manufacturers have to stretch the fibers much higher than viscose rayons.
  • The manufacturer passes the stretched yarns through the weaving process to produce rayon fabric. Finally, they treat the fibers with chemicals to add water resistance, fire resistance, and reduced shrinkage.

4. Is rayon fabric sustainable?

Not all synthetic fabrics are created equal, rayon fabric sustainable is known for being eco-friendly and potentially more sustainable than materials like polyester and nylon. However, it still causes many negative effects on the environment. More than 150 million trees are cut down every year to produce this fabric. Not only that, to produce rayon fabrics, they have to apply processes that involve chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, carbon disulfide, and sulfuric acid.

Let’s take a quick look at what those dreaded chemicals mean for textile workers. The first is sulfuric acid, which is classified as a dangerous substance that can also cause skin and eye problems. Not only that, but it also leads to reproductive complications, lung damage, burns, etc. Next is caustic soda, a chemical needed to make cellulose, which is corrosive and prone to injury. eye.

viscose rayon sustainability
Rayon fabric is a fabric that has to undergo many chemical treatments

Another chemical is carbon disulfide. For every gram of rayon fabric produced, up to 30 grams of carbon disulfide are used and released into the environment. It is also the most worrisome of all the rayon-producing chemicals. It causes degenerative brain disease and subsequent adverse effects on the nervous system of workers. Gradually, the worker will show chronic manifestations of minor personality changes, dizziness, anxiety, loss of appetite, vision changes, and Parkinson’s paralysis. Not stopping there, this chemical can also cause acute complications to the kidneys, blood, nerves, heart, liver, eyes, and skin for those with long-term exposure.

So what is the answer to the question “Is rayon fabric durable?”. Of course not. Even if workers are fully equipped with protective clothing or protective equipment from harm, the answer is still no.

In addition, we should remember that rayon belongs to the category of rayon, and rayon is made from plants. According to reports, about 70% of trees are harvested for cellulose, obtained from endangered forests. This leads to deforestation and pollution and loss of biodiversity.


5. Types of rayon fabric sustainable

3 common rayon fabric sustainable types used in the textile industry include Modal rayon, Regular rayon/ Viscose rayon, and Lyocell fabric.

5.1. Modal rayon

Modal rayon is made from plant cellulose derived from oak trees. It is also known as rayon high wet modulus (HWM). This rayon fabric sustainable is soft, breathable, and durable, and can be blended with other fibers like cotton. We often see this rayon fabric used in clothing such as pajamas, underwear, towels, and bed sheets.

bamboo rayon sustainability
Another name for the rayon model is rayon high wet modulus

5.2. Regular rayon/ Viscose rayon

Viscose rayon fabric is the most common and common type of rayon. This fabric is extracted from raw materials such as wood pulp, which is then mixed with natural and synthetic fibers by manufacturers and made into fabrics in a variety of lengths and textures. Viscose rayon sustainable has many different uses, however, it has low wet strength and shrinks when washed.

bamboo rayon sustainability
Rayon viscose is one of the popular rayon fabric sustainable

5.3. Lyocell fabric

Lyocell is another rayon fabric sustainable and made from cellulose fibers. It is produced by dissolving materials such as wood pulp from eucalyptus trees or mixing it with cotton or linen. Rayon lyocell is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics compared to the other two. Because of the production process, it is less harsh chemicals.

viscose rayon sustainability
Lyocell fabric is environmentally friendly and has a high cost

Lyocell is not only better environmentally, but it is also more durable and absorbent. In addition, it has more elasticity and better handling of moisture. Therefore, the price of lyocell fabric is higher than that of common rayon and model rayon. Lyocell is often used to produce eco-friendly clothing such as towels, jeans, t-shirts, and skirts.

6. Compare sustainable rayon with cotton fabric

Rayon fabric sustainable


Has poor color fastness, fast fading Good color fastness
A semi-synthetic fiber A natural fiber
Poor durability, easy to damage when wet More durable
Flammable Not easy to catch fire
Easy to imitate silk Hardly like luxurious silk fabric
Rayon cannot be used as a medical product Cotton can be used as a medical product to clean the body
Biodegradable easier Less biodegradation
viscose fabric sustainable
The difference between rayon fabric sustainable and cotton fabric


7. Questions related to rayon fabric sustainable

Here are four common questions regarding rayon fabric sustainable:

7.1. Is rayon fabric natural or synthetic?

Any material is created through chemical treatment and then cooled, heated, or converted through additional chemicals. It would not be considered a “natural fiber”. So no matter what the product label says, rayon is still a synthetic fiber.

is rayon a sustainable fabric
Rayon fabric sustainable is a synthetic fiber

7.2. What is the impact of rayon fabric on the environment?

Rayon harms the environment in many ways. To produce rayon sustainable, companies or production facilities must harvest cellulose sourced from degraded tropical rainforests. The sourcing of raw materials for the production of this type of fabric has a great impact on the environment.

Furthermore, the chemical process to create rayon is equally harmful to the environment, which is so toxic that it doesn’t comply with EPA standards. People who work in rayon factories have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and even dementia. 

is rayon sustainable
The manufacturing process of rayon harms the environment and people

Not only that but when those chemicals enter the groundwater table, people living around them can be poisoned. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are documents and pieces of evidence that rayon workers and local people were affected by contaminated water. In addition, it degrades the intellectual abilities of children living in the area before they reach adolescence.

7.3. Is rayon biodegradable?

Basically, rayon fabric sustainable is biodegradable. Some studies show that it is more biodegradable than cotton, it breaks down faster than cotton 6 weeks compared to 11 weeks. However, modal and tencel tend to be a bit longer, around 4 months, only breaking down 1/2 of the fabric. However, the production process of rayon has negative effects on human health and the environment.

is rayon sustainable
Rayon fabric sustainable is a fabric that biodegrades faster than cotton

7.4. How to care for rayon fabric

Rayon fabric sustainable is lightweight and can shrink or lose shape when exposed to water. So rayon fabric care is important to pay attention to help it last longer. Here are some fabric care tips that you can refer to:

  • Check the label: Every garment label comes with washing instructions, you should check it to see if your fabric should be hand washed or dry-cleaned. If the label only shows dry cleaning, you should not machine wash it as it may shrink the fabric. In addition, some rayon fabrics are machine washable.
  • Iron at low temperatures: Since this is a man-made fabric, you need to avoid ironing it at high temperatures, otherwise the fabric may burn. You should iron the fabric from the inside out to reduce the glossy effect on the fabric. Also, you should use a clean cloth underneath to make the ironing process safer.
  • Proper care of rayon fabric: Rayon is a fabric that is prone to exposure to dust and mildew, you should hang the fabric carefully to avoid these. You can fold the fabric slightly and avoid stuffing them into other fabrics for storage.
is rayon a sustainable fabric
Avoid ironing rayon fabric sustainable at high temperatures as it will burn

Rayon fabric sustainable is one of the most commonly used fabrics in the fashion industry and is known for its versatility and quality. Hopefully, through this article, you will gain more useful knowledge about this fabric. If you need support or need any questions answered, do not hesitate to contact Dugarco!

Contact information:

  • Address: 59 Đức Giang, Đức Giang, Long Biên, HN
  • Phone: 024 3655 7930
  • Email: dugarco@mayducgiang.com.vn
  • Website: https://dugarco.com/en/


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