What is Lyocell fabric? Advantages & Disadvantages, Application

What is lyocell fabric? Lyocell fabric is being touted as the sustainable fiber of the future. Lyocell (or TENCEL™ lyocell) is used to make clothes and is beloved by everyone. Because, being silky smooth lyocell feels great against the skin, drapes beautifully, is lightweight, highly breathable, antimicrobial, moisture wicking, and is wrinkle resistant. So, learn more about lyocell with Dugarco!

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1. What is Lyocell fabric?

What is the fabric lyocell? Lyocell fabric is a semi-synthetic fiber. Lyocell begins life as wood cellulose but is rendered into the fabric via processing with a series of synthetic chemicals. Lyocell was first developed in 1972 by American Enka and was first commercially produced in Alabama in 1992. 

what is the fabric lyocell
What is lyocell fabric?

It is lyocell fabric soft breathable and moisture-wicking and thus lyocell is often used as a more delicate garment in garments like underwear, dresses, and dress shirts. So, Lyocell became more popular as time went on and now it’s considered to be a sustainable option for those who want to avoid polyester or silk. More companies call Lyocell fabric a “miracle fabric”. 

Fabric name  Lyocell
Fabric is also known as Tencel
Fabric composition Cellulose and synthetic 
Fabric thread count variations 300-600
Breathability of fabric Very breathable
Hygroscopicity High
Heat retention abilities Medium
Stretchability (give) Low
Prone to pilling/bubbling Low
Original country United States
Biggest exporting country  Europe and China
Washing temperatures Cold
Commonly used in Dress, T-shirts, underwear, towels, belts, medical dressings, ….


2. Lyocell fabric production process

Lyocell fabric is made of wood like oak or birch. It is a raw material for the cellulose in this fabric. how to make lyocell fabric

  • First, the trees are broken down into chips and loaded into a vat of chemical digesters, which soften the chips into pulp.
  • Then, this pulp is washed in water and bleach. Next, it is dried and rolled.
what material is lyocell
Lyocell fabric production process
  • Next, The scrolls are spread into pages and divided into squares measuring 1 inch and these squares are placed in pressurized and heated amine oxide, which is the primary solvent used to make lyocell fabric. 
  • Coutine, As it is forced through spinnerets, cellulose is turned into long, thin fibers.
  • The resulting fibers are dipped in a vat of insipid amine oxide to set, and they are then washed with demineralized water.
  • The lyocell fibers are then dried, and a lubricant and these bundles of two are placed in a crimper that compresses the fiber. They are carded and arranged. 
  • Lastly, the fibers are cut, and they process a variety of different products.

3. The outstanding advantages of Lyocell fabric

There are many advantages of lyocell fabric, such as: 

3.1. Lyocell is biodegradable, compostable

Lyocell fabric is a semi-synthetic fiber. It is made from wood using non-toxic solvents. This means it isn’t nylon, polyester, and other plastic-based fibers. It took over a century to even begin biodegrading. Under the right conditions, lyocell can decompose for several months and is more environmentally friendly than many other fabrics. 

what is lyocell fabric made of
Lyocell is biodegradable, compostable

3.2. More hygienic than many other fabrics

The breathability of lyocell is very high. So, It isn’t harbor bacteria, smell, and musty. This is one reason lyocell is popular in the gym and in damp environments like bathrooms.

what is lyocell fabric
More hygienic than other fabrics

3.3. Lyocell is soft and strong

Lyocell is strong even when lyocell is wet. Lyocell is heavily used to make medical equipment such as conveyors and safety equipmentDespite being strong, lyocell is also soft. Lyocell is very popular in the manufacture of sateen sheets, soft towels, and other household items.

what is tencel lyocell fabric
Lyocell is soft and strong

3.4. Lyocell regulates temperature and absorbs moisture very well

Lyocell is stretchy, efficient at absorbing moisture, temperature regulating, and antibacterial. Because lyocell is small, hydrophilic fibers. This means that lyocell makes us dry yet comfy. These moisture-wicking properties also make lyocell useful for bath towels and even diaper inserts. 

what is the fabric lyocell
Lyocell feels soft, sensitive skin, and breathable.

3.5. Easy to dye with non-toxic dyes

Lyocell is very absorbent. It is very easy to dye. Lyocell is made of wood, so lyocell is a semi-synthetic fiber. Lyocell can be dyed with no need for toxic chemicals and carcinogenic azo dyes.

what fabric is lyocell
Lyocell is very easy to dye

3.6. Can be blended with other fibers

Lyocell can blend well with silk and merino wool to create soft fabrics. Lyocell can also be mixed with other fabric such as cotton, hemp, and linen, as well as synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic.

what type of fabric is lyocell
Lyocell can blend with orther fabrics


3.7. Produced quickly and efficiently

Lyocell production is very quick and efficient.  The result of this speedy process is greater potential yields of fiber and more efficient use of water (about 20% less than for cotton), energy, and human resources. It also makes lyocell can be produced in many locations. 

what is lyocell fabric used for
Lyocell production is very quick and efficient

3.8. Lyocell non-toxic

Lyocell is a rayon, and it is composed of cellulose from wood. Lyocell production doesn’t create harm. The main solvent is an amino oxide which is recyclable. Another lyocell is made using a “closed loop” process, this means there is very little waste.

what is lyocell fabric
Lyocell non-toxic

3.9. Other advantages

Lyocell has superabsorbent properties because it is produced from natural materials. Lyocell does not wrinkle because it is manufactured by nanotechnology

what is the fabric lyocell
Towel by lyocell

4. Some disadvantages of Lyocell fabric

Lyocell fabric is called a “miracle fabric” but it has many disadvantages, such as: 

4.1. Quite thin, needs special care

Lyocell requires careful cleaning. Instructions on the label, some may require handwashing, though you can machine wash them in cold on the delicate cycle with a gentle detergent.

lyocell fabric what is it
Lyocell requires careful cleaning

4.2. Lyocell fabric is more expensive than other fabrics

The production process of lyocell is environment-friendly. The durability of lyocell is high. So, lyocell can cost a bit more. 

4.3. Vulnerable to greenwashing

Lyocell is in danger of greenwashing. Because the fiber and fabric are made from unknown materials and the production process is not guaranteed.

what is lyocell material like
what is lyocell material like

5. The durability of Lyocell fabric

What is lyocell material made of? That’s a good question! Lyocell is made of chips from eucalyptus trees. Anyone who knows them grows quickly and does not use any pesticides. Lyocell is made using a “closed loop” process so they don’t get wasted in the environment. The process to create lyocell uses much less water than other fabrics, too.

what is lyocell fabric in jeans
Lyocell fabric in jeans

Lenzing AG is One of the biggest manufacturers of TENCEL™. Lenzing AG can reuse up to 99,5% of the dissolving agents and water in an almost entirely zero waste system. For this reason, You might call them Lenzing OG because they’re the original sustainable lyocell pioneers.

Like with anything labeled “sustainable” or “eco-friendly”, there are always risks of greenwashing. However, if made right, lyocell can become a much more sustainable version of the silk-like, drapey fabric.

6. Application of Lyocell fabric

What is lyocell fabric used for? Lyocell fabric is found in a variety of things. Lyocell is a main component in conveyor belts, medical dressings and gowns, filtration cloths, specialty paper, and a wide variety of lining materials. Every day, lyocell can use products in clothing and sustainable bedding. Some of our favorite shirts, activewear, undergarments, denim, dresses and more contain this soft and sustainable material.

what is lyocell fabric
T shirt by lyocell

7. The price of Lyocell fabric on the market today

Cellulose fabrics are cheaper to produce than silk. The prices of cotton and cellulose fabrics fluctuate, and cotton has been cheaper to produce in the last decade. If global economic trends remain, cotton will remain cheaper than Lyocell. Lyocell is one of the simplest fabrics to produce and it has very little waste. The applications of Lyocell fabric are more useful than cotton. Manufacturers are more than happy to pay higher prices for these benefits. Today, A queen-size sheet set may cost around $100 to $300.

what kind of fabric is tencel lyocell
The price of lyocell is expensive

8. Some fabrics have properties similar to Lyocell fabric

What type of fabric is lyocell? From a chemical point of view, there is only one type of lyocell fabric called Tencel. However, However, there are two fabrics that are similar to lyocell fabric. Examples: 

  • Viscose rayon: This fabric was the first type of cellulose. Viscose rayon has been produced since the 20th century, and it was preceded by a number of cellulose fabric prototypes that were discontinued due to flammability or untenable production processes.
how is lyocell fabric made
There is only one type of lyocell fabric called Tencel
  • Modal rayon: This type of rayon is similar to Tencel. The Rayon production method was discovered in the 1940s. A technical leap forward in cellulose fabric production. However, many manufacturers produce viscose rayon instead of modal rayon.

9. Compare Lyocell fabric and other fabrics

Cotton is a natural fiber. Lyocell is made from natural materials and made into fibers through a closed-loop manufacturing process. 

Parameters Lyocell Cotton
Touch and feel softer and smoother  gets softer with use and washing
Price more higher than cotton cheaper than Lyocell
Durability Long  When tightly weaved, it will have high strength
Resistance to pilling Has better fight to pilling than cotton More disposed to pilling than lyocell.
Maintenance Lyocell needs handling, some require hand washing Cotton is easy to handle and cotton can wash by machine
Cooling Cool and breathable wicks away moisture Cool and breathable, not moisture
Eco-friendly? Yes Has eco-friendly varieties

10. Frequently asked questions about Lyocell fabric

Some of the most frequently asked questions about lyocell. 

10.1. Is Lyocell stretchy?

Yes! Lyocell is made from natural materials and the production process is a closed loop. So, Therefore, the hygroscopic, breathable, and elastic properties of lyocell are very good.  

what is the fabric lyocell
Lyocell is stretchy

10.2. What does Lyocell feel like?

Lyocell is soft to the touch. Lyocell is also absorbent, which means it’s often used for activewear. So, It feels good on the skin. 

10.3. Is Lyocell breathable?

Lyocell doesn’t make you sweat, because it is breathable and thermoregulating. It’s suitable for wear on summer days.  Another, Lyocellis also superior at absorbing moisture, making it an excellent fabric choice for activewear such as yoga, and gym clothing. 

what are lyocell fibers
Lyocell is breathable

10.4. How does Lyocell fabric impact the environment?

Compared to other cellulose, lyocell is much better for the environment. Because the production of Tencel doesn’t create any toxins in the environment if it is done correctly.

10.5. Does Lyocell shrink?

No! Because Lyocell is thermally-stable. However, it should only be hand-washed in cold water or washed on a gentle round. 

what is the fabric lyocell made of
Lyocell is thermally-stable

10.6. Is Lyocell waterproof?

No, Although Lyocell is also superior at absorbing moisture, lyocell is NOT waterproof so it’s not a suitable fabric for garments intended to actually repel water. 

10.7. Is Lyocell a natural fiber?

Yes, It all starts with the wood. Mostly, it is made from oak and birch.  

10.8. How to wash Lyocell?

Like some of your other fabrics, caring for lyocell should be taken care of. You should be hand-washed in cold water or washed on the gentle set. 

what does lyocell fabric look like
You should only be hand-washed in cold water or washed on the gentle cycle

Lyocell became a famous fabric all over the world. Lyocell is durable and comfy and is one of the most semi-synthetic fabrics today. It’s made using natural materials and doesn’t require a full range of toxic chemicals to produce. The above article answered the question “what is lyocell fabric“. Please contact Dugarco for more details. 

Contact informations:

  • 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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