Bamboo is a wonderful fabric with many benefits, including its amazing ability to wick moisture away from your skin. Moisture is not a bad thing in itself, but having too much moisture on your skin for too long a time can cause irritation, which is a bad thing.
The fabrics that we use for bedding and clothing come into and stay in close contact with our skin. Many of these fabrics are actually moisture absorbing rather than moisture wicking. Let’s take a closer look at these two properties and see why bamboo is the best fabric to keep you dry and comfortable.
Moisture Absorbing Fabrics
Fabrics that absorb moisture are made from fibres with structures that naturally tend to absorb moisture and keep it there. One well-known example of this type of fabric is cotton. We also now have newer fabrics like modal, micro-modal, Tencel, and other fabrics made from viscose-based fibres. These fabrics are made mainly from plant cellulose fibres, which innately suck up moisture.
When you wear clothing or lie on bedding made from one of these moisture absorbing fabrics, your sweat gets absorbed into the fabric through micropores, which are tiny gaps in the fibres. This action does pull the sweat away from your body, but it also traps the sweat in the fabric, making your shirt and pillowcase and bed sheets wet. These fabrics don’t necessarily feel uncomfortable at first. When the fabrics can’t absorb any more moisture, however, you’re in trouble. The wet fabric will sit against your skin, the moisture staying there for longer than it normally would if you weren’t wearing anything. The absorbing fabric holds moisture and it can’t evaporate. It’s stuck there, on you.
These absorbing fabrics are good for when you want to protect an outer shirt from getting moist. Because they hold moisture, they prevent your outer shirt from showing unseemly sweat marks or getting deodorant stains. But if the weather is already too hot, would you really want to wear a second shirt?
Moisture Wicking Fabrics
Fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin are made from fibres with structures that don;t attract moisture. Instead, they repel moisture and stay dry. The most well-known wicking fabrics are synthetic polyester and nylon, and of course, natural bamboo fabric. Now bamboo is a plant, so one would think that it behaves like other plant cellulose fibres. It does absorb moisture, but it also wicks it away. Bamboo fabric is made from the unique bamboo fibres that have a structure that does not trap moisture after it is absorbed. This is what makes bamboo fabric is so special.
Synthetic fibres are manufactured with a chemical structure that is similar to plastics. Moreover, they are usually treated to with a solution that is meant to prevent water absorption. The fibres don’t let moisture in, and they therefore don’t stay wet. When you sweat, the moisture either stays on the surface of your skin or is transferred to the surface of the material until it gets exposed to the air and evaporates. The time that it takes for the moisture to evaporate can leave you with a sticky feeling. This is not very comfortable, especially when you’re trying to relax and sleep.
Bamboo fibres give you the best benefits of both absorbing and wicking properties. Bamboo fabric pulls sweat into its fibres and away from your skin so that it does not stay there for very long. Bamboo fabric also keeps that moisture moving and releases it onto its surface so that it can evaporate quickly. Bamboo fabric keeps you cool and comfortable, and it also stays dry.
Synthetic fabrics are good one-layer clothing for when you’re exercising, but can be embarrassing at the office or on a date when your sweat starts to accumulate. They are also most definitely not comfortable for sleeping. Bamboo fabric is also great as a single layer so you don’t have to wear an extra layer of clothing that can make you feel hotter. Bamboo fabric will not retain moisture on its surface, however, so you won’t end up looking like you had hot tea poured over your body. Wicking materials also dry faster, whether it’s from sweat or after washing. Because wicking materials dry fast, they keep your body cooler, and you also don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get your linens to dry when the weather is rainy.