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What is Tencel And Is It Sustainable?

Last updated: May 23, 2022

If you have just learned about Tencel, you may be feeling some of the excitement that many people in the fashion world have been feeling. Tencel is comfortable and silky, but the sustainability of this exciting fabric is a huge bonus.

What is Tencel, and is it considered sustainable clothing? We are going to answer your most pressing questions about Tencel and give you a comprehensive overview of the fabric that is taking over the world of fashion.

What Is Tencel?

Tencel is a uniquely breathable and soft material that is becoming popular in the industry of sustainable fashion. However, Tencel is the brand name for Lyocell fabric created by the Lenzing AG company that's located in Austria. The company created Tencel about 40 years ago in Germany.

This unique fabric is sustainably derived from trees in a way that is environmentally responsible.

To create Tencel, wood from eucalyptus trees is broken down by utilizing an amine solution that's non-toxic. For products to be labeled with the Tencel trademark, the product must contain minimally 30% of Tencel Lyocell fibers.

Tencel is sourced only from forests that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This certification ensures that the eucalyptus trees are harvested in a way that doesn't harm future generations.

The solvent that's used to break the eucalyptus wood down into pulp is recycled and recovered. Moreover, the entire process is powered by bioenergy that is sustainable.

Benefits of Tencel

Here are some of the many benefits of Tencel fabric for sustainable clothing.

  • Breathable
  • Botanic origin
  • Unfavorable for bacterial growth
  • Smoothly draping fabric
  • Luxurious sheen
  • Biodegradable
  • Virtually wrinkle-free
  • Doesn't crease
  • Absorbs moisture efficiently
  • Easy to dye
  • Holds color well
  • Extremely durable
  • Gentle for sensitive skin
  • Remains dry and cool
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight
  • Lasting softness
  • Less static cling ("static charge")

Disadvantages of Tencel

While Tencel has many advantages, there are also some noted disadvantages to this fabric.

  • Shrinks between 3-5%
  • Pricier than other eco-fabrics
  • Less environmentally friendly components added to some blends

To avoid shrinkage with Tencel, it should be washed in cold water and hung to dry. Tumble drying should be set to a low, cool setting.

For some products, Tencel fabric is blended with textile fibers that include acrylic, polyester, silk, wool, and cotton. Depending on the garment's purpose, some of these materials can be undesirable because of their impact on the environment.

On the other hand, blending Tencel with such materials can significantly improve the fabric's softness and allow for more customized colors.

Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell

There are two different types of Tencel:

  • Tencel Modal
  • Tencel Lyocell

The fabric most commonly referred to as Tencel is Tencel Lyocell.

Is Tencel Considered Sustainable Clothing?

Because Tencel is a cellulose fiber that is biodegradable and compostable, it is considered to be sustainable.

Tencel fabric can be biodegraded and composted under home, industrial, marine, freshwater, and soil conditions. Additionally, the process for producing Tencel fabric is closed-loop and low impact.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has certified Tencel's Lyocell fibers as biobased.

Is Tencel FSC and PEFC Certified?

Tencel fabric is certified by both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

The FSC works to confirm that the forest where Tencel is harvested benefits the lives of people and workers who live locally. At the same time, the FSC ensures that the process preserves biological diversity.

The PEFC endorses national forest certification systems.

Because Tencel is a cellulose fiber that is biodegradable and compostable, it is considered to be sustainable. Tencel fabric can be biodegraded and composted under home, industrial, marine, freshwater, and soil conditions. Additionally, the process for producing Tencel fabric is closed-loop and low impact. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has certified Tencel's Lyocell fibers as biobased.

FAQs

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Tencel.

What is Tencel made out of?

Tencel (Tencel Modal) is made from wood derived from Eucalyptus trees.tencel is made from eucalyptus trees

What is Tencel clothing?

Tencel clothing is clothing that is made using sustainable Tencel fabric.

What is Tencel fabric used for?

Tencel is used for garments, clothing, and general usage.

For activewear and athletic wear, Tencel provides excellent moisture management through body temperature support and regulation. The microscopic fibrils in the fabric regulate the release and absorption of moisture, which helps make the fabric more breathable while suppo0rting the natural thermal regulation of the human body.

What is Tencel fabric similar to?

Tencel and cotton share similarities, but cotton is much easier to care for because Tencel can't tolerate high heat, such as washing in hot water or drying with full heat.

Specifically, Tencel has a feel that is similar to silky smooth sateen cotton sheets. However, Tencel is more durable and stronger than linen and cotton when properly cared for.

Does Tencel wrinkle?

Fortunately, Tencel is not prone to easy wrinkling. Tencel fabric is delicate, and you should avoid ironing it. If you need to remove wrinkles from Tencel, use a light steaming method.

Is Tencel stretchy?

Is Tencel fabric stretchy? Yes, Tencel is a stretchy fabric, making it popular for use in organic yoga clothing and activewear such as cardigans, loungewear, and intimate clothing.

What is the difference between Tencel vs Modal?

Technically, Tencel and Modal are both Tencel. However, the fabric source is the main difference between Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell.

Tencel Lyocell is made from Eucalyptus trees, which do not require pesticides, which adds to the sustainability of this fabric. Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing.

Tencel Modal is made from beech trees, which also don't require pesticides. Moreover, beech trees require less water than fabrics such as cotton.

Sources

https://www.lenzing.com/products/tenceltm

https://www.tencel.com/sustainability

https://fsc.org/en/forest-management-certification

https://www.pefc.org/as

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedding-information/tencel-vs-cotton-sheets

https://www.tencel.com/b2b/branded-offers/general

https://fsc.org/en

 


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