Grass is Always Greener

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Bamboo, which is a type of grass, has proven it's worth the hype in spas and especially as an eco-friendly element. Did you know it's also become a popular towel, linen, and robe choice? We checked in with Guniz Alkan, president of A La Turca Textiles, for her thoughts on bamboo fabrics.

Why was bamboo chosen as a fabric? What pieces are made of bamboo?
Bamboo was chosen as a fabric because of its softness. Our customers use it for robes as well as towels.

What does bamboo fabric feel like?
It is very, very soft to the touch. Bamboo will add softness and an almost silky feel to any other fabric blends.

How is it different than cotton or other synthetic fibers commonly used?
The fact that it comes from a natural yet quickly renewable source makes it different. Cotton plants can be harvested once a year but a typical bamboo plant can grow 1 to 4 inches per day, depending on the location and species. Also, most synthetic fibers repel water, while natural fibers such as cotton will absorb water and wick moisture over time. Bamboo is absorbant by nature and does not need to be chemically treated to increase its absorbancy.

What benefits does bamboo fabric offer?
The main benefits of using yarn made of bamboo are antibacterial, cool, breathable, absorbant, and softness. Altough not necessarily a deciding factor for robes, it's anti-UV radiation characteristic is an added benefit for t-shirts and other pieces. The color will have a brighter sheen compared to just cotton or another blend, making it more vivid. This also yields in using less dye.

Why are robes/textiles made of bamboo a good fit in spas?
First, because of their added softness. When blended with traditonal terry, it keeps it's softness after repeated industrial laundring. However, manufacturers need to be mindful of the optimum blend ratio of cotton/bamboo yarn so the end result is not a limp and way too pliable robe or towel. Also as I mentioned above, the bamboo helps colors pop more so they tend to retain their color more with repeated wash. The ecological benefits are a benefit to spas too. As more and more spas are trying to reduce the carbon footprint, use of easily renewable sources are more important. Working with a reputable manufacturer will help ensure that the bamboo yarn was harvested and processed responsibly as it does take a lot of water and energy to turn bamboo fibers into rayon which in turn provide us the silky, soft, and strong bamboo yarn.

Intrigued by bamboo's benefits? Check out our In the Mix feature on this renewable resource in the September issue.