Bamboo clothing: your questions answered

From what it actually is to how it’s made, here’s everything you need to know about bamboo clothing

A clothing rail to depict a story for bamboo clothing
(Image credit: Getty Images / Mint Images RF)

If you are looking for sustainable activewear, bamboo clothing might be the way to go. 

Wherever you are on your sustainable living journey, whether that’s looking for the best sustainable jewelry brands or you’re working out which comes on top in the big bamboo vs cotton debate, it’s important to remember that any step is better than none and, after all, we have to start somewhere. 

Bamboo clothing has many benefits and feels great on the skin, but before you rush out and purchase some, there are a few things you need to know. These tips will help ensure not only that you’re happy with it, but also that you are making an informed purchase.  

What is bamboo clothing like?

Bamboo clothing actually has antibacterial properties that make it an especially comfortable option for people that have sensitive skin. This means that it's a popular material for layers that are closest to your skin, such as undershirts or socks. 

Many people compare bamboo clothing to the feeling of wearing silk, one of the most luxurious fabrics available. If you want to feel silky smooth and yet buy an eco-friendly shirt, bamboo clothing is the choice for you. 

Can you use bamboo clothing as activewear?

Bamboo clothing is a great option for activewear since it is known for its moisture-wicking capabilities. Wear it while you are working out for a more pleasant workout that does not leave your clothes drenched in sweat. 

The insulating properties mean that bamboo undergarments are great options for colder days. A layer of bamboo clothing will keep you insulated while also still wicking away sweat. So, if you are exercising outdoors in the winter, for example skiing or going for a run on a cold day, you will want your first layers to be made from this type of fabric. 

How are bamboo clothes made?

While you should not consider these clothes to be 100% organic, they are close to it and are great for those trying to be more sustainable. In fact, bamboo clothing is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world. In most cases, bamboo clothing is made from rayon viscose, which essentially is bamboo that has been pulped. The biggest reason that bamboo clothing cannot be considered 100% organic is that during the pulping process some solvents and chemicals are used, but they are not considered harmful to humans. 

What types of bamboo clothing are available?

You will most likely buy undergarments – things like T-shirts, underwear and compression socks. This is because bamboo clothing does best when it is in contact with the skin since it wicks away moisture and feels wonderful. Since bamboo clothing feels so good, many people also buy bamboo bedsheets. The sheets feel as smooth and soft as silk, but they wick away moisture and will not stick to you on a hot summer’s day.

There are options for bamboo clothing as outerwear too, so you can get both a T-shirt and something to slip over it on cooler days. Look for a lightweight sweatshirt or long sleeve T-shirt to complement the undershirt, and you will be able to work out and be comfortable even while sweating or in colder weather. 

Is bamboo clothing the choice for me?

If you want to feel luxurious, bamboo clothing is a great choice. Since it is designed to wick away moisture and feel good on sensitive skin, this will be some of the most comfortable clothing you ever wear. This is part of the reason undershirts and socks are recommended, as you want that luxurious feeling next to your skin. 

Now that you know how it is made and what it is good for, you can make your first purchase of bamboo clothing and experience all the benefits for yourself. Remember, you can always start small with something like a pair of socks to see if you like the texture and the feel of it. Make a small purchase, and if you love it you can always go back and purchase more items.