Tencel fabric Disadvantages and advantages of the innovative trend fiber

Gentle on the skin, biodegradable and a luxurious shine - find out all the advantages and disadvantages of the trend fiber Tencel here

Tencel fabric disadvantages and advantages
Source & Copyright by Lenzing AG

Tencel is the brand name for a man-made cellulose fiber, i.e. an industrially manufactured fiber made from natural raw materials. The fabric is based on wood fibers and is therefore environmentally and skin-friendly. Tencel fabric is versatile and a good alternative to synthetic fibers and cotton. Not only at slow fashion Labels can be read on the labels of cuddly shirts, leggings or Workout clothes one term more and more often: Tencel™. Here you can find out everything about the advantages and disadvantages of Tencel fabric, what the fiber is made of and why the man-made fiber is so sustainable.

What is Tencel fabric?

Tencel is the brand name for lyocell. The Austrian manufacturer Lenzing AG coined this brand name and all rights are reserved. For this he was awarded the European Environment Prize. The material consists of Wood fibre compounds. It is therefore a more ecological alternative to other materials such as polyester, viscose and the like. But also an alternative to the classic one cotton.

What is Tencel made of?

Tencel is a vegetable fiber and consists primarily of eucalyptus. But the production from beech is also common. The eucalyptus tree is not only a rapidly renewable raw material, the growth of the plants requires around ten to 20 times less water than cotton. Cultivation can also take place without the use of pesticides. Finally, to obtain fabric fibres, the cellulose obtained is converted using the sustainable solvent N-Methylmorpholine-N-Oxide (NMMO).

The process is extremely labor intensive, consuming energy, resources and chemicals. The special thing about the Tencel fabric from Lenzing AG: only certified wood from sustainable forestry is used, water is used sparingly and reused, energy comes from bioenergy and chemicals are not released with the help of a closed-loop process. Tencel has recently also become CO2-neutral.

tencel fabric advantages and disadvantages at a glance

Source & Copyright by Tencel

Difference between Tencel and Lyocell

In fact, Tencel does not automatically mean Lyocell. Although the two terms are often used as synonyms for each other, strictly speaking, Tencel is not necessarily Lyocell. Tencel is a brand name of the Austrian company Lenzing Fibers and can stand for both Tencel Modal (obtained from beech wood) and Tencel Lyocell (made from eucalyptus). Compared to Tencel Lyocell, the production of Tencel Modal can therefore also take place on a regional level. Only the properties of the Tencel fabrics are very similar.

The inventors of the trend fabric, Lenzing AG, have been around for over 80 years. The company was already producing pulp and paper at the Lenzing site in Austria before the Second World War. After 1945, it initially mainly produced viscose. Since 1970 she has focused on environmental rehabilitation. Because the production of viscose heavily pollutes water and air. Lenzing AG spent a long time researching a solution. In 1990, the group was able to open its first lyocell fiber plant and then bought the Tencel brand name in 2004.

Tencel fabric disadvantages and advantages at a glance

1. Tencel fabric cons

If you are looking for disadvantages for Tencel, you will not find them quickly, but there are a few points worth mentioning:

  • Compared to cotton, ecological Tencel fabric in particular is significantly more expensive, which is why not many producers rely on the miracle fiber
  • A problem with increased eucalyptus cultivation, however, is the drying out of the soil through monocultures down to the depths and lowering of the groundwater - with increased demand, the profitability becomes a risk for forest clearing and forest fires
  • Trees and pulp for the production of Tencel do not always come exclusively from sustainable cultivation areas, so special attention must be paid to labeling by FSC or PEFC
  • The manufacturing process is without question energy-intensive and chemicals are used, and production is not always local. It is therefore important to pay attention to the place of manufacture and to prefer a European and certified location

2. Tencel fabric advantages

The advantages for the trend fiber made of wood clearly outweigh the disadvantages:

  • Tencel fabric consists of renewable raw materials such as eucalyptus, which usually does not require the use of plant toxins
  • Growing eucalyptus requires little water
  • The fiber yield is significantly higher with Tencel compared to cotton
  • Is moisture-regulating and therefore antibacterial with a silky and soft feel
  • Suitable for allergy sufferers as it is breathable and particularly kind to the skin
  • Tencel fabric is biodegradable, please note this does not apply to mixed fibres

That's why Tencel is so sustainable

  1. No Toxic Chemicals: No toxic solvents are used in the production of Tencel fabric - an advantage compared to synthetic fibers. Instead, the organic compound N-Methylmorpholine-N-oxide (abbreviated to NMMO or NMO) is used.
  2. Low water consumption: Not only is 99% of the water used in Tencel production collected and reused, in contrast to cotton, ten to 20 times less water is used.
  3. Renewable raw material: Tencel Lyocell consists of eucalyptus - a rapidly renewable raw material, biodegradable raw material that does not require artificial irrigation or the use of pesticides.
  4. Comfort: Tencel fabric is skin-friendly, cooling, falling and wrinkle-free. In addition, clothing made of wood fibers is breathable - so it has to go into the washing machine less often.

Notes on the use of the material made of wood

To ensure that the Tencel fabric is protected as much as possible and looks like new for many years, you should wash the material inside out at 30 degrees (maximum 40 degrees). It is best to take a look at the care label before cleaning. Because some Tencel fabrics should rather be washed by hand. Drying in a tumble dryer, on the other hand, is not recommended. Simply let the textile dry on the line and then iron it at a low temperature and without steam if necessary.

Tencel fabric overcome disadvantages

The material is becoming increasingly popular, but is not yet mass-produced. Therefore, the price is often higher, both for producers and consumers. The costs are still far higher than clothing made of cotton or synthetic fibers. In order to change this, demand must increase, but this carries the risk of deforestation. It is therefore of great importance to ensure that the wood fibers are obtained from sustainable and certified trees.

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