Friday, January 22, 2010

FAQ: Why doesn't bamboo velour stay soft?

FAQ: Why doesn't bamboo velour stay soft?
Answer: Few fabrics are are lusciously soft as new bamboo (also called viscose from bamboo or rayon from bamboo) velour. Yet many find that after a while, the pile of the velour becomes matted and less soft. All natural fabrics change somewhat when you wash them the first time, but the bamboo velour can seem very different. I found this with some of our bamboo products, but not with all of them. The diapers were the most matted, then came my cloth menstrual pads. Our bamboo pillowcases and yoga pants were almost like new. This made me wonder...
After poking around on the internet, I found some information that may explain the different levels of matting. Some stores that sell bamboo fabric advise to wash bamboo on the coolest water possible, low dryer heat. That's pretty much what I would do for the pillowcases and pants. Lo and behold, these bamboo products stayed very soft.
I wash my diapering products on hot and dry on low to medium heat. Good for cleanliness, not so good for softness. Darn. I wanted to see if the matting was reversible, so I washed some of our clean bamboo diapers with our dark clothes on a cold wash. After that, hung some to dry and fluffed them near the end of drying, and put the rest in on low heat.
While the diapers didn't reach the same softness as new bamboo velour, they were softer. I'm not really willing to stop using hot water for diaper laundry, but I can make the final rinse cold instead of warm. I can also hang dry them and limit dryer time. From now on, I'll make sure that any new bamboo diapers we get see minimal dryer time.
Hopefully if your velour isn't as soft as you like, you are able to bring back some softness as well.



Mama Zapatista said...

I was wondering about the softness of bamboo too. Thanks for the post!