Bamboo Sheets

Originally published: 05/2006 by J Wynia

Because I love trying new stuff and we've been less than pleased with nearly every set of sheets we've tried in the last few years, we bought a set of bamboo sheets. I've since seen some that are 100% bamboo, but the ones we got are the 60/40 setup. So far, they're amazingly comfortable and way smoother than "better" cotton sheets.

I am intrigued by the label which has the bamboo content listed as "bamboo rayon". I'm wondering exactly how they are processing the bamboo into rayon threads for weaving. Does anyone know?


Jan B on 7/6/2006
Rayon is apparently made from beech trees. The plants are processed in a similar manner to create fibers for the cloth, so it's probably a relatively easy matter to weave the resultant threads together. Hope that helps. :)
Jordan on 9/30/2006
Hi! I've been looking for a good set of bamboo sheets. Could you tell me the brand that you purchased and where you bought them? Now that you've had them for a while do you notice any pilling like cotton sheets normally do?
Deb on 12/27/2006
Hi! I just purchased a set of "Bamboo Rayon" at Sam's Club. I am glad to hear that you are pleased with them. Hope we are too.
Diane on 1/18/2007
Just got 100% bamboo sheets from bed bath and beyond, cost $59.00. I seriously have sheets that are 100% cotton 1000 single thread count which I spent big bucks on and they are not as soft as these bamboo sheets. I am THRILLED with the quality and price.
Deb on 9/12/2007
First of all, we love our sheets! They are extremely comfortable. Del, yes the sheets are machine washable and dryable. Ours have done beautifully. We have had them since December 2006.
Tom on 2/23/2008
My Mom, knowing I was interested in things made from bamboo, just had a towel of bamboo sent to me, from Cuddledown. While it doesn't seem to say so anywhere in the catalog they also sent me, the tag on the towel says "rayon made from bamboo". To say that I'm ticked off doesn't even start to describe my thoughts. While rayon can be made from anything that has cellulose in in (cotton, wood, hemp, bamboo) it retains none of the characteristics of those sources. Rayon made from linen will just be rayon. And making rayon is a very chemical-intensive process, that is not at all environmentally friendly. I'll refer you to the wikipedia article on how rayon is made, for details of the sulfuric acid used, etc. Does this make up for the low impact of growing bamboo? Almost certainly not, though it's hard to factor the various costs. Is there any excuse for bamboo rayon costing an arm and a leg? NO! None at all. However, because it sounds pretty chemically, people tend not to buy rayon; but now that it's packaged as 60% or 100% bamboo.... I _would_ like to know what real bamboo fabric feels like, because the fiber from cotton or hemp or linen (when not boiled in chemicals) do have delightful and unique characters!
Del on 9/12/2007
My Bamboo shirt says to hand wash and dry flat... can the sheets be washed in a washing machine?
anne on 3/2/2008
I am very suspicious about the environmental claims of bamboo fabric. It is a regenerated cellulose, like rayon. All regenerated cellulose fibres are processed with solvents. Rayon has been condemned as a terrible polluter. Some manufacturers of rayon have made great progress in recycling the solvents they use, but it is very important to know that the manufacturer is taking these ecological precautions. I believe that Tencel is rayon made by a manufacturing process that recycles 100% of the solvents used. I cannot find reassurances anywhere that make me confident that today's bamboo manufacturers are taking appropriate ecological precautions. They appear to be riding the eco-gravy train. The same goes for the corn silk and the soy fibre. Both are regenerated. I don't know how the seaweed fibres are processed. Manufacturers argue that they don't want to reveal valuable processes, but I am sceptical to say the least.
Mick on 10/1/2007
I've been wondering about the "Bamboo Rayon" label, too. I recently purchased a set of sheets with that label. I had already been using a set of bamboo/cotton sheets that I bought last year and simply love. The new sheets are the same brand and come in exactly the same package - but the 'rayon' listed on the label is new. It's not even indicated on the package. I've seen slightly more shrinkage with the new set of sheets (I had believed that bamboo isn't supposed to shrink, but maybe the bamboo/cotton blend is different). Anybody else notice this? On the whole, I'd have to say I love bamboo sheets. I find them to be softer and tougher than cotton. I have some bamboo/cotton bath towels, too. They are fabulous.
Ellen on 12/10/2007
I just bought some at Tuesday Morning. They were marked regularly $364.00 but their price was like $89.99 in Cal King. I put them on the bed tonight, they're quite wrinkled so I'm hoping that they will smooth out when washed.
DC on 3/2/2008
All I know is that I love mine. They are very soft and comfortable and wash really well. As far as how environmentally friendly they are....don't have a clue and frankly (I know I am in for it) I really don't care. I have tried to buy environmentally flooring, countertops etc and I can't afford any of them. So, I guess I am destroying the environment. When it becomes economical then I will do better environmentally.
Carolina Nisimblat on 12/2/2007
I have the sheets purchased them at sams and absolutely love them. They do not sell them anymore..Does anyone know where I can find them? (100% bamboo and rayon)
Jennefer on 6/10/2008
Check out this website for more info on bamboo processing. It's not as green as it might appear.
Shana on 6/11/2008
Bamboo when made into rayon fiber is soft, supple and luxurious. However, it is not and can never will be certifiable as organic (due to the chemicals used in processing). I think it would be interesting and valuable for someone to do a carbon footprint comparison between bamboo and organic cotton to see which fares better. I think the jury is still out. Since bamboo comes primarily from Asia, the processing is often done there too...not only in environmentally hazardous ways but often using sweatshop labor. Something to keep in mind when purchasing. Read labels carefully.
Anna on 10/17/2008
Nothing's perfect. Bamboo has come a long way as a recent textile innovation. People love it not just because it's sustainable (you really can't argue that), it's also antibacterial & odor-deterrent. The linens made of bamboo are so incredibly soft too! What's not to love? It's way better than regular cotton & other synthetic materials in terms of the manufacturing procedure & the impact on the our plant -- think pesticides and fertilizers... We as consumers should be educated on what we're buying & if that's something that makes life better or easier. Don't be shy to check out how goods are made and if that is in line with your own ecological principle. The Midori Linen website offers explanation on the bamboo manufacturing process & certifications to look for.
Jenny on 10/11/2008
This site has the sheets that will delight you. I have had them for over 5 months 100% bamboo 320 thread count sateen finish. Luvvvvvv emmmmmmm
anna thompson on 1/3/2009
I thought there was a new comment, but the one at the top is dated 2006. So perhaps you all have heard this before, but to answer the question about making rayon, I quote Wikipedia; as you will see the process involves a lot of chemicals and some serious environmental possible side effects. That's why it is important to get reassurances from the manufacturer: Production method Regular rayon (or viscose) is the most widely produced form of rayon. This method of rayon production has been utilized since the early 1900s and it has the ability to produce either filament or staple fibers. The process is as follows: 1. Cellulose: Production begins with processed cellulose 2. Immersion: The cellulose is dissolved in caustic soda: (C6H10O5)n + nNaOH ---> (C6H9O4ONa)n + nH2O 3. Pressing: The solution is then pressed between rollers to remove excess liquid 4. White Crumb: The pressed sheets are crumbled or shredded to produce what is known as "white crumb" 5. Aging: The "white crumb" aged through exposure to oxygen 6. Xanthation: The aged "white crumb" is mixed with carbon disulfide in a process known as Xanthation, the aged alkali cellulose crumbs are placed in vats and are allowed to react with carbon disulphide under controlled temperature (20 to 30°C) to form cellulose xanthate: (C6H9O4ONa)n + nCS2 ---> (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n 7. Yellow Crumb: Xanthation changes the chemical makeup of the cellulose mixture and the resulting product is now called "yellow crumb" 8. Viscose: The "yellow crumb" is dissolved in a caustic solution to form viscose 9. Ripening: The viscose is set to stand for a period of time, allowing it to ripen: (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n + nH2O ---> (C6H10O5)n + nCS2 + nNaOH 10. Filtering: After ripening, the viscose is filtered to remove any undissolved particles 11. Degassing: Any bubbles of air are pressed from the viscose in a degassing process 12. Extruding: The viscose solution is extruded through a spinneret, which resembles a shower head with many small holes 13. Acid Bath: As the viscose exits the spinneret, it lands in a bath of sulfuric acid, resulting in the formation of rayon filaments: (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n + ½nH2SO4 ---> (C6H10O5)n + nCS2 + ½nNa2SO4 14. Drawing: The rayon filaments are stretched, known as drawing, to straighten out the fibers 15. Washing: The fibers are then washed to remove any residual chemicals 16. Cutting: If filament fibers are desired the process ends here. The filaments are cut down when producing staple fibers [2] High Wet Modulus rayon (HWM) is a modified version of viscose that has a greater strength when wet. It also has the ability to be mercerized like cotton. HWM rayons are also known as "polynosic" or can be identified by the trade name Modal [6]. High Tenacity rayon is another modified version of viscose that has almost twice the strength of HWM. This type of rayon is typically used for industrial purposes such as tire cord [6]. Cupramonium rayon has properties similar to viscose but during production, the cellulose is combined with copper and ammonia (Schweizer's reagent). Due to the environmental effects of this production method, cupramonium rayon is no longer produced in the United States [6].
Lydia on 12/28/2008
I'm thinking about buying bamboo sheets - I'm taking in all of the information that I've been reading here. I've been hearing good things about Sleep Bamboo - as noted above. Are they organically sustainable? Where did Disappointed in Texas - (Debi) buy her sheets? Sounds like I should avoid that source. I've been reading a lot about shrinkage... How do the Sleep Bamboo sheets hold up?
Lili on 11/13/2008
I bought two sets of 100% bamboo sheets, and they are unbelievably soft and comfortable -- comparable in comfort and quality to any costly, high-thread-count sheets I've ever experienced. They were not cheap, but they machine-wash and dry perfectly well, and they don't pill. I've had no shrinkage problems. I've been so impressed that I recently bought a bamboo bathrobe, which is also extremely soft. This is wonderful fabric, highly recommended.
anna thompson on 1/3/2009
I thought there was a new comment, but the one at the top is dated 2006. So perhaps you all have heard this before, but to answer the question about how to make rayon, please refer to Wikipedia; the answer is too long and this site doesn't let me cut and paste. As you will see the process involves a lot of chemicals and some serious environmental possible side effects. That's why it is important to get reassurances from the manufacturer before buying bamboo.
debbie on 11/20/2008
I recently bought a pair of 100% real bamboo sheets, that were expensive. After a week of sleeping on them, they beaded on the bottom sheet(before they were washed). My husband loves them, but I sent them back to the business and they are going to exchange them. Has anyone else experienced this? Disappointed in Texas
roshelle on 3/30/2009
OMG! who the heck sleeps on sheets before washing them? that is nasty, funky and downright triffling.
Marilyn on 4/14/2009
I have spent the last 20 years in search of the ultimate sheet. I have been through 310 count, 500 count, 800 count and 1,000 count sheets, some of which were okay, others a disappointment. I have bought expensive and more expensive ones and none of them have matched the luxury of the 100% bamboo set I purchased from Tuesday Morning at a very reasonable price...$89 for a king set. Rayon, shmayon, I could care less. What I do care about is the softness and comfort of a bamboo sheet. I agree with Roshelle, who would want to sleep on a new unwashed sheet. They have sizing in them to make them look smooth in the package dummy. That makes them stiff.
barbara on 4/17/2010
our company makes beautiful bamboo sheets.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Or, browse the archives.
© 2003- 2015 J Wynia. Very Few Rights Reserved. This article is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. Quoted content or content included from others is not subject to that license and defaults to normal copyright.