Viscose is made from cellulose, a natural raw material found in wood. It is extracted from beech or spruce wood, eucalyptus or bamboo in a chemical process and then pressed into fibre form under high pressure. This process is the reason why one speaks of a semi-synthetic raw material: viscose is neither a pure natural fibre such as cotton or silk, nor a synthetic fibre such as polyester.
The viscose process allows cellulose fibers to be modified in length, strength and stability. This adaptability not only makes viscose super versatile and the ideal partner in blended fabrics, but also ensures that it is much easier to care for than pure natural fibres: it is easier to wash, hardly needs ironing and does not rub off as quickly.
Because viscose is based on the natural raw material cellulose, it has similarly good climate regulating properties as the natural fibres cotton or wool. It is very absorbent and can absorb up to 400 percent of its own weight in moisture. At the same time, the fabric does not appear wet, but has a cooling effect. An advantage over pure natural fibers: Viscose dries super fast and is therefore often used for travel towels, vegan sneakers or outdoor textiles.
No petroleum is used in the production of viscose and the cultivation of cellulose mostly does without pesticides. This has a positive effect on the skin compatibility of the fibres: pure viscose contains hardly any harmful substances and is ideal for allergy sufferers.
The renewable raw material cellulose is used for the production of viscose. It is contained in various woods and is biodegradable even after the viscose process. This means that viscose performs better in environmental terms than fully synthetic materials.
The viscose process is extremely energy consuming. In addition, enormous chemical conversion processes are needed to extract the cellulose. In liquid form or as toxic fumes, the chemicals cause considerable pollution in the manufacturing regions. The consequences are not only harmful to the environment, but also demonstrably endanger the health of people in and around the factories.
When buying viscose, there are several factors to consider: The starting raw material, the manufacturing, and the processing. With the viscose type "Modal"the cellulose is mainly obtained from sustainable forestry. The designations "Lyocell" or "Tencel" indicate a more environmentally friendly production from eucalyptus, in which no waste water containing harmful substances is released into the environment. Also produced without chemical additives is "Lenpur" viscose. The special feature: Not a single tree is felled for this material, because the cellulose is obtained exclusively from the pruning of trees.