Those who have felt lyocell should not be surprised by the super-soft fabric’s benefits when it comes to bedding. But what exactly is lyocell, and why is it a favorite fiber for everything from sheets to clothing to blankets? Explore our guide to lyocell to determine whether this fabric is right for you.
What is Lyocell?
Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fiber derived from repurposed wood. Wood chips from eucalyptus, birch, or oak trees are soaked in a non-toxic solvent that dissolves them to pulp, which is then extruded into cellulosic fibers that are spun into thread and woven or knit together. The result is a material that’s silky smooth to the touch with a lustrous drape and subtle sheen.
TENCEL™ vs. Lyocell: What Is the Difference?
While the terms TENCEL™ and lyocell are often used interchangeably, TENCEL™ is a specific brand of lyocell. Sustainable TENCEL™ Lyocell is made exclusively from wood sourced from responsibly managed forests; the same claim cannot always be made for non-branded lyocell.
Is Lyocell Eco-Friendly?
Sustainable lyocell is biodegradable and compostable (when not blended with other synthetic fibers), making it a great choice for eco-friendly bedding. Lyocell is produced in an energy-efficient, closed-loop process for minimal waste: nearly 99.5 percent of the non-toxic solvent used to dissolve the pulp can be recovered and reused, reducing the amount of byproducts released into the environment.
What Does Lyocell Feel Like?
TENCEL™ Lyocell’s smooth texture makes for some of the softest bedding you can find. Lyocell is soft straight from the package, and stays soft through years of use. Lightweight lyocell is slightly cool to the touch and doesn’t cling to the skin, making it a good choice for hot sleepers, warm temperatures, and year-round comfort.
Benefits of Lyocell
Lyocell is loved for more than its softness and sustainability. From comfort to versatility, explore the qualities that make this fiber a favorite for sheets, blankets, and every bedding layer in between.
Moisture-wicking, breathable, and temperature-regulating lyocell keeps you cool and dry through the night so you can sleep comfortably. Because it’s a super absorbent fabric, it wicks moisture away from the body and naturally cools you while you sleep. The naturally derived material is hypoallergenic, and it boasts antimicrobial properties—an ideal combination for sleepers with sensitive skin.
Because it is a semi-synthetic material, lyocell resists wrinkles better than 100 percent natural materials like cotton or linen. Lyocell’s silky-soft surface also means the material resists pilling better than cotton, so your sheets stay smooth longer.
Wet or dry, lyocell is strong when compared to other cellulosic fibers. While not as durable as linen or cotton, lyocell is often blended with these materials to borrow from their strength while still providing its signature softness and drape.
When blended with other fibers—such as cotton or linen—lyocell improves the appearance, softness, drape, and function of the final fabric. Lyocell and lyocell-blend fabrics can be used for sheets, bedding, and apparel, including pajamas, activewear, and loungewear.