Viscose is a manufactured, cellulose based filament fibre which can be cut into staple fibres and spun. It was the first synthetic fibre to be developed and was originally viewed as being an alternative to silk.
Viscose is made from a chemical process using wood pulp derived from trees, most commonly pine, beech and eucalyptus. In more recent years bamboo has also been used and is often (arguably incorrectly) labeled as bamboo, confusing consumers who don't realise the textile is actually viscose.
Some viscose manufacturers use wood pulp from sustainably managed forests grown for the purpose of making viscose and use close loop factories where the water and other chemicals used throughout the manufacturing process are continually reused.
In the US viscose is often referred to by the name rayon and many branded viscose textiles are referred to by their brand name e.g. Tencel, Lyocell and Modal.
- Butcher cloth
Context of Use
- Viscose is used for a range of formal, casual and active apparel including blouses, trousers, dresses, socks and underwear. It can be visually similar to a number of fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk depending on the finishing processes used.
- Viscose is sometimes used in homewares in sheets, cushion covers, table cloths and towels.
- Viscose has recently been used in footwear to make casual shoes and runners.
The following is a general guide to caring for this textile, however you should always refer to and follow the instructions on the care label of each garment.
How to Wash
Viscose can be machine washed on a delicate cycle or hand washed. Viscose can be dry cleaned with some delicate garments being dry clean only.
Viscose should be cold washed to avoid shrinkage.
Detergents and Bleach
Viscose can be washed using gentle laundry detergents.
Whether viscose can be bleached or not varies greatly depending on the garment. Refer to your garment's care label.
Viscose should be line dried.
Viscose can be ironed if required on the coolest iron setting.
Store in a well ventilated place away from direct light.
- Other cellulose based fibres, such as cotton, have recently been recycled and used as the cellulose base for virgin viscose.
- Viscose itself is not yet readily recyclable but technologies and processes to recycle it are being explored.