Is Viscose A Synthetic Fabric?

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Viscose yarn
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Viscose yarn

Let me try to explain:
Most people think fibres are either man-made using a chemical such as nylon and polyester, or naturally occurring such as wool or cotton. This seems quite a valid point, except viscose (or rayon) is actually a mixture of both natural and man-made.  This is because the process involved uses the raw material from a plant based cellulose and the method of turning this cellulose into yarn involves a chemical process.

As just mentioned, the raw material for viscose rayon is cellulose which can be found in plant material and the quantity of cellulose varies between each plant.  So, viscose starts as a plant such as wood pulp, bamboo, eucalyptus etc.  So one could argue that viscose is ‘natural’ and not a synthetic, man-made product because of this plant based cellulose.

However, the process in which viscose is derived is a chemical one and these chemicals include sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide which then suggests that it is man-made.

Several eco-friendly companies use viscose and rayon in the production of their garments and seem happy to do so.  As a consumer it is important to get as much information as possible about the manufacturing process so one can make informed choices.

To conclude then; viscose and rayon begin as plants making it natural. But then it undergoes a chemical process, so is it man-made?  This depends on which article you read, therefore you will get the same unanswered question. A non-definitive answer!
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