Rayon vs Viscose: What’s the Difference?

  1. SA Editor
    Ever heard of the terms rayon before? You are most likely to have come across this term since this material is used to make several products that you may use on a daily basis, such as clothes, bedding etc. Rayon is a versatile fiber and is widely claimed to have the same comfort properties as natural fibers. The main problem with the fiber is the fact that the drape and slipperiness of rayon textiles are often more like nylon. On the other hand, these fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors, which makes it more appealing to the human eye.

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    We all know that cotton is made of cellulose. This is one of the similarities between cotton and rayon. Although both are made from cellulose, the cellulose used to make rayon comes from tress, while the cellulose used to make cotton comes from the cotton plant itself. However, despite all the impressive properties possessed by rayon, people tend to pick cotton over it for one main reason. The fact that cotton is a lot more natural as compared to rayon. The chemical process of regenerating the cellulose in rayon is the reason why rayon does not measure up to cotton, especially when it comes to how natural the fiber is.

    Even though people may choose cotton over rayon when it comes to how natural the product is, the truth is that many people really do not pay much attention to whether or not a product is made of natural raw materials or not. At the end of the day, people choose fabrics that are more appealing to the eye, and that are affordable. When you look at it that way, rayon drapes easily, has high absorbency, and is easy to dye. What else could you want in a fabric?

    For those of you who are curious about how rayon is made, the complete process is a little complicated. Basically, rayon is made of regenerated cellulose obtained from plant cell walls. Simply put, rayon is “the generic terms for fiber manufactured from regenerated cellulose by any one of six processes”, according to Swicofil, a Swiss textile company.

    Now that we have talked about what rayon is, let us take a look at a term that is basically interchangeable with it: viscose. There are many products that are said to be made from 100% rayon viscose; mainly clothes and bedding products. The viscose process is one of the most common ways to make rayon today. Viscose is basically a manmade fiber created from cellulose chemically extracted from trees. It is a little weaker in strength than cotton, and thus is often used to make delicate, lighter clothing. The term viscose is derived from the term “viscous”, which is used to describe the spinning solution of rayon.

    To summarize, there is not much of a difference between rayon and viscose. These terms can be used interchangeably, and have similar qualities. There is no doubt about the fact that either one of the fabrics are good enough to give you the comfort that you are hoping for. So you can confidently go ahead with either fabric. Happy shopping!

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