Lyocell (TENCEL™) - A Shift
Fabric Index

Lyocell (TENCEL™)

When it comes to sustainable fibres there are many terms we use and see everyday, but do we actually know how these fibres are produced and what they are made of? One sustainable fibre we have probably all heard of and can most likely find in our closets in one way or the other is Lyocell – possibly known as TENCEL™ to a lot of us. However, do we even know what exactly Lyocell is? Truthfully, we didn’t know either, so let’s have a look…


Lyocell is a sustainable textile fibre derived from wood sources. It can be defined as a cellulose fibre. It is also often known as TENCEL™, which is a trade-marked version of Lyocell. Many renowned fashion labels, designers and retailers already use TENCEL™. Naturally we wondered: What is TENCEL™?

TENCEL™ is a cellulosic fibre made by the Austrian company Lenzing by using sustainable wood sources and specific technologies and systems. It is important to note that TENCEL™ can be distinguished into Lyocell and Modal. So, whenever you are reading about TENCEL™ check which of those two fibres is actually being talked about. While TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal are both derived from wood sources they are produced differently. TENCEL™ is a cellulosic fibre made by the Austrian company Lenzing by using sustainable wood sources and specific technologies and systems. 

Production

TENCEL™ Lyocell is primarily produced by using the REFRIBRA™ technology which uses a closed-loop system ensuring that sources are being recycled and used again, therefore diverting any waste. This technology is partially using cotton pulp combining it with wood pulp from sustainably managed forests and therefore producing a new raw material to create TENCEL™ Lyocell.  By upcycling cotton from pre- and past-consumer sources that would usually end up in landfills into cellulose fibre materials the production ensures that nothing goes to waste. The end result is made out of 30% cotton scraps and 70% wood pulp, is fully biodegradable and needs 95% less water than conventional cotton fibres. Therefore, TENCEL™ Lyocell is highly resource efficient while simultaneously making a low impact on the environment. 

Products 

Maybe you have noticed that your sports wear is made out of lyocell or your favorite soft shirt, however, you can find lyocell in almost any piece of clothing you can think of. Dresses, pants, denim clothing, really anything. Even other products like towels, rugs and blankets are made from lyocell because of it being less favorable for bacteria, regulating the body’s temperature and its many other benefits. 

Benefits

Lyocell is not only produced sustainably from a natural botanic origin, it is also soft and gentle on the skin, long-lasting, antibacterial and completely compostable and biodegradable. 

Additionally, lyocell regulates the absorption and release of moisture. It absorbs moisture even better than cotton which makes the fibre especially breathable. Therefore, it also supports the body’s own thermal regulation. The fabric gives a cool and dry feeling making it comfortable on the skin. Lyocell is also known for its strength and versatility among other cellulose fibres and can be combined with different textile fibres.

While lyocell is a durable fabric due to its cellulose base it still needs to be cared for properly because it is very delicate. So, how do you best wash your clothes made from lyocell? 

Care 

Of course you should always look at the care label of the garment you want to wash first, but here are some general recommendations when washing lyocell: 

Normally, you should hand wash or dry clean lyocell clothing. When hand washing it is recommended to use cold water as hot water might risk shrinking the fabric and to preferably use a gentle detergent. After evenly distributing the detergent in the water leave it to soak for approximately 30 minutes before rinsing. After that let it air dry. If you have to wash your lyocell clothing in a washing machine it is best to use a gentle cycle and a gentle detergent as well. We recommend using a mesh beg and turning your garment inside out. 

The more careful you are with your lyocell clothing the longer it will last you. You can even store it in breathable cotton bags to ensure that not outside factors affect your lyocell when storing it in your closet.