What's a Better Summer Fabric: Bamboo or Cotton?

In the world of fashion, there are two major criteria we want our clothes to tick off – looking good and feeling good. Comfort without sacrificing style is crucial for clothing, and as the warm summer weather approaches, finding the right fabric for your clothing rises in importance.  

In a world of fast-fashion, there are many fabrics to choose from – but how do you know which will be best in warmer climates? Firstly – avoid any polyester or anything that falls into the ‘fast-fashion’ category. Investing in high quality garments will be your best option to beat the heat. Organic cotton is a classic fabric for the summer – it's durable and moisture absorbing, perfect for those sweaty afternoons. But one other fabric to consider, that may have a few more benefits compared to cotton, is bamboo.  

Cotton vs. Bamboo: Breathability, Softness, and Durability 

1/ Cooling and Breathable 

While both cotton and bamboo fabrics are breathable and recommended for warmer temperatures, there may be more positives to choosing bamboo. Cotton’s fibers provide great airflow to help keep you cool throughout the day, but because of its moisture absorbing properties, it may leave you feeling damp and sweaty. Bamboo has a hollow structure which allows for air to circulate through the fabric more freely, which in turn, regulates body temperature, keeping you cool and dry.


2/ Moisture Wicking  

Cotton absorbs moisture, rather than wicking it away, because of this, it may not be the best choice if the temperatures are calling for high heat. Instead of absorbing the moisture, bamboo wicks it away, meaning it keeps the body temperature regulated and less sweaty. With these properties, bamboo is also quick drying!

3/ Softness and Hypoallergenic 

Both fabrics are soft to the touch - cotton feels very durable and thick, whereas bamboo feels more luxurious and buttery-soft. Bamboo is spun into ultra-fine yarn, creating that ultra-soft feel against the skin. Not only is it incredibly soft, but also hypoallergenic, meaning it’s a great option for those with allergies, sensitive skin, or eczema.

4/ Antibacterial  

Bamboo fabric has stronger antibacterial qualities than cotton. Bamboo prevents bacteria from growing as it has natural antibacterial properties. This benefit in bamboo fabrics could help to stop the growth of odour-causing bacteria in fabrics, meaning your clothes would smell fresher for longer. 


5/ Colour Fade Resistant 

One large factor to consider is the longevity and resistance of the colour dyes in the fabrics. A great comparison is with darker colours, like black and navy. While a black cotton t-shirt looks great when you first purchase it, after a few washes it tends to become faded. On the other hand, bamboo holds its colour wash after wash, keeping its rich appearance as if it were just purchased. Terrera's bamboo clothing uses low-impact dyes containing no toxic chemicals or mordants. Bamboo fabric has a high absorption rate, meaning it requires less rinsing and overall water usage in the dying process.


So, which is ‘better’? 

Bamboo is often labeled as a fantastic fabric to wear in the summer heat for its cooling properties, breathability, and extreme softness. If you’re looking for durability, a comfortable fit, and a sustainable option, look no further than bamboo fabric.  

But this is not to say that cotton isn’t a great choice as well – it’s soft, durable, and very breathable. It holds its structure well and can last a long time. It comes down to the fit, feel, and moisture absorption vs. wicking properties. 

As a quick summary, cotton is soft, durable, breathable, but absorbs moisture. Bamboo is luxurious, breathable, eco-friendly, and moisture-wicking. 

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