• Valinda

Hemp vs Bamboo vs Cotton

Updated: 3 days ago

When you first come in contact with the zero waste world you'll find out that there are more natural materials than just cotton. Next to microfiber which is a completely synthetic material, several other natural alternatives are available like hemp, cotton, and bamboo. Here you can read a little more about the pros and cons of each of them.



Cotton

Advantages

  • Very soft fiber

  • Very strong fiber that is often used in combination with bamboo or hemp

  • Cheap

Disadvantages

  • High water use for the production of the crop compared to bamboo or hemp

  • High pesticide use for the production of the crop

Bamboo

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Slower absorption of water compared to cotton

  • Dries slower than cotton

  • High use of chemicals for the processing of bamboo to create the fiber

  • Very fragile fibers that are often used in combination with cotton



Hemp

Advantages

  • Very water-efficient crop production

  • A very fast-growing crop that can produce over 2,5 times as much fibers compared to cotton on the same surface area

  • Prevents erosion of the soil because it has an extensive root system

  • Low pesticides and chemical use for crop production

  • Absorbs more water compared to bamboo

  • Stronger fiber compared to bamboo


Disadvantages

  • Very though fibers

  • Absorbs water slower compared to bamboo

  • Dries slower compared to bamboo



Whether you would like to use hemp, cotton or bamboo depends on how you would like to use it.


Even though hemp might be the most sustainable, it is not suitable for every purpose. It is less suitable for clothing because of its toughness which makes it uncomfortable to wear. But because of its great absorbency, it is very suitable for inserts for cloth diapers and reusable nursing pads. As hemp is a very tough but strong fiber it is suitable for more firm cleaning in, for example, kitchen towels or facial pads. It is also used in combination with other fiber to make it stronger in for example babywearing wraps. Wraps with hemp are often suitable to wear toddlers.


Bamboo comes right behind hemp when we talk about sustainability. This fabric is more sustainable compared to cotton but much softer compared to hemp. Even though its softness, 100% bamboo fabric is not suitable for clothing as it is such a fragile fiber. Clothing made out of 100% bamboo is very comfortable to wear but will wear out fast when washed in the washing machine. It is suitable for clothing when it is used in combination with cotton as cotton is a much stronger fiber. This is often used in clothing as it feels nice on your skin. It is also in facial padsnursing pads, cloth diaper inserts and other products that are worn directly against your skin.


Cotton does not do well when it comes to sustainability but is very budget-friendly. Compared to disposable products like baby wipes, nursing pads, and cotton pads this is still the better alternative. Here you can find very cute baby wipes and different styles of facial pads, all made out of super soft cotton. 


I hope this gives you a better overview of which fabric is suitable for you.


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