Sometimes, sleep quality is affected by the materials we touch. For example, the feel of fabric can be smooth or scratchy. Likewise, the eco-friendliness of fabrics can play on the mind, especially when we are eco-conscious.
One of the good things to come from greater climate awareness is using vegetable textile fibres in bedrooms. Vegetable fibres are sustainable and renewable, making them ideal for making fabrics that don’t harm the planet.
Most people who hear about vegetable textile fibres want to know what they are, what’s available and how to use them. This article will lift the lid on all that, with extra decorating tips from our experts. Let’s jump right in.
What are vegetable textile fibres?
Vegetable textile fibres are made from cellulose, which can be harvested from various plants worldwide.
Somewhat annoyingly, vegetable textile fibres are natural fibres from the stems of plants that bear leaves, vegetables, fruit, berries and seeds, so they are not exclusively made from vegetables. Examples include flax, sisal and hemp.
Are vegetable textile fibres available?
Cotton is the most common cellulose fibre grown on an industrial scale. If you want to be eco-friendly, choose organic cotton, so no pesticides are involved in its production, and go for a Fair Trade certified cotton to protect farmers.
Other vegetable fibres include linen, flax, hemp, rayon, sisal, pina, lyocell, coir, bamboo, kapok and ramie. Of these, hemp, sisal, linen, lyocell and bamboo are the most common vegetable textile fibres today because they are solid and versatile.
Sisal is made from the stem of the Agave sisalana plant native to southern Mexico. It’s a robust and rough textile fibre found in doormats, woven textiles like baskets, chairs, furniture and rugs. You can also get carpet made from sisal.
Hemp is made from the fibres of the Cannabis plant. It’s one of the most sustainable natural fibres used to make clothing, bedding, cushion covers and curtains. It’s soft and breathable, making it an excellent choice for bedroom furnishings.
Bamboo fibre is made from natural bamboo. It’s exceptionally strong and durable, able to substitute cotton or create a hybrid cotton-bamboo fabric directly. Bamboo-cotton bedding is soft, breathable and naturally hypoallergenic.
Pictured: Mlily Bamboo Charcoal infused Memory Foam Mattress, Available from Bedstar The Online Bed Superstore.
Linen is often confused with cotton, but it isn’t the same at all! Linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant. It’s strong, breathable, hypoallergenic and dries faster than cotton, making it an excellent choice for bed sheets and pillowcases.
Lyocell is an artificial fibre, but it isn’t synthetic. It’s made from cellulose derived from wood pulp and bamboo. It’s used as an alternative to silk and has several properties that make it better, with extraordinary softness and durability.
How to use vegetable and plant-based textiles
Whether you have a super king size bed or a single, you can use linen and bamboo bedding to create a soft, cosy bed you’ll never want to leave.
Pictured: Nordic Mill Studio 6FT Superking Bed Frame, Available from Bedstar The Online Bed Superstore.
The great thing about vegetable textile fibres like bamboo, sisal and hemp is they are substitutes for common materials like cotton and polyester. So, you can use them like-for-like with no difference in performance.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect to see on sale made from the most common vegetable textile fabrics:
- Sisal: Rugs, carpet, woven baskets, thick textiles
- Hemp: Clothing, curtains, woven interior decorations
- Linen: Clothing, bedding, upholstery, soft furnishings, curtains
- Lyocell: Clothing, bed throws, blankets, comforters, bedsheets
- Bamboo: Sheets, blankets, weighted blankets, towels, bed throws
As you can see, there are many uses for all five vegetable textile fabrics. Of course, you also have cotton fabric to fall back on should you need to.
The tricky part is sourcing good-quality vegetable textiles and fabrics because they are produced in much smaller batches than cotton fabrics. Thankfully, brands are emerging that cater to more eco-conscious consumers.