Which fabric do I chose for my baby - Eucalyptus, Cotton or Bamboo?
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, sustainable and skin-friendly fabric for your baby’s bedsheets, eucalyptus, bamboo, or cotton are likely at the top of your list. Each material has its pros and cons, and it’s good to know each trait from comfort, value, environmental and health perspectives.
In this article, we’ll unpack how each fibre is made, the similarities and differences between the three, and which to choose for your baby.
How are eucalyptus, bamboo and cotton made into bedding and clothes, and why do people choose them for babies?
The first thing to note about bamboo is its difference in its raw, plant form and bamboo viscose. Most bamboo fibre is made chemically; the viscose process starts with cellulose extraction from the bamboo tree's pulp. Workers break the pulp down into small chunks and soak them in sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. They then compress the bamboo into sheets and push it through a spinneret, turning the cellulose into strands. They then dip these strands into a vat of sulfuric acid to create filaments which they spin into yarn to be woven into a fabric.
The eucalyptus lyocell process is similar, using water to dissolve the eucalyptus wood. The main difference is that eucalyptus lyocell production involves reusing almost all of the solvents, so there’s hardly any waste.
The cotton we know as part of our clothing is made of the natural fibers of cotton plants. The word “cotton” refers to the part of the cotton plant that grows in a round boll encasing the soft, fluffy fibres. Cotton is spun into yarn, then woven into strips to make a soft, comfortable and durable fabric.
In what ways are eucalyptus, bamboo and cotton similar?
Bamboo viscose, cotton and eucalyptus lyocell (a form of rayon) are made using sustainable sources and are plant-derived. None of the three take much water to grow, and none require pesticides or insecticides.
In terms of texture and quality, all three materials are safe, soft, breathable, smooth and baby-friendly.
How do eucalyptus, bamboo and cotton differ?
- Comfort: Bamboo and eucalyptus are excellent bedding options for babies because they’re so soft. Cotton is inherently stiffer, creating that crisp feel many adults love, but is less desirable for babies.
- Hypoallergenic: Allergies in babies are common – they’re so new to things that it’s not unusual to see their skin become irritated when they come into contact with something new. Cotton is the only material out of the three that isn’t hypoallergenic. Organic eucalyptus is the best option for baby sheets as it’s breathable and won’t cause any irritation. Plus, your baby doesn’t care about that hotel bed feeling!
- Durability and Care: Cotton and bamboo tend to wrinkle more easily than eucalyptus, but not as much as linen sheets. Bamboo is easy to maintain but doesn’t do well in high-heat washes, whereas cotton wins on the durability front as it can handle a lot more rough treatment. In short, they all have their pros and cons, but for baby bedding, clothing and swaddling, cotton and eucalyptus are both ideal in terms of durability. However, you should only use cotton sheets if your little one doesn’t have allergies.
- Affordability: All 3 fabrics are affordable and will likely outlast your baby’s need for them!
- Production Waste: Eucalyptus lyocell employs a closed-loop process, so almost all water and solvents are recovered and reused. This results in virtually no waste and better water management. The other fabrics cannot compete here, so eucalyptus is a clear winner if you care about ethical practices.
- Ethical Production Standards: China is one of the world’s biggest cotton exporters. This is often cheaper, but factories in China often come under fire for not meeting human rights standards. The result is a production process that is likely environmentally harmful and ethically compromising. When buying bamboo, we must also ask if the bamboo was grown on arable land, whether the workers are paid fairly and whether the wastewater was managed properly. When met with vague answers to these questions, many environment- and ethics-conscious opt-out of buying bamboo and turn to eucalyptus for their babywear.
So, which of the three materials is better for your little one’s bedsheets, swaddling and clothing? Generally, eucalyptus is the best option. The plant that creates this material doesn’t require much maintenance to grow, it isn’t produced using environmentally damaging methods, and it grows easily with no additional irrigation necessary. It’s also hygienic, breathable, absorbent and incredibly soft – babies and parents love it!
If you’re looking for baby products made from such an eco-friendly, cost-effective, comfortable material, then look no further! At Koala Bambino, we make cot sheets, swaddling cloths and baby blankets from organic eucalyptus. Our products are made with this soft yet resilient material, which is perfect for tucking in your little one at night.