Modal Fabric is in Fashion: how sustainable is it?

is modal fabric sustainable

Every day we are bombarded with new fabrics and even stranger names and modal fabric is one of them. In this article, we will discover everything you need to know about this new sustainable fabric, used mainly for clothing and homewares.

When it comes to the fashion industry, there is a lot of concern regarding the production of textiles and the various harmful chemicals involved in the process. 

It is estimated that the fashion industry contributes over 2.1 billion tons of greenhouse gases yearly, enough to warm the earth and have a huge influence on climate change. Hence, many environmental activists have been inspired to create alternative sustainable fabrics that can be recycled and reused and have no harmful impact on the Earth. 

One example is the creation of modal fabric.

What is modal fabric and is it a natural fibre?

Modal is a semi-synthetic fibre derived from the beech tree. Modal is a variation of rayon. The unique process of manufacturing modal allows it to be elastic, durable, and light in weight with a wool-like appearance. Although modal texture may appear to have a cotton feel, modal fibres are three times softer and more flexible in nature.

Is modal a sustainable fabric?

According to research by TENCELTM, fabrics like modal have a predominantly positive impact on the environment because they are carbon-neutral, involve less land per ton than cotton fibres, and use twenty times less water than cotton fabric. 

These factors contribute to modal production having an overall low environmental footprint. As a result, numerous companies view modal as a sustainable and eco-friendly material.

Because they are derived naturally, standard Modal fibers have been verified as recyclable and biodegradable in commercial, residential, soil, and marine situations. This has been confirmed and certified by the TÜV Austria Belgium NV, making modal fabric waste harmless to the environment.

The Benefits of choosing modal vs other fabrics

Modal is a sustainable material that has many benefits compared to other clothing materials. It’s soft, breathable, and lightweight but can be made into a variety of different fabrics. Here are some reasons modals should be your best choice in fabric:

  • Modal fabric is great for summers, easily retains shape without the need for ironing. Here are some tips on how to further extend the life of your clothes.
  • Modal properties include high stretchability and breathability, so you can wear them on hot days without worrying about your clothes becoming too tight or sweaty.
  • Modal can be made into a variety of patterns and colors, so you can find the one that fits your style the best.
  • The texture of modal has a soft and elegant feel, making it comfortable to wear all day long. Hence, many clothing brands are shifting their clothing material for modal fabrics.
  • Modal is easy to care for – just throw it in the washing machine with some cold water and it will come out looking new again.
  • Modal fabrics have superior tensile strength, better wear resistance, and are more soluble in water than cotton. Modal material absorbs about 50% more water than cotton, making it easy to wash.
  • Because of its high luster and soft feel, it is often mixed with other fabrics to make blankets and throws. Modal also has a waterproofing quality that allows you to use it as a fabric for tents, clothing, swimwear and more.
  • Modal waste biodegrades quickly, and it can be made into environmentally friendly clothing from recycled materials.

How does Modal compare to common fabrics? which one is better?

1. Modal vs Cotton

Modals and cotton are both commonly used for garments. However, there are a few key differences. Cotton is breathable, lightweight and can wick away moisture from your body. However, cotton doesn’t hold up well in high-wear areas or after several washes, which gives it that worn-out look. 

That’s where modal fabric comes in. Unlike cotton, modal has excellent properties for maintaining shape while being lightweight and highly breathable at the same time.

2. Modal fabric vs Rayon

Modal has the same properties as rayon that allow for greater durability and resistance to wrinkles, grease, stains, and UV rays than cotton. It also dries faster than cotton and resists mildew odors better. 

Modal shirts are more durable than rayon because the type of yarn used for making modal fabrics is more elastic. It means that modal material recovers more quickly after being stretched or pulled on a nail or thread, hence making it best for active wear.

modal vs cotton

3. Viscose vs Modal

Modal fabric is made in a similar manufacturing process to viscose, except the fibers used in modal go through additional processing that renders the fabric more durable, lightweight, and smoother. 

It also possesses a stronger fiber strength while wet, which makes it simpler to clean because the fibers maintain their original form. 

The main difference between viscose and modal fabrics is that viscose is a synthetic fiber that needs a lot of care and maintenance, as it normally fades away the quickest.

4. Tencel vs Modal

Both modal and tencel are derived from natural ingredients in their production. The wood pulp of beech trees is used to manufacture modal, whereas eucalyptus trees are used to create Tencel.  Both of these fabrics are considered to be sustainable because they are made in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.

The qualities of smoothness, comfort, elasticity, and absorbency are all present in Modal, just as they are in Tencel. Modal has a somewhat gentler touch and feel to it, which is the primary distinction between the two materials in terms of their texture. 

5. Lyocell vs Modal

Lyocell fabric is the same as Tencel fabric. Both have the same properties and texture. Tencel is basically a brand name that was created by the Austrian textile company that produces Lyocell fabrics. Lyocell is great on the skin and can be combined with other textiles like cotton or polyester to create a more durable fabric. Watch here how the process of sustainable lyocell is made.

Final Thoughts on the sustainability of modal fabric

Modal fabric was created to serve all the functions of cotton, even better and most importantly, to ensure that the modal production is sustainable in every step of its process. With its beneficial qualities and low use of chemical products, modal is gradually gaining popularity as the textile of the future.

You May Also Like…