Kerem Doğan Karakoç
What is Modal Fabric? – Advantages, Production, and Care Guide
What is modal fabric? Here’s everything you need to know about this eco-friendly fabric. From the production process to its use, we have created an extensive guide to understanding modal’s place in the world of fashion and apparel.
While cotton makes up 80% of the global market share, the new fibers start to take their place in the clothing industry as well. Due to cotton’s negative impacts on the environment, manufacturers have started utilizing more sustainable methods. As a result, the use of fabrics like modal has increased in recent years.
While the use of modal dates back to the 1950s, the semi-synthetic fabric now has wider use in the fashion industry. But what is modal fabric and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
What is modal?
Modal is a semi-synthetic fabric that is also known as HWM rayon. It falls into the semi-synthetic fabrics category as it is made from both synthetic and organic materials.
But the main source of modal fabric is beech trees. The bio-based fiber is considered a sustainable fabric due to the amount of water it requires during its production. Modal fabric is also known for its durability and breathability.
How is modal manufactured?
The process starts with obtaining the wood fibers from beechwood. The wood pulps turn into liquid and then go through a complex production process. The further stages include turning the cellulose into sheets.
The material is then soaked in various chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and sodium cellulose xanthate.
The created fibers then receive sulfuric acid to turn into yarns. After this stage, the material goes into the process of washing, bleaching, and drying.
In the final stage of the modal's production, the fiber is woven or knitted based on its future use.
Is modal sustainable?
While modal is a semi-synthetic fabric, it can biodegrade in nature as it is made from the beech tree.
The production process of modal contains chemical additives. And it does have an impact on both the health of the operators and the environment. But when compared to cotton or polyester, modal is more sustainable and eco-friendlier than most textiles.
The source of modal fabric, beech tree, tends to grow even in the harshest conditions. The growing and harvesting process does not damage the biodiversity or the quality of the soil as well. Renewable beech wood plays a key factor in fabric’s sustainability.
As it also yields a generous crop, allowing laborers to depend on a small number of resources. All of these reasons and more make modal an environmentally friendly textile.
Why do we use modal at Seza Textile?
Sustainability is a core element at Seza Textile. We embrace methods that are not only safe for the environment, but also for our employees, operators, and of course; our customers.
And the result of this transparent and responsible clothing manufacturing is products that are not only high quality but also safe, durable, and eco-friendly. That's why modal plays a key role in our products. It is a sustainable fabric that allows us to delve into a creative and innovative process while preserving our responsibility to the environment.
What are the advantages of modal fabric?
Modal is one of the best fabrics when it comes to durability and breathability. It is mostly used in underwear products as its texture does not cause any skin irritations. Thanks to the tiny air pores in its texture, it allows airflow and offers comfort.
The soft fabric is also a great alternative to silk or cotton. That's because modal is a type of rayon, which was developed to substitute for the shiny and luxurious texture of silk. While rayon fabrics did become great alternatives, modal offered a lot
Thanks to its flexible quality, it is also a great material for sportswear as we have seen its use in yoga pants, swimwear, and underwear.
Modal's many advantages over popular clothing materials have resulted in more demand in the industry as well.
The semi-synthetic fabric is quite flexible. That’s why it is mostly used in underwear and sportswear.
2. Very soft.
The soft structure of modal prevents skin irritations and heat rash. This makes it a perfect clothing material for athletic wear.
One of the best things about modal is its breathability. Pure modal clothes do not trap heat and allow the body to receive air.
4. Absorbent than cotton.
Modal is extremely absorbent as it absorbs 50% more water than conventional cotton.
5. Resistant against shrinking.
Modal clothes are not troubled with the possibility of fabric shrinkage. Even though it is a rayon fabric, pure modal preserves its shape and does not shrink in the wash.
6. Very durable.
Clothes made from this form of rayon are quite durable. Thanks to their tightly woven structure your modal clothes will not lose their shape even if you use them for years.
Another great feature of modal is its ability to bite into the dye. The clothes do not lose their dyes in the wash.
8. Eco-friendly and biodegradable.
The fabric is made from beech tree pulp and thus, it is completely biodegradable. The growth and production process of modal fabric makes it one of the eco-friendly fibers in the industry.
The soft textile material offers the best features of cotton. Yet it requires 10 to 20 times less amount of water in its production.
Is modal better than cotton?
The main difference between modal and cotton is that modal is softer and more durable than cotton.
Cotton, on the other hand, is more breathable than modal fabric and is easier and cheaper to produce.
When it comes to sustainability, modal remains the superior fabric to cotton. Both of the fibers are biodegradable. But of course, the growth and production process of cotton has massive negative impacts on the environment. A single cotton t-shirt requires 2,700 liters of water whereas the amount of water used in modal products is 20 times less.
In fact, conventional cotton is one of the greediest fibers to produce. Manufacturers depend on chemicals to keep up with the demand for cotton in the garment industry. This results in an immensely negative impact on the environment, the laborers, and biodiversity.
How to care for modal fabric?
Modal clothes are machine washable. Even though they can be washed regardless of the water temperature, it is best to wash modal in cold water. Unlike other rayon fabrics, modal does not require dry cleaning as well.
The clothes made from pure modal should be washed using oxygen-based bleach. Modal tends to get weaken when washed with bleaches that contain chlorine.
While modal does not wrinkle easily, it is best to hang your clothes up as soon as you take them from the dryer.
Modal indeed has a revolutionary impact on the garment industry. While its production costs are higher than popular fabrics like cotton or polyester, modal is likely to increase its portion in the future. Alongside its sustainability, it also has some of the best traits a clothing material can offer.