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Lyocell vs Rayon: A Comparison

Lyocell vs Rayon: A Comparison

Lyocell vs Rayon: A Comparison

Since we’re always raving about lyocell, the fabric our luxurious sheets are made of, we get asked a lot, “what’s the difference between lyocell and rayon?” 

Also, “why do you talk about those sheets so much?” The answer to this is: they’re just so incredible, we can’t stop talking about them. 

Anyway, back to lyocell and rayon. Understandably, people get these two confused. There’s plenty of overlap between them but the confusion ends right here.

Man jumping over bed

Get ready to jump with joy over learning about rayon and lyocell!

What is Rayon?

Rayon is what’s known as a semi-synthetic cellulosic fiber. It’s made from natural materials, most commonly wood pulp. The wood gets dissolved and chemically treated to become cellulose. The cellulose gets spun into threads and then those threads make up rayon fabric. 

If you start reading labels, you’ll notice that rayon shows up in lots of products. It’s used in everything from clothes to construction to, you guessed it, sheets. 

Rayon dates back to the 1880s but it hasn’t stayed exactly the same in the years since. There have been several popular versions of rayon fabric, “generations,” if you will. The first generation was viscose, the second was modal, and the third… drumroll, please… is lyocell. 

As is always the case, each generation was slightly different than the one that came before it. Lyocell was a welcome new addition to the family. 

What is Lyocell?

So, as we said, lyocell is a type of rayon fabric. Lyocell is rayon but not all rayon is lyocell. Did you get that?

Lyocell has a similar texture to the two earlier rayon fabrics, though some people say it’s even softer. 

Because of its breathability and moisture-wicking properties, lyocell is a very popular fabric for bed sheets. It’s a favorite around here, for sure. 

Dog in a bed

The votes are in: people and pets alike love lyocell

Lyocell is made through a production process that mostly mirrors the one used to make viscose and modal, with one key distinction. The big difference between lyocell and other rayon fabrics is sustainability. 

The Sustainability Question

A lot has changed since the 19th century when people were first patenting early rayon fabrics. Now, being able to make things sustainably is a major priority. Luckily, that’s one area where lyocell wins by a landslide. 

Lyocell is the most sustainable of the three generations of rayon fabrics. Not to brag, but it’s more sustainable than other fabric options like cotton and silk, too. 

It all comes down to the production process. The chemical process for making lyocell is slightly different from the one for making modal and viscose. The solvents used to break down the wood pulp for lyocell are almost completely reusable. That was simply not the case with the earlier generations. As a result, there’s almost no waste. 

No waste! How often do you hear that?

Bottom Line

Rayon fabrics are almost always a great choice but if you ask us, lyocell is the absolute best of the bunch. Next time you need a set of sheets or even a comforter, opt for ones made out of lyocell. You’ll be glad you did! 

Folded grey comforter and sheet set

Don't waste another night sleeping on sheets that are just okay

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