The Difference Between Modal and Lyocell
First, we answered the question, “what is lyocell?” Then, we followed that up with some clarification about how lyocell and rayon compare. Now, we’re here to set the record straight once and for all about the differences (and similarities) between lyocell and modal.
What is Lyocell?
As a quick recap, lyocell is one type of rayon fabric. It’s used in everything from paper and medical dressings to clothing and sheets.
[Insert "oohs" and "ahhs" over the beautiful lyocell here]
Lyocell is what some people call the “third-generation” of rayon fabrics since it’s the most recent version of the textile. It’s like a remix of a remix. And a good one at that.
As for its texture, lyocell is very soft and breathable. That’s probably why so many people love lyocell sheets like ours. (Sure, we might be biased but thousands of strangers have never been wrong before, right?)
What is Modal?
Like lyocell, modal is also a semi-synthetic rayon fabric. Modal is probably most famous for its use in activewear like leggings and shorts but it’s commonly found in other clothing items and household items, too.
Modal dates back to the 1950s in Japan, though the production process has changed somewhat since then. Still, it’s the direct predecessor of our friend lyocell. The “second-generation,” if you will, to viscose’s “first generation.” It’s a whole little rayon family.
Just like you and your pups are a family, lyocell and modal are, too.
So what’s the difference?
As you can probably tell, there is a lot of overlap between modal and lyocell. They’re both parts of the rayon family tree. They’re both semi-synthetic fabrics made from plants. They’re both popular fabrics for clothing and household items like sheets.
But don’t get it twisted. These two fabrics are not identical.
The differences pretty much all stem from the production process.
To start, modal is often made from beech tree wood while lyocell is generally made with eucalyptus wood. Yes, they’re both made from wood pulp but as any dendrologist (add that to your word of the day calendar!) will tell you, no two types of wood are exactly alike. Using different woods to make the fabrics results in different textures in the finished products.
The chemicals used in the production processes of the two fabrics are also different. With lyocell, the solvents used in production are almost entirely reusable from one batch to the next. That means lyocell production creates much less waste than modal (or even cotton, silk, etc.) production. It’s more sustainable.
Another main difference in the production process between modal and lyocell is that the closed-loop lyocell process creates a more uniform structure. That uniform structure helps the lyocell to absorb more water than most other fabrics.
It sounds like a small thing but this difference helps wick away moisture. If you’re sleeping on lyocell sheets, the moisture-wicking property should allow you to sleep coolly. And that's not even a reference to how cool these sheets are.
Pick yourself up a set of our luxurious lyocell sheets to learn firsthand how great lyocell can be. Your friends will be jealous.
The picture of beauty. Er, I mean, good sleep!