What Is Modal Fabric, and What Is It Used For? [Full Instructions] Update 07/2022

The fabric’s texture and feel are more important than anything else when you’re searching for intimate clothes! As you peruse the apparel at a shop, don’t be fooled by the garments’ silky, slinky feel. When it comes to underwear, you may be shocked to learn that modal is one of the most commonly utilized fabrics. Then, what exactly is modal?

Light and velvety, the modal fabric is created from synthetic beechwood pulp. It is common to see this semi-synthetic fabric in undergarments, sporting clothing, and even bedsheets. Because it consumes less water and produces more fiber per acre than most natural fibers, the modal fabric is touted as a more environmentally friendly option.

You’ll discover the origins of this fabric, as well as its advantages and disadvantages, in this article. Additionally, you’ll learn all you need to know about the current debate on sustainability. This popular fabric has so many uses, and now you can see them all!

What Is Modal Fabric

What is Modal Fabric?

Made from chemically altered beechwood pulp, modal is a semi-synthetic substance High wet modulus rayon (HWM) is a form of rayon, although it is a particular variety known as HWM. When wet, this type of rayon retains its shape and strength, making it ideal for outdoor use.

Because it is a relatively new synthetic fabric, you may not be familiar with this unusual fabric. In the 1950s, it was first developed in Japan. During World War II, the fashion industry saw a surge in the use of synthetic textiles, although they didn’t take off as swiftly.

Modal fibers were sold by Lenzing AG in Austria as early as 1964. There was a time when people didn’t even know about the plant-based textile until the 1970s.

Polyester and nylon are still a long way off in terms of reach for this new fabric. The garment business, on the other hand, is embracing it. You might be shocked to learn just how much synthetic material is in your closet!

You may see this fabric referred to as semi-synthetic or bio-based because it is made from beech trees.

What makes it stand out from the rest of the pack? Synthetic fabrics can be tailored by textile scientists to attain certain properties. Because of this, this fabric has been created to be the softest on the market.

Light, smooth, and silky are just few of the adjectives used to describe the feel of this product. You will often see it in high-end fashion and it does typically cost a bit more than regular cotton.

Because of the superior quality of this innovative fabric, demand for Modal clothes, intimates, and bedding is on the rise.

How is Modal Fabric Made

What is modal fabric made of

In order to make modal fabric, beech trees are harvested for their wood pulp, which is then chemically processed to create the fibers.

Are you ready to learn a little more about the world around you? Here’s a more in-depth look at the production process. This will help you understand what sets this fabric apart from natural and synthetic kinds of cloth.

Are you ready to learn a thing or two? Here’s a closer look at the manufacturing process. This will give you a better idea of how this material differs from other types of cloth, both natural and manufactured.

Afterward, a chemical known as carbon disulfide is used as a rinse in the manufacturing process. Sodium cellulose xanthate is the result of this process. At this time, the original chemical structure of the beechwood has been altered to some extent.

As a result, this cloth is classified as semi-synthetic.

Soaking the material one last time in sulfuric acid yields a material that producers can use to extrude fibers or spin yarn.

Modal is a synthetic fabric, despite the fact that it begins life as a plant. Its production technique is more like that of polyester, a completely synthetic fabric, than that of cotton.

You’ll frequently find it referred to as ecologically friendly or sustainable. As a result of its low water and chemical consumption, it has been awarded this distinction.

Moderately priced modal fabric is produced and exported primarily from China nowadays. However, there are a number of well-known companies throughout the world that specialize in this type of fabric. The Lenzing modal, for example, is especially well-known for its commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly textile manufacture by an Austrian firm called Lenzing AG.

Types of Modal Material

Modal material

These days, it is possible to purchase different types of modal, including standard, micro, and mixtures of these. To get the most out of the best qualities of each type of cloth, manufacturers usually combine several different kinds of fibers.

The production procedure for both modal and micro modal is the identical, save for one little change. The weave of micro modal uses even finer yarns and more threads per square inch than regular modal. This results in an extremely light fabric.

As a fabric, modal is good for making underwear and socks for women and men. For bedding and athletic clothing, producers typically combine it with either cotton or spandex.

Modal and cotton, in particular, are a great match. With modal, you get more softness, durability, and absorbency, as well as more breathability. Cotton does not shrink as much when washed and dried with modal.

Modal is an excellent stretchy combination for jogging, yoga, or working out in general, thanks to the inclusion of both spandex and lycra! Unlike most leggings or tank tops, this has a velvety smoothness about it that you won’t find anywhere.

What Does Modal Fabric Feel Like?

The silky, super-soft texture of Modal makes it a pleasure to wear. It has a silk-like feel to it in terms of texture. Because of its opulent appeal, it is frequently included in high-end fashion.

When was the last time you wore silk? It’s so light that you won’t even notice it’s there. Silky strands rustling against each other can be heard almost imperceptibly with every step you take.

Finally, the fabric’s feathery softness instead of the sharp roughness of many fabrics makes it a joy to touch.

Is Modal Breathable?

Sporting apparel frequently features modal fabric, which has a high breathability rating. Since it has tens of thousands of microscopic openings, it is incredibly effective at absorbing liquids and sweat. Furthermore, it has the moisture-wicking properties of many synthetic textiles, allowing perspiration to be evaporated swiftly into the atmosphere.

However, unlike cotton, which has a loose over-under weave that allows for good airflow, this fabric does not. The texture of this type of fabric is often tenser. In comparison to a piece of cotton, when you inhale into this fabric, you will notice less of your breath coming out on the other side.

However, Modal swiftly moves both heat and moisture away from your skin and into the atmosphere. Because of its micropores, it’s more breathable than, say, polyester.

Is Modal Fabric Warm?

Modal clothing

While modal does not produce a lot of heat, its ability to regulate body temperature makes it an excellent base layer for winter workouts.

Unlike flannel or a thick acrylic knit, the fabric alone will not keep you warm.

What this material excels at, though, is controlling body temperature by transferring heat from your skin to the surrounding air. This means that it may be used for both hot and cold weather sportswear!

Does Modal Shrink?

Modal is extremely resistant to shrinkage and stretching. Cotton shrinks more than half as much in the washing machine, but linen shrinks less than 5%. It even shrinks less than any other type of rayon, making it even more durable!

A cherished piece of clothing may have shrunk in the dryer, leaving you with a garment that’s considerably smaller than it was when you put it in! Even more frequently, a garment may appear twisted or skewed after being washed because it has stretched out.

With Modal, this will never happen! When wet, it doesn’t sag like a lot of other materials. Machine washing is possible because of this. It can also endure high dryer heats without melting or shrinking, but manufacturers often recommend putting it on a tumble dry setting rather than the permanent press setting.

Is Modal Fabric Stretchy?

With Modal, this will never happen! When wet, it doesn’t sag like a lot of other materials. Machine washing is possible because of this. It can also endure high dryer heats without melting or shrinking, but manufacturers often recommend putting it on a tumble dry setting rather than the permanent press setting.

Modal will not allow this to happen! This cloth, unlike many others, does not swell or shrink when wet. Machine washing is a breeze because to the material. It can also survive high dryer heats without melting or shrinking, but producers frequently advocate putting it on a tumble dry setting rather than the permanent press setting.

Does Modal Wrinkle?

With Modal, this won’t be an issue! In contrast to many materials, this one does not shrink when wet. Machine washing is possible because of this feature. It can also withstand high dryer temperatures without melting or shrinking, but manufacturers frequently advocate using the tumble dry setting instead of the permanent press setting.

Following a washing or ironing session, depending on the cut and style of your clothing, you may need to neatly fold it (recommended for knits) or hang it up.

When it comes to wrinkling, this fabric is more like polyester than a natural textile, like linen.

Is Modal Fabric Sustainable?

Sustainable and environmentally friendly production of modal fabric is possible, however it is dependent on the production process used by the manufacturer. Environmentally friendly fabric production is the goal of some businesses, yet profit margins often take precedence over environmental considerations at others.

What is a Sustainable Fabric?

When it comes to determining whether or not a cloth is sustainable, there are three main factors that come into play. The amount of water utilized to cultivate and produce the product is an important first step. It is also important to consider the environmental impact of natural materials, such as beech trees, which need the land for growth and harvest.

A last consideration is the amount of hazardous waste generated during production because many fabric manufacturing methods necessitate the usage of hazardous chemicals.

How does modal fabric fare in terms of these parameters, then?? While most natural fabrics require a great deal of water to produce, some, like Lenzing AG, use a fraction of that amount. When creating Lenzing modal, Lenzing AG uses more land per acre of harvested beech trees than most other natural fabrics while also harvesting the trees sustainably and environmentally benign.

At least they utilize significantly less sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide than is required for viscose rayon production. Modal has overtaken the use of viscose rayon because the manufacturing process of viscose rayon is significantly less environmentally friendly.

Ethical companies must enforce ecologically friendly practices in order to make this all work. If you want to create this cloth, you’ll have to destroy a large portion of the rainforest! Research the companies you buy your garments from if you’re an environmentally conscientious buyer.

Natural vs Synthetic Fabric

The use of natural or synthetic fibers has an effect on the long-term viability of a fabric. A bio-based fabric created from beech tree cellulose, modal is both naturally occurring and artificially produced. Natural fibers often do less harm than synthetic clothes because they require less harmful chemicals to be manufactured.

There are some synthetic textiles that may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin or allergies due of the chemicals used in their creation.

However, this debate might drag on for quite some time due to the fact that both sides have valid points to make. Ecologists say that the water needed to cultivate certain types of natural fibers is more harmful than the fibers themselves.

Overall, the goal of using a bio-based fabric such as modal over traditional synthetics like viscose rayon or polyester is to do less harm to the environment and utilize significantly less hazardous chemicals. Unlike many natural materials, it also requires less land and less water to produce.

Pros and Cons of Modal Fabric

So, now that you’re familiar with the origins of modal and what makes it unique, let’s weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this bio-based fabric. Cloth of this type is:

  • Amazingly supple and silky.
  • No clinging or sticking to your skin.
  • Comfortable and effective in wicking away perspiration.
  • Accumulating micropores that are capable of taking in a lot of water.
  • Stain, wrinkling, and stretching are all things that this fabric is resistant to.
  • Sustainable and more environmentally friendly than many other forms of textile.
  • However, it does not have the same level of breathability as certain natural fabrics.
  • While it’s pricey, it isn’t as pricey as silk or Pima cotton, which are two of the most expensive textiles on the market today.
  • As a result of chemicals employed in its production, this cloth may induce allergic responses.

Modal vs Cotton and Rayon

Differences Between Cotton and Modal

Modal is softer than cotton and more environmentally friendly than viscose, which are the two most common synthetic fibers.

Cloth for t-shirts, intimates, socks and sporting wear can be made from any of these three types of material. However, the sensations they evoke are vastly different. Additionally, modal is more comfortable, whereas cotton allows for better ventilation.

With a blend of cotton and polyester, certain clothing and home decor businesses are now offering a fabric that is both pleasant to the touch and breathable.

A rayon-like fiber, modal is also known as modal. As a result, viscose rayon has a lower flexibility and durability than cotton.

Lyocell, a form of rayon, is frequently mentioned in the context of rayon. Lyocell is basically rayon’s successor. It’s even more environmentally friendly because it’s created with a non-toxic chemical!

Modal fabric is commonly used in beds, towels, undergarments, socks, athletic clothing, and pajamas, among other things. Moderately priced modal clothing is available from Land’s End, Soma, and the Banana Republic. Amazon also carries a wide selection of clothes and household goods.

Expect to pay a little more than you would if you were shopping for a comparable polyester or nylon product. As an example, you might pay $30 for a modal blend t-shirt from the Gap instead of $10-15 for a polyester shirt.

Depending on the brand and style, however, the price difference can be rather large. A five-dollar price difference between a set of cotton sheets and a set of modal sheets isn’t uncommon.

Sheets

Modal sheets combine Egyptian cotton’s cloud-like softness with silk’s satiny smoothness. Even though they aren’t completely breathable like loosely woven natural cloth, they nevertheless have good moisture-wicking properties and can be washed many times.

The fact that these bed sheets don’t grow unpleasant small pills as you use them is one of their greatest advantages!

The only drawback to this high-end bedding is its hefty price tag, which normally ranges from $50 to $80. You may get a sense of what luxury bedding is all about by looking at this beautiful pair of linens.

Towels

There have been no major breakthroughs in the market for bath towels created using modal.

It’s unexpected, given that it has such a high absorption capacity! But there are a few companies like Land’s End that do sell blended fiber towels.

These towels are wonderful because of how smooth and soft they are.

Let us introduce you to a set of luxuriously soft and fluffy towels!

Underwear

At first, modal was popularized as a silk alternative for women’s undergarments. Luxurious softness and silky but not clingy texture of this material are well worth paying a little extra for your personal apparel. Since undergarments must be washed frequently, this fabric’s long, resilient fibers make that possible.

Comfortable breathability and strong moisture absorption for hot and humid days are also provided by this particular material. No one likes to feel sweaty in some spots!

All of this means that this fabric can be found in both normal and high-end underwear, as well as lingerie. Comfort is something you can look forward to when wearing this modal blend outfit.

Socks

With a work suit or a pair of loafers, modal socks give you a polished and refined appearance. They appear silkier than most other socks. There are several businesses that sell modal dress socks, but leave the rough footwear to other fabrics.

Using this cloth to clean and wear your socks is a benefit because it won’t fade over time. It’s not going to stretch or pill either.

These striped dress socks are both stylish and comfortable!

Athletic Wear

Modal’s ability to drain away moisture makes it ideal for athletic wear. Cools you off when you run, stretch or dance! With this absorbent fabric, you won’t feel like you’re swimming in your own sweat at the end of your workout.

On top of that, this material is extremely flexible, making it ideal for high-energy activities. It is possible to get even greater stretch from modal and spandex combinations.

A smooth base layer under a tougher upper layer like a t-shirt or sweatshirt is a good idea if you’re going to be working out outside. Look at this ultra-soft tank to get a sense of how cozy this gear is!

Pajamas

Modal pajamas are a great option if you want to sleep in style or just want to lay around the house in total relaxation. Your finances will look better and you’ll be able to buy real silk pajamas.

With this silky linen, you can wear nightgowns that have a satiny design and drape beautifully. There are a variety of modal knit pajama sets available to keep you warm and stylish.

To keep you cool and dry while you’re sleeping, proper sleepwear will wick away any excess moisture.

This set of pajamas is both casual and comfortable.

Is Modal Fabric Good for Kids?

Kids’ apparel and bedding made of modal fabric are extremely soft and comfortable. Unlike most synthetic fabrics, this one is gentler on skin. Because it won’t catch and rub against the irritating areas, it’s especially beneficial for youngsters with dry skin.

Furthermore, in the United States, children’s clothing is specifically protected from threats such as choking or burning. Sleepwear for children is a prime example of this.

You may not be able to afford the additional cost of this unique cloth. The tiny bit of luxury your children will have is up to you, but if you can afford it, do it for them.

How to Care for Modal Fabric

This fabric can be washed and dried using a washing machine and a dryer, making it simple to care for. When using a typical warm dryer and either warm or cool water, you have a lot of options. It’s okay to wash your modal clothes multiple times a year, as long as you take care of them.

As a general rule, you should avoid using both chlorine bleach and the permanent press option on your dryer whenever feasible.

To be sure a stain remover won’t ruin your modal clothing, try a small area with it first. Try rubbing a mixture of baking soda and water over the stain with a soft sponge or cloth. Inspect the clothing before drying it to determine whether any stains have been removed!

Most modal garments can be ironed on the wrong side of the fabric by using a low heat setting and turning the garment inside out. Avoid scalding a glossy area on the front of your shirt by doing this!

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should be an expert on this new cloth! Modal is a bio-based substance made from cellulose in beechwood pulp, as you now know.

You’re also aware of the material’s extraordinary smoothness and suppleness. As a result of these properties, it is frequently used for everything from bed linens to underwear to a variety of other forms of clothing.

Also, you had an opportunity to think about sustainability. As a result, Modal strives to be more environmentally friendly than many other fabrics.

Ever bought anything made of modal? Were you expecting it to be as supple as you found it? Comment below and let us know what you think!

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