Although Rayon and Viscose are used interchangeably for similar fabric, there are differences between the two fabrics. The manufacturing process is the major difference when it comes to Viscose vs Rayon. But, before we explore the properties to tell them apart, here’s a quick lowdown on what the two fabrics are and how they are made.
What is Rayon?
Rayon is a highly absorbent fabric which is neither natural nor artificial. It undergoes several chemical processes. It is manufactured using a plant fiber called cellulose. As Rayon is regenerated or reformed in its final form using cellulose fiber, it is also called regenerated cellulose fiber. For garments such as skirts, gowns, shirts, or more, it is woven or knitted, and dyed. Initially, it was used as a cloth for home furnishings.
Nevertheless, it is not durable. It cannot withstand wear and tear for long, turns yellow with time, and forms tiny balls in rough areas.
There are several types of Rayon including Tencel Rayon, Polynosic Rayon, Lyocell, super-absorbent rayon, and Viscose Rayon.
What is Viscose?
Rayon is a term used in North America, whereas in Europe and other parts of the world, Viscose is another name for Rayon. However, as mentioned earlier, the manufacturing processes create the major difference.
Viscose is a form of Rayon, made from an organic liquid called Viscose. This liquid is used in the production of cellophane and Rayon to make synthetic velvet, art silk, and modal silk to name a few.
Most of the materials used in Viscose and Rayon are some, Viscose undergoes more chemical processes than Rayon, and also addition of other materials such as caustic soda can make a difference.
Viscose fabric is made by dissolving the wood pulp or cotton linter in caustic soda. After soaking it for a stipulated time, it is then shredded and aged. Then, after treating it with some chemicals, it is again dissolved in a low concentration of acetate dope and caustic soda.
It is used in making curtains, tablecloth, furniture covers, napkins, or light clothing. Although it is cheaper, it requires maintenance ascribing to its affinity to wrinkle.
Differences between Rayon and Viscose
Despite the fact that the Federal Trade Commission and some environment groups consider the two the same, there are some differences between the two.
Rayon can be manufactured from cellulose derived from a variety of plants, but Viscose requires wood pulp or cotton linter.
When it comes to softness or texture, Rayon is less soft than Viscose. Though both are delicate and susceptible to heat, using a washing machine is not recommended. One interesting fact about Viscose is that it looks like silk, but feels like cotton. However, Rayon is highly absorbent and imitates silk.
Owing to the high concentration of caustic soda, Viscose is less durable than other forms of Rayon.
Both the fabrics require careful handling and maintenance. Rayon is more vulnerable to shrinking and wrinkling than Viscose due the difference in materials.
Both fabrics are breathable, but Rayon is slightly on a safer edge as it mimics silk fabric which is breathable. Rayon is also better for hot weather conditions; however, Viscose keeps you warm even in cooler conditions.