All over the globe, throughout the textile industry, there is a fabric that has taken the market by storm since the early 1950s. Modal, a semi-synthetic fiber made from reconstituted and processed beech-wood pulp, is known for its luxurious characteristics and lofty price.
So in this article, we will incur an in-depth look at this excellent fiber. We shall ask questions like, What are its pros and cons? Is modal fabric toxic, stretchy, breathable, natural? How about modal fabric care? Can modal fabric be washed?
Modal Fabric Pros
Modal is considered to be one of the best fabrics in the textile market. Its characteristics are highly sought after, as many of the world’s top fashion designers and high-end clothing brands, tend to use modal or modal blends regularly to manufacture their products.
Below we will list 5 benefits of modal, in no particular order, about why modal is simply, well, amazing.
1. Modal is a great fabric for hot weather
Modal is one of the best fabrics in the market for hot weather. This material is highly porous and lightweight, making it ideal for warm sunny days where sweating might become an issue.
This is why modal is extremely popular as underwear, ensuring comfort and breathability throughout the day.
2. Modal has an outstanding texture
Modal is known for being soft like wool and cotton, smooth and shiny like silk, and cool to the touch.
There isn’t a better fabric out there to sleep on during warm summer days, you will feel caressed and cool throughout the entire night.
3. It’s an eco-friendly Material
The modal manufacturing process uses sustainable sources of beech-wood, which is used to produce the pulp, which is then turned into cellulose fiber (i.e. natural plastic).
The pure modal is 100% biodegradable. Also, the fiber yield per acre for the trees employed to produce modal, is much higher than that of cotton.
4. Modal fabric is very strong
Modal is known for its strength and durability. It is widely regarded as “synthetic cotton” because of its similar sturdy characteristics.
This is why modal is used universally for the production of sportswear. Modal can sustain the pulls and stretches of physical exercise reliably.
5. Modal is highly water-absorbent
Modal can soak up much more moisture than most other rayon fabrics. It can absorb up to 50% more moisture than cotton, thus ensuring a high degree of permeability, perfect for luxury towels or sports tank tops.
This feature also allows modal to absorb dyes more efficiently, which in turn allows producers to use fewer dyes to achieve the same overall finish, making this characteristic highly important in terms of keeping our planet clean.
Modal Fabric Cons
Like most things in life, there is no such thing as perfection. Naturally, modal fabric has some intrinsic disadvantages, they are, however, easily bypassed by simply blending modal with other fabrics, as well as doing some research before deciding to purchase.
Below we will explore, in no particular order, 5 cons of modal fabric.
1. Modal fabric is prone to shrink
Modal fabric is a type of rayon fiber, which means that it can shrink if improperly washed. This is why it’s advised you always dry clean your modal fabrics.
If you don’t have access to dry cleaning methods, make sure you iron your modal gently (low heat) after every washing cycle, this helps ensure the modal fabric intrinsic properties.
Also, make sure that if you have to use the washing machine, you don’t set the temperature any higher than 40 degrees, as this may lead to our next con.
2. Modal fabric tends to turn yellow
One of the most unfortunate disadvantages of this fabric is decoloration. Some types of modal tend to turn yellow if enough heat is applied.
We recommend avoiding temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with this amount of heat, some types of modal will begin to change their color, therefore lowering the quality of your fabric and dye.
We advise you to wash your modal by hand, this ensures you don’t end up with a discolored material.
3. Modal fabric is not suited for insulation
Is modal fabric warm? Short answer, no. A pro can become a disadvantage. Because modal fabrics have excellent breathability, they are not well suited for cold weather, as most warm air will simply circulate efficiently away from the fabric. Thus, rendering modal quite ineffective in terms of keeping you warm.
4. Modal can cause allergic reactions in some people
Some people experience adverse skin reactions to semi-synthetic and synthetic fibers. Because modal is not a natural fabric, skin irritation, small red bumps, and scratchiness can be avoided by doing some thorough research before acquiring this fabric.
If you feel any discomfort in your skin while wearing this fabric, we recommend you stop using immediately.
5. It’s expensive
The price of this fabric is considered to be a disadvantage. Because of its manufacturing process specifications, modal fiber, with all its excellent properties, ranks higher in terms of price point.
Using sustainable sources of beech wood is one of the main culprits here. Don’t get discouraged if the price is too high for you, modal blends are the perfect budget alternatives.
Just make sure the fabric is not stretched out tight in the moment of cutting, relaxed is best, as the sudden loss of elastic tension can abruptly deform the fibers, transforming the characteristics of your high-quality fabric.
Modal sheets are the perfect match for warm, damp weather, because of their outstanding breathability and silky smooth texture.
They drape easily and seamlessly around the body, and they are cold to the touch, helping you fall asleep faster on those rough (and very hot) summer nights.
We thoroughly recommend you consider modal as a fabric for your clothing needs. Modal and blended modal clothing has superb and radiant quality.
It’s used by many luxury brands to create high-end clothes. Its soft, durable, silky, stretchy, breathable, and lightweight traits make it one of the most sought after fabrics in the clothing market.
It’s especially popular in the sportswear, men’s and women’s underwear market for these reasons.
They are a step up from your everyday polyester, rayon, or even a cotton shirt.
If modal is blended with other fabrics, such as cotton, you can increase the tensile strength of the fibers, making it even more durable.
If you like to stay elegant during your everyday activities, especially during warm weather, modal is one of the best fabrics around for this specific application.
So there you have it – the pros and cons of modal fabric.
As you can see it’s an outstanding material that can be used on countless applications. It’s luxurious without being inaccessible, it has an array of features that make it a perfect fabric to for bedding and clothes.
We recommend the highly rated Briarwood sheet set if you’re looking for modal sheets.
And even though you may need to keep an eye for certain allergies, discoloration, and overall maintenance, it’s all part of the course when it comes to high-end fabrics.