Is Viscose A Breathable Fabric? A Detailed Look

Welcome! If you’ve landed here, you’re likely wondering whether viscose fabric is breathable. In short, yes – viscose can be a very breathable fabric. But what exactly is viscose and what makes it breathable? Read on for a deep dive into viscose fabric.

Viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber made from plant cellulose. It’s lightweight, soft, breathable, and absorbs moisture well. This makes viscose a popular fabric choice for clothing, especially in warm weather. Its breathability comes from its porous structure that allows air to pass through easily.

We’ll explore the production process and properties of viscose to understand why it can be so breathable and comfortable to wear.

What is Viscose Fabric?

Viscose fabric, also known as rayon, is a popular material in the textile industry. It is a versatile and widely used fabric due to its softness, comfort, and draping qualities. Viscose fabric is known for its smooth and silky feel, making it a popular choice for clothing such as dresses, blouses, and shirts.

Made from Cellulose

Viscose fabric is made from cellulose, which is derived from natural sources such as wood pulp or bamboo. Cellulose is processed to create a viscous liquid, which is then extruded through spinnerets to form fibers. These fibers are then woven or knitted to create the final fabric.

Wood pulp is the most common source of cellulose used in the production of viscose fabric. The wood pulp is treated with chemicals to break it down into a soluble form, which can then be processed into fibers.

Bamboo is also a popular source of cellulose for viscose fabric, as it is a sustainable and renewable resource.

Semi-Synthetic Fiber

Viscose fabric is often referred to as a semi-synthetic fiber because it undergoes a chemical process to transform natural cellulose into a usable fabric. While it is derived from natural materials, it is not considered a natural fiber like cotton or silk.

However, it still retains some of the qualities of natural fibers, such as breathability and moisture absorption.

Production Process

The production process of viscose fabric involves several steps. After the cellulose is extracted from the source material, it is dissolved in a chemical solution to create a viscous liquid. This liquid is then forced through spinnerets to form long fibers.

The fibers are then chemically treated and washed to remove impurities.

Once the fibers are clean, they are spun into yarn and woven or knitted into fabric. The fabric is then finished through processes such as dyeing, printing, and treating to improve its appearance and performance.

It is important to note that the production process of viscose fabric can have environmental implications. Chemicals used in the process can be harmful if not properly managed, and the sourcing of cellulose from unsustainable practices can contribute to deforestation.

However, efforts are being made in the industry to develop more sustainable and eco-friendly production methods for viscose fabric.

Properties of Viscose


One of the key properties of viscose is its absorbency. Viscose fibers have a high moisture regain, meaning they can absorb and retain moisture easily. This makes viscose a popular choice for clothing items such as towels, bathrobes, and bed linens.

The absorbent nature of viscose allows it to wick away moisture from the body, keeping the wearer comfortable and dry.

Soft and Lightweight

Viscose is known for its soft and lightweight feel. The fibers are smooth and have a silky texture, making them incredibly comfortable to wear. The lightweight nature of viscose makes it an excellent choice for warm weather clothing, as it allows for breathability and prevents the wearer from feeling weighed down.


Contrary to popular belief, viscose is indeed a breathable fabric. Due to its porous nature, viscose allows air to circulate freely through the fibers, making it ideal for clothing items like shirts, dresses, and skirts.

This breathability helps to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating, making viscose a great choice for summer clothing.

Drapes Well

Viscose is renowned for its excellent draping properties. The fibers have a natural fluidity that allows them to drape beautifully on the body, creating an elegant and flattering silhouette. This makes viscose a popular choice for garments such as dresses, skirts, and blouses, as it adds a touch of sophistication to any outfit.

Prone to Wrinkling

While viscose has many desirable properties, it is important to note that it is prone to wrinkling. The fibers have a tendency to crease easily, especially when exposed to moisture or heat. It is recommended to handle viscose garments with care and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and ironing to minimize wrinkling.

What Makes Viscose Breathable?

Viscose, also known as rayon, is a popular fabric choice due to its softness and versatility. But is viscose breathable? Let’s take a closer look at what makes this fabric breathable and comfortable to wear.

Moisture-Wicking Ability

One of the factors that contribute to the breathability of viscose is its moisture-wicking ability. Viscose has the ability to absorb moisture from the body and release it into the air, keeping you cool and dry.

This makes it an ideal choice for hot and humid climates or for those who tend to perspire more.

Porous Structure

Viscose has a porous structure, which allows air to flow through the fabric. This enables better ventilation and helps to regulate body temperature. The tiny air pockets in the fabric allow for better breathability, making it a comfortable choice for everyday wear.

Loose Weave Options

Viscose fabrics are available in various weave options, including loose weaves. These loose weaves allow for better air circulation, enhancing the breathability of the fabric. It is important to note that the breathability of viscose can vary depending on the tightness or looseness of the weave.

Thin Fibers

Viscose fibers are generally thin, which contributes to their breathability. Thinner fibers allow for better airflow, keeping you cool and comfortable. The thinness of the fibers also adds to the lightweight feel of the fabric, making it a great choice for summer clothing.

Viscose Fabric Care

Wash in Cool Water

When it comes to caring for viscose fabric, it’s important to handle it with care to maintain its longevity. One of the key steps in caring for viscose fabric is to wash it in cool water. This helps prevent shrinkage and damage to the fabric.

Cold or lukewarm water is best, as hot water can cause the fabric to lose its shape and color. Additionally, using a gentle detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics can help maintain the quality of your viscose garments.

Hang Dry

After washing, it’s recommended to hang dry your viscose garments. This is because viscose fabric is prone to stretching when wet, and using a dryer can further exacerbate this issue. Instead, gently squeeze out any excess water from the fabric and then hang it up to air dry.

Hanging the garment also helps prevent wrinkles, as viscose fabric has a tendency to crease easily. If you need to speed up the drying process, you can place the garment in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight.

Iron on Low Heat

When it comes to ironing viscose fabric, it’s important to use a low heat setting. Viscose fabric can be sensitive to high temperatures and can easily scorch or burn. To avoid any damage, set your iron to a low or medium-low heat setting and iron on the reverse side of the fabric.

If you’re unsure about the heat setting, it’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first. Additionally, using a pressing cloth or a clean cotton cloth between the iron and the fabric can provide an extra layer of protection.

Dry Cleaning

In some cases, dry cleaning may be the best option for cleaning your viscose garments. Dry cleaning professionals have the expertise and specialized equipment to effectively clean and care for delicate fabrics like viscose.

If your viscose garment has intricate details or embellishments, dry cleaning can help ensure that they are properly handled and maintained. However, it’s always a good idea to check the care label of your garment and consult with a professional cleaner to determine the best course of action.

Viscose vs Other Breathable Fabrics

Viscose vs Cotton

When it comes to breathability, viscose and cotton are often compared. Cotton is known for its excellent breathability, allowing air to circulate freely through the fabric. However, viscose, also known as rayon, can also offer a high level of breathability.

While it may not be as breathable as cotton, it still allows air to pass through and keeps you comfortable throughout the day.

Viscose is made from cellulose fibers, which are derived from wood pulp. This natural origin contributes to its breathability, as it allows moisture to evaporate from the skin, keeping you cool and dry. Additionally, viscose has a smooth and soft texture, providing comfort and breathability.

It is important to note that the breathability of viscose can vary depending on the specific weave and thickness of the fabric. Thinner, looser weaves tend to be more breathable compared to thicker, tightly woven viscose fabrics.

Viscose vs Linen

Linen is often considered one of the most breathable fabrics available. Its natural fibers allow air to flow easily, making it a popular choice for warm weather. However, viscose can also offer a good level of breathability.

Viscose has a similar drape and feel to linen, making it a suitable alternative if you prefer a fabric with a similar look and texture. While linen may have a slight edge in terms of breathability, viscose can still provide comfort and keep you cool on hot days.

Both linen and viscose have their own unique properties, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.

Viscose vs Rayon

Viscose and rayon are often used interchangeably, as viscose is a type of rayon. Rayon is a versatile fabric that can imitate the feel and texture of natural fibers like silk and cotton. It is known for its breathability and ability to wick away moisture.

Viscose, being a type of rayon, shares these properties. It allows air to circulate freely, keeping you cool and comfortable. Whether you choose viscose or another type of rayon, you can expect a breathable fabric that is suitable for various climates.

When shopping for viscose or rayon, it is important to check the label and ensure that the fabric is made from high-quality fibers to ensure optimal breathability.

Viscose vs Bamboo

Bamboo fabric is gaining popularity for its breathability and eco-friendly properties. It is made from bamboo pulp, which is then processed to create a soft and comfortable fabric. Like viscose, bamboo fabric has excellent moisture-wicking properties and allows air circulation.

Both viscose and bamboo fabrics offer breathability, but there are some differences between the two. Bamboo fabric is often touted as being more sustainable and environmentally friendly compared to viscose, as it is derived from a renewable resource.

However, the breathability of both fabrics is quite similar.

Ultimately, whether you choose viscose or bamboo fabric depends on your personal preferences and values. Both fabrics can provide breathability and comfort.


To wrap up, viscose is generally a very breathable fabric thanks to its ability to absorb moisture, porous structure, and lightweight feel. It breathes better than some natural fabrics like cotton. However, other plant-based synthetics like rayon and bamboo can be just as breathable.

When shopping for viscose clothing, look for loose weaves and thin material for maximum breathability. With proper care, viscose fabric will keep you cool and comfortable in hot weather.

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