This entry was posted on January 15, 2016.
One of the key characteristics of bamboo that we often discuss is its ability to fight off the microbes and bacteria that normally build up on sheets and blankets. But it isn’t often we go into the deep, scientific details of it all, so today we’re going to look a little closer and see what it is about bamboo that makes it so antimicrobial.
Why is this even a question for bedding? Because microbial growth is most likely to happen in places that are high in moisture and temperature, which means simply sweating at night is going to create an ideal environment for unwanted bacteria. So let’s take a closer look at this material and see why it can help you get a better night’s rest.
What Are The Scientific-Types Saying?
Well, to be absolutely clear and straightforward about it, the scientific-types are saying a couple different things about the antimicrobial properties, leading to some debate about how it works and how well it works.
The most commonly cited reason for its antibacterial abilities is tied to the natural properties of the plant. More specifically, bamboo is naturally hollow in the horizontal cross section, so its fiber shows many gaps which can absorb and evaporate human skin moisture (just like bamboo naturally does with other moisture in the environment).
These studies also point out that bamboo does not require pesticides when it is grown, partly because of the natural antifungal and antibacterial agent that is referred to as “bamboo kun.” This, it is said, translates into the products that are made out of the plant.
However, another study wasn’t so sure about the bamboo kun and couldn’t create an experiment that showed the natural bamboo fibers were more likely to kill certain microbes than other materials. However, they were able to show that those bamboo fibers had the highest level of hygroscopic properties, and that, they say, could make a huge difference.
Hygroscopy is a fancy, sciencey way of saying that it has a great ability to attract and hold water. The bamboo fibers were much more capable of regaining and evaporating water, which means that even if it doesn’t outright kill the microbes, it does create an environment in which they can’t survive.
So maybe that’s just two sides of the same coin, because either way, bamboo has the ability to limit the amount of potential microbial growth on your bedding.
So how much do these properties actually help?
There have been several studies done on the subject, and in one test performed by the China Industrial Testing Center in 2003, they saw some impressive results. They incubated 100% bamboo fabric for 24 hours with staphylococcus aureous. Once the time limit was up, they counted up the live bacteria and saw that the fabric had a 99.8% antimicrobial elimination rate.
This is, of course, just one of many tests that have been done over the years to test what kinds of bacteria fall to the natural properties of bamboo. In the end, though, what really matters is that you get to experience a better and healthier night’s sleep.