Tuesday, 15 February 2011

FAQ's: Bamboo Vs Cotton - Absorbency & Drying Time

At Eureco, there are three questions our customers ask us all the time:

· Are Bamboo Towels more absorbent than Cotton Towels?
· Do
Bamboo Towels absorb more quickly than Cotton Towels?
· Do
Bamboo Towels take longer to dry than Cotton Towels?

Sometimes the answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no, so I thought I’d post a blog to explain.

I've even included the results of some of the testing I’ve had done along the way. Megan will be horrified to see Frances’ blogging reach new nerdy heights!

Are Bamboo Towels more absorbent than Cotton Towels? Yes.

Test 1: Comparative Absorbency

Two pieces of terry cloth identical in size and construction, one composed 100% cotton fibre and the other 100% bamboo fibre are weighed and their dry weight is noted. The two pieces of cloth are then wholly submerged in water and left to soak and absorb as much of the liquid as they can. The pieces are then removed and weighed again. The new weight is measured as a percentage compared to the dry weight.

As you can see below, the bamboo sample outperformed the cotton sample, absorbing 1.76 times its weight in water, compared to the cotton sample which absorbed 1.5 times its weight.

Do Bamboo Towels absorb more quickly than Cotton Towels? Yes.

Test 2: Speed of Absorbency

The below illustration is based on the Marks & Spencer Test that registers the time for a piece of terry cloth to sink to the bottom of a glass. The bamboo sample absorbs the liquid more easily than the cotton sample and therefore sinks to the bottom of the glass much faster.

Do Bamboo Towels take longer to dry than Cotton Towels? No.

As illustrated below, the speed at which bamboo fibre evaporates its moisture and dries is roughly equivalent to that of cotton.

Test 3: Drying Time

As above, two pieces of terry cloth (one 100% bamboo fibre and the other 100% cotton fibre) are washed, rinsed and spun as per a domestic washing machine. They are then weighed and hung out to dry. At 5 minute intervals each piece is weighed again until dry.

In the below diagram the two lines run roughly parallel illustrating that the bamboo sample and the cotton sample dry at roughly the same rate.

It is important to note that in the above test the bamboo towel was heavier (ie: wetter as a function of its superior absorbency) when it started the drying process and therefore did take a little longer to dry.


If a cotton towel absorbs 500ml of water and a bamboo towel also absorbs 500ml of water, the towels will take approximately the same length of time to dry because they have absorbed the same amount of water and they evaporate their moisture at roughly the same rate.

In practice within the home however, bamboo towels can appear to take a little more time to dry than their cotton counterpart. This is not because the bamboo fibre is slower to evaporate its moisture, rather, because the bamboo fibre is far more absorbent so it simply starts out much wetter and therefore can take a little longer to dry.

Bamboo towels are a fantastic alternative to cotton towels because they are so much softer to the touch, they are far more absorbent, they absorb more quickly so after your bath or shower, you’ll feel much drier much faster and because their production is generally kinder on the environment.

So, they look and feel better, they perform better and they are better for the environment. Next time you’re in the market for some new towels, it really is worth considering buying bamboo towels from Eureco.

Many of our customers have reported that once they had used a bamboo towel, they didn’t want to use anything else again. Experience the difference for yourself.

Do you have any other questions? Post below and I’ll see what I can do to answer them.



  1. You didn't comment on mixtures of the two fibers. I just bought towels from Target, 75% Cotton and 25% rayon from bamboo. They feel soft now. I wonder if it will last through many washings.

  2. Search through Google and you’ll get to see the large number of industrial chemicals manufacturers in India; however, they all are not equal when it comes to the quality and pricing of the product.

  3. Would these be a good idea to use in high humidity places. We are moving to Roatan Honduras and were going green so I'm interested to know if these would still dry just as well or would they possibly never really dry/possibly get musty smelling

  4. Clothes from Bamboo fibers seem perfect for summer time.

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  8. I would like to know more about the sources of information used to make the graphics that compare cotton and bamboo towels. I am doing a study to know why the virtues of bamboo fiber have been discredited and these graphics seem very valuable to clarify doubts for those who choose this wonderful material

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  18. The cotton industry doesn't want bamboo to succeed, so look for the funding source of any "study" or "review". Bamboo isn't all good either, in terms of sustainability, but alternative options are good for all.


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