Fabrics Database - Viscose

Summaries for Viscose

Key: Centre (0) Bad        Outer (6) Good

Characteristics / options defined by the above graphs are proportionally represented and approximate, and are only intended as a guide. As such they do not represent any industry standards. Among other things, fabric construction and weight will influence the perceived ranking.

Data Sheet for Viscose


Regenerated Cellulose fibre. Viscose fibres are a form of regenerated cellulose that are manufactured through a complex chemical process. Converted into a series of intermediate cellulose compounds, the final spinning process regenerates cellulose from a cellulose xanthenes dope. Involving strong sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acids as well as carbon disulphide, there are inevitably environmentally concerns surrounding the process. Latest technology does however attempt to address these issues.Generally viscose fibres have an irregular round cross section with a porous internal structure. It is however possible to spin viscose with a flat cross section such as Viloft® which provides the fibre with improved moisture absorption. Viscose is a strong and durable fibre which is abrasion resistant yet soft to handle and has good drape properties. It is extremely adsorbent and breathable which combine to make garments made from the fibre comfortable

Available as:

Wide range of woven and knitted fabrics. Fabrics containing viscose fibres can contain both continuous filament and staple. Lightweight woven fabrics utilising continuous filament viscose find applications in linings for suit jackets and skirts. Staple viscose fibres are often converted into non-woven fabrics where there are used as interfacing in constructing garments. They are available as a wide range of weights and bonding technologies. Viscose fibres are often blended with others.


Treat to remove sulphur and use cellulose dyes. Although viscose fibres are usually prepared white they are likely to contain a significant concentration of residual sulphur based chemicals from their processing. It is therefore essential that a suitable bleaching/scouring is carried out prior to any dyeing process.

Dyeing can be carried out with reactive dyes or in some cases direct dyes. It is also possible to get pigment dyed fibres that have been spun from coloured dope. If garments must be suitable for the heavier duty applications in work wear then reactive dyes, vat dyes or sulphur dyes would be recommended

Dimensional Stability

Susceptible to shrinking. Viscose fibres looses 30% to 50% of its strength when wet and this can cause some problems. 10% shrinkage can be expected

Resistance to pilling

Moisture regain

Moderate regain up to 15%. Being cellulose based, viscose will absorb high levels of moisture dependent upon the ambient conditions. Typically at 65% RH levels of between 12%-15% are typical.

Care information

Dry-cleaning recommended for 100% viscose. Viscose has poor strength when wet and therefore many viscose garments should only be dry-cleaned. There are however some fabrics that are suitable for machine or hand washing. These garments should be washed using lukewarm or cool cycles avoiding any wringing or twisting of the garments in order to prevent damage. Air-drying is recommended, laying heavier garments such as sweaters flat to prevent distortion. Ironing while slightly damp is recommended using a moderate heat setting. It is recommended that ironing is carried out on the reverse side of the fabric or under a suitable pressing cloth.


Viscose woven fabrics are used for suit linings. Viscose fibres are frequently used

End of life Possibilities

Can be disposed of using all end of life opportunities. Viscose is 100% cellulose and as such it is biodegradable. The fibre has also the potential for re-use and remanufacture. Where used as 100% viscose there is the possibility of using the fabrics as a raw material for regenerated cellulose fibre production. When present in blends, the end of life options may be reduced. Ideally viscose should not be sent to landfill. The re-use of the non-woven viscose fabrics will depend on the way they have been manufactured

Eco aspects

Cost scope (economic impact)

Common trade names




Oakdene Hollins Limited, 2024 for the CRR Uniform Reuse Project www.uniformreuse.co.uk


The rationale behind the study has been to provide a means whereby current and potential fibres/fabrics for use in the corporate clothing sector, can be compared. Any such comparison will be dependent on a multitude of factors that will influence the choice. Although application is the foremost factor that will be influencing the material selection, service life and cost will also play an important role.

The information contained within the following data sheets is an attempt to draw together some of the salient points that may be of interest at the specification and design stage without trying to be exhaustive.

De Montfort University produces these data on the fibres/fabric groups and blends on a non exhaustive basis. De Montfort University therefore makes no representation, express or implied that any of the fibres/fabric groups or blends will be unaffected by other treatments or processes. Users of these data must address the possibility of any health and safety issues that may arise personally.