This is a rather condensed article about other natural fibers mentioned in the title. Bamboo, jute, ramie and coconut do not occur in clothes that much especially compared to cotton and linen. They are often just an addition. However, as I always say, it is worth to know something about them, just so you know what to expect of them.
Cellulose from bamboo is used to produce viscose, which should be called viscose rayon or bamboo viscose on the label. The manufacture of this textile does not differ much from viscose production, which is why technically bamboo should be placed in artificial fibers section and not in natural fibers.
Bamboo textiles are widely used in socks, for example. Producers of bamboo viscose often advertise their products as ecological and antibacterial and the actual bamboo fibers do have those properties. However, after the manufacturing process, those qualities are lost, which means that the clothes and accessories made of bamboo viscose are not antibacterial, hypoallergenic or ecological. The properties of this textile will fall between the properties of cotton and viscose.
It is worth remembering that manufacturing process puts bamboo textiles in chemical, artificial fibers section.
Ecological note: bamboo textile production is not very ecological because of the large amounts of very strong chemical solvents that are used in the manufacturing process. However, it is more ecological than viscose and cotton.
Ramie is a perennial nettle plant and it can be harvested for about 25 years. It is mostly grown in the Far East, in China. It is often considered to be the “Far East linen”.
The advantages of ramie textiles are similar to cotton and linen. It is soft to the touch with a silky shine, very durable and chemically resistant. It does not become yellow after exposing it to the sun too much. Ramie absorbs fair amounts of water and it doesn’t rot. Last but not least, it has smooth and even fibers, and it can be dyed easily.
Generally ramie can be washed in 95°C/200°F and ironed in the highest temperatures. However, you need to remember this applies to 100% ramie textile and most of the time you will encounter only additions of ramie. In that case, read the label first.
Jute fibers are very woody and extremely strong. It is used mostly to manufacture packaging textiles, ropes, mattings and twine. Jute products have a little bit of luster, especially mattings. It is a cheap and very versatile fiber.
Ecological note: jute fiber is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
Coconut fiber is also called coir and it is made of coconut husk. The fibers can be white or brown; white fibers come from immature, green coconuts and brown fibers come from mature coconuts.
Coconut fibers are very durable, elastic and resistant to rubbing, which makes them great in the production of ropes, nets, mattresses, brushes or doormats. They are also resistant to dirt.
Of course, there are more vegetable, natural fibers which I will not discuss here, such as sisal, manila hemp, kapok or kenaf fibers.