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What Is Modal Fabric? (Explained & Answered)

When it comes to fabrics, I have discovered that one of the most frustrating aspects of the industry is keeping up with all of the variations that each thread has. You might have been in a similar situation when it came to the fabric known as modal.

If you are an expert who has worked with materials for a long time, the question of “What modal fabric is” does not bother you because a clear definition already exists in your head as a result of years of feeling and working with the fabric. However, if you are not in this position, defining it can be difficult because many people believe that modal is simply another name for rayon.

That is, of course, not true for a variety of reasons. Reasons that we will explore together while tackling the inquiry of what is modal fabric.

Key Takeaways

  • Modal fabric is a descendant and type of rayon that is made from beach trees instead.
  • The traits that modal possesses range from lavish shine and softness to durability and elasticity. 
  • Even though modal material is widely found in the clothing industry, it finds use in a lot of other departments, such as furniture, bedding, decorations, and so on.
  • Modal thread is known to be environmentally friendly, decomposing at a minimum of six weeks.
  • An important takeaway is that modal is by no mean the same fabric as rayon.

What is Modal fabric?

As mentioned before, most people think that modal is a synonym for the word rayon. This cannot be further from the truth. Although modal is a descendant of rayon, it is not the same thing.

Being a successor of rayon, it was brought to the market much later, specifically in the 1950s. The innovation of modal fabric was a well-appreciated one in the community though. This is due to the way the fiber is created. Modal threads are an invention made from the cellulose of beach trees.

At first, beach trees may seem like no big deal, just another type of wood pulp some might say. But that is not the case here. Creating the thread from a never-ending supply of natural wood has lined the synthetic fabric of the modal up for succession. A man-made substance that causes little harm while also being produced rapidly and used extensively. Pair this amazing feature with the traits that modal fabric has upon touch it can easily outperform a lot of fabrics in the market.

Although briefly mentioning all the praiseworthy aspects of modal will not do it justice. Due to this, I will go into more thorough detail about modal fabric as we go on. This is only the beginning of our understanding of what modal fabric is.

You can also read a comparison of modal and cotton

What are the main characteristics of modal?

The fabric we are talking about can be easily explained through its traits. To get to the point, modal is a very breathable, soft, and durable material that works well in a variety of settings.

The characteristics I just mentioned are not all that modal has to offer. This fiber is extremely absorbent when it comes to water. It is also known to be flexible while at the same time maintaining its softness upon touch. The water absorbent trait that I just mentioned does not affect the drying abilities of modal fibers, which are known to be quick to dry.

Being a successor of rayon, it also has a lot of silk-like qualities. Many manufacturers also believe that the fiber modal, out of all the different types of rayon, is the best option because it maintains its shape and shines the best. 

All in all, modal fabric has a very luxurious feel at an inexpensive cost. The qualities that it possesses are remarkable and are clearly the reason why it is so widely used and loved. Soft, silky, comfortable, and lightweight- all qualities that make a popular fabric and that modal has.

Where is modal fabric used?

It is common to think that modal finds use only in the clothing industry. While it is widely used in garments due to its outstanding and desirable properties, clothing manufacturers are not the only users of modal fabric. Activewear, formal attire, and everyday clothes are only the basic uses of the modal material.

Modal’s ability to be comfortable makes it an ideal choice for housing items. Finding use in furniture builds and bedroom pieces. The fabric modal is so versatile that you can practically find it everywhere having an impact on the world around us.

Some people might be surprised to find out that modal is also used in hospitals a lot since its elasticity, softness, and quick drying behaviors work well with the bedding system that the healthcare industry tries to create.

Returning to the clothing industry, the breathability and lightweight feel modal has contributed to its wide use with athletes and their active wear. The features that the fabric has worked so well with one another that no drawbacks are created when using it.  

With modal fabric’s noticeable universal appeal, it continues to find ways to be used in almost every industry. The way that modal finds numerous uses just continues to show the significance of this fabric.

Does modal material affect the environment?

When discussing fabric and what it is in its essence, an important topic in today’s world is the effect it has on the environment. The same is applied to modal.

Well, I am sure you will be pleased to hear that modal fabric is one of the most sustainable threads in use. This is due to the main component that creates modal, beach trees. This element also plays a huge role in the modal’s biodegradability feature. This lavish silk-like fabric takes only six weeks to fully deteriorate in nature, which is a respectable amount of time considering how durable it is.

So, now we know that modal fabric does not harm the world around us, making it a great choice if environmental friendliness is important for you and your fabric selection process.

Is modal fabric and rayon the same thing?

Given all these qualities it is quite normal to start and correlate modal to rayon and while we did discuss that modal is a descendant of rayon it is not right to not identify it as its thread.

To put it simply, the modal fabric takes what rayon has and improves on it while adding its characteristics. Being an easier-to-care-for fabric, breathable, relaxing, and with a luxury finish modal wins the heart of most consumers. While this is not an article regarding the comparison of modal and rayon, it is good to clarify that they are not the same things and to even argue that modal fabric is superior to its ancestor.

You can also read a comparison of rayon and modal.

Final Thoughts

To conclude this article and the mystery of what is modal fabric I sincerely hope that I have cleared up any misconceptions and provided you with interesting new information.

Modal is something I personally love a lot and would recommend. Hopefully, the modal fabric will gain another supporter as a result of this article.