As the world increasingly focuses on sustainability, the fashion industry is not exempt from this trend. Milk fabric, a new type of fabric, is gaining attention for its eco-friendliness and unique properties. In contrast to consuming milk, we can now “wear” milk through the use of milk fabric. So, what exactly is milk fiber fabric, and why has it become a new fashion trend? Let’s explore this fabric and the benefits it brings with WELL FABRIC.
1. What is milk fabric?
Milk fabric, also known as casein fiber fabric, is a type of fabric produced from the protein casein found in milk. Through a special processing method, the main components of milk are extracted and transformed into fiber. What makes milk fabric unique is its composition of approximately 15 amino acids, which nourish and protect the skin.
With its moisture absorption properties, milk fabric provides a soft and comfortable feel against the skin. It is an environmentally friendly product, certified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, an international ecological textile standard, since April 2004.
Anke Domaske pioneered the milk fabric production technology in the 1930s
2. How is milk fabric made?
Let’s explore the most common manufacturing processes used for milk fiber fabric production:
2.1. Traditional milk fiber fabric production process
- Milk extraction: Milk is skimmed to extract the fat, then dehydrated and fermented. At this stage, the milk takes on a similar appearance to milk protein powder.
- Casein fiber extraction: Casein fiber is extracted, coagulated, thoroughly rinsed, and dried, before being ground into fine powder form. The milk powder is then dissolved and refined to remove non-casein substances.
- Casein dissolution: Casein is dissolved in an alkali solution and left to mature until it reaches a certain viscosity. The solution is then filtered and dehydrated.
- Fiber drawing: The fiber drawing solution is extruded through nozzles into a coagulation bath. The coagulation bath contains sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, glucose, and water, which causes the fibers to coagulate similar to viscose fibers.
- Chemical treatment: After leaving the coagulation bath, the fibers undergo a chemical treatment process to harden them. Formaldehyde is a key component in most solidifying methods. The fibers are synthesized and soaked in a formaldehyde solution while undergoing a drawing process.
- Finishing: The fibers are rinsed, dried, twisted, and cut into short fibers. Casein fibers are produced in the form of staple fibers, which can be used for clothing.
2.2. Alternative production method
This is a simplified process that involves fewer steps and chemicals:
- Milk fermentation, followed by fat and water removal.
- Extraction of casein fiber and dissolution of milk powder to remove non-casein substances.
- Casein powder is immersed in an alkali solution and passed through a nozzle to create a solution.
- The solution is immersed in sulfuric acid to remove the alkali.
- The fibers are elongated and stretched into milk fibers.
- Subsequently, the fibers are treated with aluminum salt and formaldehyde to create a fabric suitable for clothing production from food.
The production process has been modified to reduce the toxicity of formaldehyde and the harmful effects of other chemicals. Modern casein fiber production methods involve a process called copolymerization, where casein is treated with acrylonitrile instead of formaldehyde. Although there are still negative impacts of acrylonitrile, this method avoids the use of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
3. Advantages and disadvantages of milk fabric
Milk fabric, as a unique fashion material, has several notable advantages. Here are some of the advantages of milk fabric:
- Smoothness: Milk fabric has a smooth surface, providing a comfortable and gentle feel against the skin. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals with sensitive and easily irritated skin.
- Natural sheen: Milk fabric possesses a natural sheen, bringing a sense of elegance and allure. When using milk fabric for garment production, the wearer feels confident and attracts attention.
- Gentle sensation: Milk fabric offers a gentle and breathable sensation on the skin. It doesn’t cause discomfort or retain heat, providing comfort throughout the day.
- Moisture absorption: Milk fabric has good moisture absorption properties, helping to maintain breathability and dryness on the skin. This is particularly useful in humid environments or during the summer season.
However, like any other material, milk fabric also has its own disadvantages. Here are some of the drawbacks of milk fabric:
- Prone to wrinkling after washing: Milk fabric tends to wrinkle after washing. This requires special care when laundering and ironing the fabric to avoid unwanted wrinkles.
- Moderate durability: Compared to some other types of fabrics, milk fabric has moderate durability. This means it may be prone to tearing or damage after continuous use over time. However, with careful maintenance and proper usage, milk fabric can still maintain good durability in the long run.
4. How is milk fabric applied?
Milk fabric is a unique and versatile fashion material that is widely applied in various fields, ranging from clothing to interior design. This diversity brings many benefits and distinctive styles to the use of milk fabric in fashion products.
In the fashion industry:
- Milk fabric is used to create various types of garments such as shirts, dresses, pants, jackets, and many other products. With its smoothness and gentle feel against the skin, milk fabric provides comfort and softness to the wearer.
- At the same time, the natural sheen of milk fabric adds elegance and attractiveness, making the wearer feel confident and stand out in the crowd. Milk fabric also has excellent moisture absorption capabilities, helping to maintain breathability and dryness on the skin, especially in humid environments.
In addition to its use in the fashion industry, milk fabric is also applied in the field of interior design.
- With its smooth texture and gentle sensation, milk fabric is an excellent choice for decorating sofas, curtains, pillows, and other decorative materials.
- The natural and pure qualities of milk fabric create an environmentally friendly living space and contribute to a luxurious and cozy interior atmosphere.
Using milk fabric in the fashion and interior design industries not only brings uniqueness and personalization to the products but also contributes to environmental protection. Milk fabric is produced from recycled raw materials, specifically discarded milk liters. Utilizing this resource helps reduce waste and minimize negative impacts on the environment.
5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
5.1. Is milk fabric durable?
Milk fabric has fairly good durability; however, it is less durable compared to some other fabrics like wool or cotton. To ensure the longevity of milk fabric, it is important to pay attention to washing and care. Use a gentle wash cycle and avoid using a dryer. This will help extend its lifespan and keep the milk fabric looking beautiful and sturdy.
5.2. Is milk fabric biodegradable?
Milk fabric is a type of fabric that is biodegradable. This means that if the product is forgotten or discarded, it will decompose and not have a negative impact on the environment. However, to ensure effective decomposition, milk fabric should be placed in a biodegradable environment such as organic waste disposal.
5.3. Can milk fabric be machine washed?
Yes, milk fabric can be machine washed. However, to ensure that the fabric is not damaged and maintains good quality, it is recommended to use a gentle wash cycle and cold or warm water temperature. Additionally, avoid using a strong spin cycle and consider air drying the milk fabric in a cool and shaded area, away from direct sunlight.
5.4. Is milk fabric breathable?
Milk fabric is highly breathable, allowing your skin to feel cool and comfortable. The natural fibers in milk fabric promote air circulation and moisture absorption, helping to maintain a feeling of freshness and dryness throughout the day.
5.5. Can milk fabric be used for summer clothing?
Milk fabric is an excellent choice for summer clothing. With its breathability and moisture-wicking properties, milk fabric helps you feel cool and comfortable on hot sunny days. Additionally, milk fabric has UV protection properties, safeguarding your skin from the harmful effects of direct sunlight.
5.6. Is milk fabric recyclable?
Milk fabric is recyclable. Due to the protein content in milk fibers, it has the ability to decompose and be recycled. The recycling process of milk fabric requires specialized techniques to separate the components and reuse them. This helps reduce waste and protect the environment.
5.7. What are the benefits of milk fabric?
Milk fabric offers several benefits for users. Firstly, it has excellent moisture absorption and breathability, keeping the skin dry and cool. Additionally, milk fabric has strong sun protection properties, shielding the skin from the sun’s rays. Milk fabric is also known for its softness and smoothness, providing a comfortable feel when in contact with the skin.