What Is Cupro Fabric? Cupro Fabric Properties and Care Guide

One needs a scorecard to keep all the different fabrics straight. That scorecard should list all the properties of any given fabric making it easier to decide on which one to use in your next sewing project. That scorecard may reveal that an unknown fabric is known by another name.

What is cupro fabric? If you know what Bemberg is then you know what Cupro fabric is. It is part of the rayon family and you would care for it in much the same way as you would that fabric. Usually, you find it used as a lining for men’s suits.

To learn all about Cupro fabric just continue to read our article. It is filled with the answers to many of your questions about this material. Learning about a new fabric opens up more sewing options for you and your creative nature.

What is Cupro Fabric?

This material is more commonly known as Bemberg fabric and it is made using cotton linter or recycled cotton or other plant cellulose. Plus, chemicals are used to help create the luxurious suede-like texture and feel to the material.

Generally, it is not given any extra chemical treatments and is often used as silk or polyester substitute when it comes time to line men’s suits. Then it is considered a lightweight to sheer fabric as it is used in nightgowns, lingerie, fine garments, summer dresses, and similar clothing articles.

The best way to identify this material is that is a rayon like fabric but much stronger. Cotton t-shirts are the recycled material that is most often used to create this fabric.

Is Cupro Fabric Synthetic?


No. One might say that cupro fabric is in the in-between category as both natural materials and chemicals are used in its construction. The manufacturers of this material use recycled cotton or other natural fibers along with copper, ammonia, and caustic soda to create this nice looking and fine to the touch material.

There are other toxic or harmful chemicals used in the processing of that recycled cloth which undermines any good you are doing for the environment by recycling your old clothes.

Despite how it is made, Cupro is considered to be vegan and safe for vegans to wear.

What Kind of Fabric is Cupro?

Basically, you can say that Cupro fabric is a recycled material that helps the environment by reusing old clothing. If you do not want to get that basic, then you can say that cupro is like rayon but only stronger.

Once it has finished its processing this material has an attractive sheen to it making it shine better than silk. Plus it is stronger than or better than cotton. Its nice texture makes it perfect for women’s intimate garments and nightwear.

The exquisite look also makes it a fine fabric to use in men’s suits cutting the cost of those suits down without sacrificing any quality.

Cupro Fiber Properties


One of the better properties that comes with the cupro fiber is that it blends well with other fabrics. Whether that is due to the cotton content or not remains to be seen. Then this material has a fineness about it that rivals silk.

There is some stretch to the material as the process or weave style allows it to have moderate elasticity. That means that you should be able to move more freely in this fabric than some of the others in the same class.

Finally, this material is seen as a sheer fabric making it ideal for those clothing items that require lightweight and good drape. You may even stay a little cooler wearing this fabric even though it is said to not breathe very well.

What Does Cupro Feel Like?

It is said to have a luxurious feel that either rivals or surpasses the feel of silk. Its sheen is above normal which may influence how people feel this fabric. Also, when you touch it the material should feel soft next to your skin as well as nice and smooth.

Those character qualities make this fabric ideal for lining and help make putting on or taking off your clothes easier and more enjoyable. Plus, the soft texture makes it a great fabric to wear next to your skin.

Lingerie may feel a lot better and more comfortable when it is made from cupro materials. What all this means is that you get a luxurious experience without having to pay the high cost that normally comes with luxury.

Is Cupro Breathable?


Some people will rate this fabric as low when it comes to breathability. They feel that since there are a lot of chemicals involved in its construction that the natural cotton breathing ability is hampered.

Other people will disagree with that assessment and say that cupro breathes a lot as cotton does. Of course, they do not say which cotton fabric they are using to draw that conclusion. Is it heavyweight cotton that does not breathe very well or lightweight cotton?

Your experience will be the final determining factor but it is a lightweight fabric that is made for warm weather. That means there should be some breathability to this material.

Is Cupro Fabric Expensive?

The good thing about cupro is that you can look rich without paying the big bucks. It is a fine looking material that is not that costly. That is good news for those budget-conscious clothes shoppers.

You are getting the look of silk for less than the price of cotton or close to it. In between fabrics do not cost as much as most natural materials like wool, silk, or even linen and cotton.

If you are looking for a fabric to cut your costs, you should take a second look at cupro. Your style or fashion sense will not suffer even though you are cutting costs.

Is Cupro Fabric Stretchy?


This would depend on how it is woven. if it is woven in the weave sense then you may have some flexibility or stretch but not a lot. If the fibers are woven in a knit style then you should see more stretch to the fabric.

One could say that the amount of stretch on average found in this material is reasonable. In other words, you are not being locked into a straight jacket when you wear clothing made from cupro.

You also won’t be stretching like you would if you wore spandex. If cupro is blended with a stretch fabric then you should see more stretch than usual.

Is Cupro Fabric Toxic?

This will depend on your point of view. There are many toxic chemicals used in the creation of this material and those chemicals do not disappear once those fibers are made into clothing items.

In one sense yes the fabric is toxic because of the presence of those chemicals. But that toxicity may be more harmful to the environment due to chemical waste and leeching into the ground when the clothing is sent to the landfill.

If the construction materials are not disposed of properly, then you can say that yes cupro is toxic. The material is basically made in China now as the American manufacturing of this fabric was closed due to pollution regulations violations.

Cupro vs Viscose


One of the differences you will find between these two materials is that cupro is stronger than viscose. It doesn't lose its strength when wet. That may be due to the3 cotton fibers that are used to help make cupro. Whereas viscose doesn't have such great help.

Then cupro may have a better sheen to it than viscose has. Then cupro may last longer and endure the washing machine better than viscose can. You do not need to wash it as much as you do the viscose competitor.

Finally, cupro is said to be better for those people who have sensitive skin. Its softness and smoothness make this fabric better than silk for those people.

Cupro vs Silk

Cupro is seen as a silk substitute. That means you are going to get the look and feel of silk without paying the high prices that are attached to many silk clothing items. Plus, cupro can endure being washed in a washing machine. Something you can’t do with real silk.

Then it can withstand higher temperatures and should not lose its shape when in extreme heat. Silk lining can feel nice when you put your formal jacket on but cupro is seen as a more breathable fabric that keeps you cooler than silk can.

Silk tends to wear out quickly when it is used as lining. Cupro has better durability and should make replacing your linings more of a rarity than a common event.

Cupro vs Polyester

One advantage that cupro has over polyester is that it has some natural fibers or ingredients in its raw materials. Polyester doesn’t and that element alone makes cupro better than polyester.

Cupro should breathe and stretch better than polyester fabrics but it may pill more. Polyester is basically plastic fibers woven in such a way that you can wear the material without feeling like you are wearing plastic.

Both are used in a variety of clothing with polyester having far more uses and applications than cupro has. Also, both fabrics have a problem with fire and both can ignite very easily if you are not careful.

Is Cupro Fabric Sustainable?


Yes, cupro fabric is very sustainable. As long as people keep recycling their old cotton clothing and not tossing them into the landfill, then cupro should be around for a very long time.

This material doesn't use natural resources like trees, plants, or grass to exist. Instead, it is about one of the only materials that are made from recycled fabrics. Cotton is generally that recycled material.

Being made from cotton gives cupro many of the top attributes that material comes with cotton. Also, this material is supposed to be hypoallergenic, anti-static, as well as machine washable. just about everything you want in a fabric is in cupro.

This sustainability should inspire you to recycle those old cotton clothes you have hanging in your closet or buried in a drawer and won’t wear anymore. You still get cotton when you buy cupro but at a lower price.

Cupro Fabric Care

This material should be treated according to the manufacturers’ care label. It is possible to spot treat it for stains and hand washing is the safest method to clean this fabric.

When you clean it make sure to turn the material inside out so that the exterior is not exposed to the rougher elements of washing. Putting the material in the dryer should be avoided at all costs.

When you air dry, lay the item out flat or place it over a drying rack. Hangers tend to help cupro clothing lose their shape. When storing the material, use a breathable cotton clothes bag and avoid plastics. The plastic encourages yellowing.

Also, plastic may trap fabric eating bugs, mildew bacteria as well as excess moisture. Let the fabric breathe when not in use.

Can Cupro be Washed?


Yes, cupro can be washed and you should hand wash the material if you have time. this is the safest method to use when you need to get those intimate clothing items clean. Also, you should use mild detergent and do not wring the material when you are done. Press out that excess moisture after rinsing in cool water.

Also, you can place your cupro fabrics in the washing machine. Just make sure to set the dial to delicate. Before placing the material in your washer, turn the fabric inside out and place it in a mesh laundry bag for safety.

You will want to use cold water when washing and keep the spin cycle on low if your machine allows that speed. When the washer is done do not place it in the dryer but lay out flat to dry or place over a drying rack.

How to Wash Cupro Fabric

The best way to wash this material is to wash it as you would any in-between fabric like rayon. it should be done carefully and with a lot of care. While it is made from cotton, it is not always best to treat it in the same manner as you would your cotton clothing.

Follow the washing instructions on the care label attached to the garment or use the instructions immediately above. Delicate is the key term here and cupro is usually a lightweight sheer fabric and not a heavyweight canvas-like material.

Wash according to the former, not the latter fabric. While you do use delicate cycles and soap cupro handles the washing machine quite well. If done right not only will your clothes come out clean, they will last you a long time.

Will Cupro Shrink?


There is a possibility that cupro will shrink up to 12% but that will depend on the quality of the fabric and if it is included in a blend or not. Your shrink rate may differ and if you put the cupro fabric in the dryer to save time, do not expect it to be returned to in the same size and shape it went in.

It is best to avoid dryers and dryer heat when finished washing this fabric. Then if the care labels do say dry clean only you should dry clean only to avoid any laundry mishaps.

Cotton does shrink so take that as your cue when handling cupro. While it may have anti-shrink chemical treatments, it also may not have. So let cotton and rayon be your laundry guide when it comes time to wash this material.

How to Bleach Cupro Fabric

Any instruction we saw for cleaning cupro in the washing machine or hand washing did not include any instructions to bleach the material. In fact, we saw those three words that are very clear when it comes to this cleaning option-- do not bleach.

Those are good words to use when cleaning cupro and while you are not to bleach, you can still use different stain or spot cleaners on this fabric. Check the labels of those spot removers to make sure it is safe to use on materials like cupro.

Again, we would advise you to use rayon as your guide as this fabric is closer to that fabric option than it is to cotton. There should be safe bleach alternatives you can use.

Can You Dye Cupro Material?


It has been said that cupro accepts dyes very well. It has some cotton elements in its construction and fibers thus it should be easy to dye. Just make sure you buy the right dye solution before you get started.

There is a big BUT coming here as cupro is made from a lot of different chemicals. One of those chemicals may be used to keep the original color intact. If that is the case, you may not be able to dye this fabric very well.

The best way to find out is to do a test and see for yourself. Find a piece of scrap cupro and apply the dye. Check the results prior to proceeding with your dye project. If you really want to change the color, fabric paint may be the better option.

Does Cupro Fabric Wrinkle

It may but then this fabric may also contain wrinkle-resistant properties that help spare you the trouble of ironing it. You can iron this fabric if you do see wrinkles appear and use the rayon setting to be on the safe side.

What you really should watch out for are the other negative properties that come with this fabric. it is very flammable, due to the chemicals involved. Plus, it doesn't take to heat very well.

When this fabric catches fire it chars and leaves behind a lot of copper in its residue. To prevent it from catching fire, keep the heat below 180 degrees F. The toxic nature of this fabric makes the burning and the residue quite hazardous to your health.

Shrinking will be the least of your worries when you buy this material.

Does Cupro Fabric Pill?


Yes, this fabric has a reputation for pilling. It would be best to wash this material separately from your other clothing, especially the low pilling ones. Make sure you have a good fabric shaver on hand to clean up those pills quickly.

Pilling is not the end of the world though and it can be dealt with in an easy manner when you have the time.

Names for Cupro Fabric

Cupro is known by a few different names which may make it a little confusing when one person uses the official name while someone else uses the Chinese slang term or the American brand name.

  • Cuproammonium rayon- this is the scientific name for this material
  • Cupra or cupro- tends to be seen as the Chinese slang term for #1. They do not want to use long difficult to pronounce scientific labels.
  • 3. Ammonia silk- his material is a substitute for silk and why the term ammonia is in the title is anyone’s guess. Ammonia comes with a lot of negative connotations.
  • 4. Bemberg- This was the last name of one of the companies trying to manufacture this material in America. The full name was J.P. Bemberg.

Some Final Words

Cupro seems to be an inexpensive clothing option that helps people stay within their clothing budget. Plus, this material is vegan friendly allowing that class of people a wider range of materials to wear.

The problem is that it is like rayon and other in between fabrics and is made with toxic chemicals.

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