The market for fabrics and materials has been expanding at an alarming speed over the years. Back in the day, it took a lot more time and energy to create any fiber. Hemp, arguably the world’s oldest cultivated fiber plant, is said to have originated in Southeast Asia and then moved to China, where cultivation records date back to 4500 BCE. Now, with the help of factories and machines, we can get our hands on fibers quite easily. Our guide will provide the answer to the question “What is a natural fiber?” and explain the difference between a natural and synthetic one.

What Is a Natural Fiber?

Natural fibers originate from plants or animals. For instance, materials like organic cotton, wool, silk, and linen are made from cotton plants, sheep, silkworms, and bamboo respectively. These fibers are spun into yarn or threads that later form an organic piece of fabric or cloth. Natural resources are also used for creating paper or felt.

On the other hand, synthetic fibers stem from man-made materials, such as specific polymers. Manufacturers treat and design them to create clothing or other pieces of fabric. Nylon, polyester, and rayon are popular synthetic fibers, which are common components of water-resistant clothing, sleeping bags, parachutes, and so on.


Benefits of Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are present in nature and materials that are made from nature can easily be returned into the soil once the usage period of the fabric runs out. Here is a list of benefits of using natural fibers and why you should buy more of them to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet.

AffordableNatural clothing has a wide price range. Fabrics like organic cotton or wool are quite common and mostly available at reasonable prices. 
LightweightNatural fibers create clothing that has a quality of feeling weightless on our bodies and is usually super absorbent.
RenewableNatural fibers originate from natural resources. Cotton, wool, and silk will exist as long as there are cotton plantations, sheep, silkworms, etc.
BiodegradableNatural resources are easier to dispose of and biodegrade into the soil. Opting for natural fibers will reduce the amount of non-biodegradable items in landfills.

Types of Natural Fibers

We briefly mentioned that natural fibers come from either plants or animals. Depending on the type of fiber, the properties and qualities of the fabric change. For instance, cotton is the most popular material during summer because of its cooling ability. Wool, on the other hand, is acclaimed for retaining heat, which is why woolen clothes are ideal for colder months. Take a closer look at what exactly falls under either of the categories.

  • Animal fibers: Wool or hair from sheep, camel, and goats, as well as secretions such as silk.
  • Plant fibers: Leaf fibers such as sisal, seed fibers such as cotton, stem fibers like flax and hemp, and husk fibers such as coconut.

If you want to further see and learn about the types of fibers, here is a ScienceDirect article that might help you during the process.

Applications of Natural Fibers

Natural fibers have a variety of applications in various industries, including medicine, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, construction, and so on. For instance, the most common natural fibers in industrial applications include flax and hemp due to their strength. Coconut fibers are apparently incredibly helpful in soil stabilization and the prevention of erosion. Cotton, wool, and silk are always in great demand in the fashion industry, while bamboo and Tencel are getting more and more popular every year.


Overall, biodegradable natural fibers are ideal for us and our environment alike. Whether you’re choosing a material for your shirt, bedsheets, rug, or the entire house, be sure to opt for natural fibers whenever possible! The Yes, It’s Organic team offer information on an array of organic clothing and bedding products, so don’t hesitate to check out our articles for any additional information. We can help you find answers to countless organic-related questions, including the following.