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All you need to know

How does this guide work?
The non-profit association Vesti la natura provides several free guides specially created to promote the use of low environmental impact materials among consumers and entrepreneurs

Do you want to buy the fabric in Kapok?
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Content index

What is the Kapok?

Il kapok is a natural textile fiber extracted from the majestic “Ceiba pentandra” plant.

To touch this "hi-tech" wonder that nature has offered us for centuries, we could go to Indonesia or some African countries, but the Maya culture has always been very close to the tree of kapok and then, let's get close to the sacredness of this vegetable for a moment.

The Maya have always respected the kapok as they believed that the souls of the dead, climbing this plant, would reach heaven.

On the other hand we are talking about a real giant of the tropical rainforests that can reach even 60 - 70 meters in height.

The Ceiba (name a little more for connoisseurs) for the Maya was present both in the upper world, in the middle one and in the underground one.

They believed it was at the center of the Earth and, in fact, even today modern indigenous peoples often leave the tree of kapok isolated as a sign of respect (how much we should learn from other cultures in terms of respect for nature).

The fiber of Kapok

The fiber of kapok protects the seeds of this plant covered with large thorns and which has a flowering with a not too pleasant fragrance.

In recent years, chemical research has developed numerous fibers with formidable characteristics in terms of performance and comfort, but too often we forget that nature has already done all this research and is able to offer us unexpected solutions.

The fiber of kapok it has indeed stunning features:

  • It floats, it is also often used to make floating buoys;
  • It is the lightest natural fiber ever. It is a hollow fiber and therefore is 6 times lighter than cotton. It contains about 80% of air inside. So let's imagine what its insulating power can be with a density of 0,35 g / cm3;
  • It is very shiny: it is also called "silky cotton";
  • No fertilizers or pesticides are used in the cultivation of the plant;
  • Being a fiber that has a length between 2 and 4 cm, thanks to modern spinning systems it can be used in blends with other fibers, making it also usable for the textile / clothing sector;
  • The dyeing behavior is excellent and therefore does not create any problems in the development of fascinating color charts.

The characteristics of the kapok make this insulating fiber, very light and eco-sustainable.

When is fashion sustainable?

How to recognize it?

Where to buy it?

Start your journey!


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Characteristics of the Kapok

Fabric Quality: The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.
  Does not shrink / discolor
  Quick drying
Ecological Characteristics: The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.
  Natural - Artificial - Synthetic   N
  No GMOs
  Natural raw material
  Recycled raw material
  Mechanical extraction
  Chemical extraction
  Energy saving
  Sustainability class   A
Textile Certifications:: The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.
Global Organic Textile Standard
Organic Content Standard
Global Recycle Standard
Second Life Plastic
Animal Free
Fair Wear Foundation

This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it

Clothing in Kapok

At the moment there aren't many fashion brands that make clothing in kapok. Mostly it is used as an internal padding of jackets, down jackets and coats, especially technical ones.

Il kapok it is also widely used to make cushions.

Given its sustainability and also being a cruelty free material, we hope to see it used more and more often.

Buy products in Kapok

A showcase where you can find Sustainable, ethical and cruelty free fashion brands guaranteed by the supervision of our association:

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Washing of fabrics

How do you wash the Kapok?

The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using environmentally friendly detergents.

To wash clothes in kapok in a correct way it is necessary to carefully read the label placed on each garment or fabric, both in the case of hand washing and in the washing machine.

Machine wash

First we will illustrate the modalWashing in the washing machine, the one that could create more than one problem, if some precautions are not observed.

Assuming that we do not recommend using the washing machine to wash the kapok (unless specified on the product label), in modern washing machines it is possible to use programs dedicated to cotton, which include a long cycle at 60 degrees and others at 30 or 40, with variable durations, from 30 to 90 minutes. For whites, not very dirty and without stubborn stains, the ideal program is at 40 degrees, using ecological detergent in the quantity indicated on the package, based on the capacity of the washing machine, considering a full load.

The detergent can be both powder and liquid, although the latter, if applied directly into the drum together with the garments, guarantees less wear on the fabric and excellent results. Instead of the softener, pour a little white vinegar into the tray dedicated to the final treatments; the laundry will be fresh, clean and super soft, ready to be folded, worn or ironed.

As for colored garments, it is possible to apply the same rule, with the additional precaution of washing in the same load those garments with stable colors and which have already been washed, without causing loss of pigment and stains that are difficult to manage.


Hand washing clothes in kapok it is recommended and requires the use of lukewarm water, with the use of a neutral detergent, specific for hand washing and possibly ecological. If the garments are delicate, it will be sufficient to keep them soaking for a maximum of half an hour, rinsing under cold running water; to avoid wasting a precious resource such as water, it is advisable not to overdo the detergent: in this way, it will be easier to remove it, using the minimum amount of water necessary.

Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?

  1. We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
  2. You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
  3. You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg


Looking for more information on the Kapok? Ask your questions using the form below.
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Our answers:

Where can I buy the Kapok?

Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.

Where does the tree grow Kapok?

The tree of the Kapok, or rather the Ceiba pentandra, grows mainly in: North America, South America, Africa and Asia.

Where does it go kapok?

Il kapok it is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. To dispose of it, you can use the special separate collection containers dedicated to clothing.

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