These are the Many Benefits of Using Modal Fabric

cotton modal fabric on a roll

I was surprised when I first learned that Lucky & Me children’s underwear uses modal. In all my years producing lingerie for Victoria’s Secret, we never used modal – What a miss! Modal fabric has some amazing properties that make it perfectly-suited for anything worn next to the skin, and it’s especially wonderful for our precious children.

As soon as you touch the Lucky & Me kid’s clothes, you will feel the luxurious difference the silky modal yarn provides our fabric blend. And your child may say something similar to my daughter’s reaction when she first tried on the Annika Boyshorts: “Mom, these undies are so comfy!!” She loves the super-soft feel of modal underwear, and we think you will love these special qualities, too:

Does Modal Shrink?

Shrinkage Resistance: Blending modal with cotton keeps your kids’ undies fitting long after 100%-cotton garments would have shrunk down a size. And have you ever noticed how cotton underwear often twists after washing? This means side seams get out of skew or the leg openings are not symmetrical. This is due to uneven shrinkage and modal helps our garments keep their shape.

How absorbent is modal fabric?

Absorbency: Modal fabric is 50% more absorbent than cotton so moisture is absorbed into the fabric. No more clammy cotton! Your little ones will stay dry and comfy throughout each busy day.

Is modal fabric breathable?

Breathability: Because modal material is made from Beechwood pulp, its natural properties allow breathability so sweat and moisture are quickly released and not trapped next to the skin.

Will modal underwear easily rip?

Durability: Modal is very stable and will hold up to your children’s active lifestyle. The fabric resists pilling and the fun colors and prints will remain bright longer than cotton undies.

There are so many different types of fabrics out there that it can be confusing to know what is what. From organic cotton to rayon to modal, it’s hard to know the difference. In our recent post, we’re breaking down more about modal fabric so you can better understand this fabric, that’s very similar to cotton.


Girls wearing annika boyshorts

What is modal fabric?

Modal fabric is a super soft fiber made from beech trees. In clothing you often see it combined with cotton and spandex. It is considered a semi-synthetic because the raw material, cellulose, is a natural material which is then turned into fiber using an environmentally-friendly chemical process. Modal is classified as a bio-based textile, which means it was made from a substance derived from living organisms.

How is modal made?

A very common question is what material is model? Modal comes from sustainably harvested beech trees, which are a renewable cellulosic plant. It is biodegradable and eco-friendly because of its natural content. The beech wood cellulose is mashed into liquid, turned into fiber, and woven into fabric.

How do you wash it?

Modal can be cared for with the same guidelines you use for cotton. You can wash it in any temperature, and tumble dry in accordance with the directions on the label. Avoid chlorine bleach as it can weaken the fiber.

What are the benefits of modal fabric?

It’s lightweight and durable, and resistant to pilling. It also won’t get that crunchiness to it after a lot of washes like some cotton blends do.

Since it’s made from trees, it is naturally breathable. This means that sweat and moisture won’t be trapped next to the skin.

It’s 50% more absorbent than cotton, so your child will stay dry and comfy throughout the day.

Resistant to shrinkage
Clothing made with modal won’t shrink like 100% cotton products do.

Colors stay vibrant
Modal holds dye easily, so the colors will stay vibrant even after many washes.

Super Soft
Modal is known for being super soft. That’s a big part of what makes it perfect for our products!


See how the Ava Bikini holds up to 25 wash cycles.

Liz Smith has worked across the globe for many of the world’s major apparel brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Justice, and Hanes. She has earned thousands of airline points and worn out several suitcases visiting factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising– so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products.

31 comments on “These are the Many Benefits of Using Modal Fabric

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Alica, That’s a great question! The natural UPF of modal is somewhat higher than cotton. However, the actual UPF of a specific fabric is dependent on several other factors, such as thickness and density. So, for example, you can have a thin modal knit t-shirt that has a lower UPF than a thicker, more densely woven cotton shirt. It’s best to check with the manufacturer for specific UPF’s related to particular fabrics.

      Thanks for your question!

  1. Lisa on

    Hello, I was wondering does Modal cause any bad smell like polyester or rayon can? (I think it is one of those or both of those I’ve found they cause terrible underarm smell vs cottons). Thank you very much. I love a shirt with this blend.
    56% Cotton, 38% Modal, 6% Spandex it is super comfy so I can’t wait to try more Modal items.

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Lisa, Great question! Modal should not cause the bad smell so typical of work-out clothes made from polyester. For some reason, which scientists don’t fully understand, the bacteria which break down our sweat into those smelly compounds just grow better on polyester. So you should be perfectly comfortable and safe to wear your new modal-blend shirt!

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Terri,

      This is a great question! We have found our modal fabric blends to be very suitable and comfortable for kids with sensitivity issues. Because modal is absorbent, breathable, and soft, parents report that their kids love underwear made with modal. As we age, however, our needs change. Many women with sensitivity have been told by their doctors that cotton underwear is best. And of course, it’s always best to listen to your doctor!

  2. Lisa on

    Hi, I just purchased a nightshirt that was described on the website as Modal/spandex. But when I received it, the label shows as Rayon/spandex. Do any labels get marked as Modal? Or will they always say Rayon?

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Lisa, Yes, definitely some labels will be marked as Modal! There a couple of possibilities with your nightshirt. Some retailers use multiple suppliers, and if this is the case, then it’s possible that you were shipped a nightshirt from a supplier who was using Rayon instead of Modal. Or, unfortunately, it’s possible that the retailer just wanted to entice customers with the Modal name. Modal is in the Rayon family, but it is designed to be softer and to better withstand washing and drying due to its high wet-strength. You could ask the seller to explain the label difference – they should be willing to explain and to accept a return if you are not happy with their product. Either way – good luck!

  3. Anon217 on


    I just purchased a dress that is 90% modal and 10% spandex.

    I notice two small stains of what appears to be oil (never wore the dress out only tried on at the store) and deodorant marks (from when I tried on *opps*)

    What can I do to get the stains out? Can I Macheine wash and tumble dry on low? I have a baby shower in August that I am wearing the dress to and really would hate to damage the dress.

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Anon, I would treat the stains separately before washing the dress. And the first question is what do the wash instructions say? Make sure to use the water temperature indicated on the instructions when trying these steps. The first thing I would do is try to wash out the individual spots and deodorant marks with dish soap and water. You can saturate the stains with the dish soap and let them sit for a few minutes, and then rinse them in the sink letting the running water go through the fabric. I find this takes care of many stains. If the small stains are indeed oil, then and the dish soap method doesn’t work, then you can try Lestoil. Please test it on an inconspicuous spot first- but it should be fine. Saturate the stains with the Lestoil, let sit for 5 or 10 minutes, and then rinse with running water. The Lestoil has quite a strong smell so you will want to then saturate with dish soap and rinse again. Finally, once you have taken care of the stains, you can wash the entire dress according to the care instructions. Good luck and enjoy the baby shower!

  4. Charley madden on

    I have sourced some modal/cashmere scarfs for hand painting.
    Can you advise if they will shrink when being steamed?
    Could yiu also advise which tuoes paint or dye to use.


    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Charley – You are ambitious! What is the composition of the modal/cashmere blend? That will have an impact on the shrinkage with steaming. The modal should be ok, but if there is more than a little cashmere then I would worry about shrinkage. Can you test one scarf to see how it handles the process?

      We’ve never painted on fabric so we’re checking to see if any of our resources know the answer to your question about paints or dyes. Again, testing first is highly recommended!

  5. Sue on

    I just wore a new model blouse for the first time… Got some salad dressing on it… So far I’ve tried both Dawn and vinegar on it in two separate spot washings and the stain is still there… Any hope of me getting it out?

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Sue, Isn’t that the worst? Getting oil or grease on any clothing can create a stain that is tough to get out. This time try using Lestoil- it works well on any oily stain and should not harm your fabric. But as always- try it on an inconspicuous place first just to be sure. I would saturate the stain, let it remain for 5 minutes, then wash. The smell can be strong, so make sure you rinse it out completely. And air dry so you don’t set the stain even more if it doesn’t come out completely the first time. I have used this method when my daughter has gotten oil paint on clothing and it works. I wish you the best of luck!

  6. Jean Ashton on

    At one place, you say modal won’t shrink, then you say later that it shrinks 50% less than cotton. Which one is it? I bought several tops that are 60% cotton, 40% modal, and after one wash, following the recommended cold water machine wash, tumble try, it appears that one shrunk some, which makes me hesitant to machine wash and dry the others. Will my cotton / modal blend clothing continue to shrink after each wash, or maybe should I lay them out or hang dry? I really hate hand washing and was hoping that the factory instructions of machine wash and dry meant that these shirts would retain their original size and shape. I think manufacturers should either pre-shrink clothing or tell you that they shrink up to 10%. That being said, I like to buy clothing that fits, not guess how much they will shrink and buy up a size or two.

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Jean,

      Modal does resist shrinkage more than cotton – by about 50%. When it is blended with cotton, especially if cotton is the higher percentage and hasn’t been preshrunk, then you may experience quite a bit of shrinkage. That being said, the manufacturer’s wash/dry instructions should take this into account and they should never say to tumble dry if the cotton isn’t preshrunk. And I completely agree that clothes should indicate whether they are preshrunk – it’s frustrating to purchase an item that fits perfectly in the store or when first worn, and then it’s unwearable after one wash/dry cycle.

      You should be perfectly ok using a cold water machine wash, but I would dry flat or line dry to ensure your other shirts retain their size and shape. I usually line dry my knit tops and bottoms because they look new for a longer period of time – even if they wouldn’t shrink in the dryer. Then when I do need to dry something quickly, I pop it in the dryer on low heat and since it’s not every cycle, my clothes last longer.

      We appreciate your comments! Liz

  7. Margaret Harris on

    Do shirts with Moldol Need to be ironed? Do they look better if they are and if so at what temperature for iron?

  8. Kasey Ng on

    As Sherri said, Modal is not what you say it is. Yes it is extremely soft and stretchy and comfortable, however it is not as durable as you make it sound, and it definitely twists- A LOT. You said that it is okay to dry modal fabrics on low, but this is not correct. You should not dry it in the dryer at all. Hang dry straight or lay flat to dry. Using the dryer on any temperature will cause it to twist; Just like how drying rayon fabrics will cause it to drastically shrink.

  9. Sara on

    Knit cotton garments usually torque/twist after washing because the fabric is knit on a circular knitting machine with multiple yarn feeds (for speed) that are staggered one behind the other. By the time one feed has cycled around, there are many rows below it from the previous feeds. Meaning, the rows are spiraling upwards. For example, if you have 1 feed in white and 10 in red, you would see a thin white stripe with an or so of red in between (depending on yarn thickness).

    • Liz Smith on

      Your modal dress may shrink a little – modal shrinks about 50% less than cotton, which is one of its benefits! However, the amount of shrinkage also depends on whether it has been pre-shrunk by Old Navy. Your best bet would be to check with them first – and then decide whether to exchange for a smaller size or try to shrink it. Good luck!

  10. Jane on

    Liz, I have a large scarf made of thin modal fabric. I would like to cut it to a smaller size so would you recommend cutting or ripping the fabric? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Liz Smith on

      Hi Jane – It’s a bit difficult for me to answer without seeing your scarf. I would recommend to cut it since then you can control the shape and size. If you rip, and the fabric is not already straight, the rip could go off into a different shape. I hope this is helpful! Liz

  11. Liz Smith on

    I’m sorry you had this experience with modal. Sometimes there can be an issue in the sewing that causes twisting. If the fabric is not laid quite straight in the cutting process, or if it is cut on the bias, this can result in twisting. Typically, though, modal is quite stable and should not twist like this when cared for according to the instructions.

  12. Sherri on

    Modal is not as you say it is. I just purchased 4 tops made with this, washed them on cold, gentle. All 4 shirts are twisted.

    • Anne on

      Sherri. I just bought two shirts that are a blend of modal (40%) and cotton (60%). Just curious… were the four shirts you mention made of a blend, or 100% modal, or other? Thank you.


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