The Difference between Rayon & Viscose

Fashion Questions & Answers

Rayon and viscose are terms often used interchangeably, but they do have a difference in their technical usage and context within the textile industry. Let's clarify this difference:


Rayon is a broad term that encompasses a group of manufactured fibers made from regenerated cellulose. It is the generic term for a variety of cellulosic fibers that are produced by converting natural cellulose (usually wood pulp) through chemical processes into a fiber form.

Rayon can refer to different specific types of fibers, including viscose rayon, modal, lyocell, and cupro, each with unique characteristics and production processes.


Viscose is a specific type of rayon and is the most common and widely used form of rayon. It is often referred to as "viscose rayon" to distinguish it from other types of rayon.

The term "viscose" refers to the process of manufacturing rayon using a method called the viscose process. In this process, cellulose is chemically treated to produce a viscous solution (viscose), which is then used to make fibers through spinning.

Key Difference:

In summary, rayon is the umbrella term for a category of fibers made from regenerated cellulose, which includes viscose, modal, lyocell, and cupro, among others.

Viscose, on the other hand, is a specific type of rayon that is made using the viscose process, involving the creation of a viscous solution from cellulose, which is then spun into fibers.

In everyday language, people often use "rayon" to refer to viscose since viscose is the most common and widely used form of rayon. However, in a technical or manufacturing context, "rayon" is a broader term that encompasses various specific types of regenerated cellulose fibers.

You may find the following textile relevant questions to be of interest:

What is the difference between Lyocell, Modal & Tencel?

What is the difference between viscose & rayon?

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