Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics in the world, but the difference between organically grown cotton and non-organic one is crucial. To make your clothes last longer you must be aware of its peculiarities.
Probably, you’ve come across a tag ‘100% organic cotton’ on clothes of popular brands recently while going shopping. Indeed, eco-friendly fashion is on the rise. However, it’s not only about your style, but also your comfort and health.
What’s the Difference between Organic and Non-organic Cotton
Organic cotton is cotton that is produced without causing any harm to the environment. Unlike organic cotton, non-organic one is grown with large amounts of insecticides (used to kill insects), pesticides (used to kill pests) and herbicides (used to control weeds). It has not been proven that all of these chemicals affect people who wear cotton, but cotton plantation workers become victims of pesticides every year, and many of them die.
The total amount of eco-cotton is less than 1% of the total production, but it is constantly increasing. To stimulate growth, only organic fertilizers are used that are manure and compost. For growing organic cotton, a mixture of garlic, chili pepper, and soap is used. There are no genetically modified seeds as well. Instead, energy-saving technologies, such as solar panels, are used.
Moreover, farmers rotate crops. If different cultures grow in the same area, the soil regenerates naturally. For the production of non-organic cotton, the same area is constantly used, which leads to the depletion of humus. As a result, chemical fertilizers are used.
Besides, organic cotton is hand-harvested, so only fully ripened seeds are selected. After the harvest, the fibers are separated from the seeds and processed separately, which ultimately leads to an improvement in the quality of the cotton fabric.
By contrast, non-organic cotton is machine-harvested that negatively affects the quality of raw materials. In this way defoliants make the cotton heads fall off the branches themselves, and it doesn’t matter whether they ripened or not. Furthermore, manufacturing clothes made from organic cotton involves the usage of toxic dyes, chlorine bleaches, and formaldehydes, which can harm our health.
Properties of Organic Cotton
According to cotton producers, organic cotton is superior to cotton both in terms of its effect on human health (non-organic cotton can provoke allergy) and in terms of practical use:
- Organic cotton is wear-resistant. So, it can be repeatedly washed, ironed, bent, and stretched;
- It is more breathable than non-organic cotton;
- It’s hardy when heated, so it can be washed at a temperature of 95 °C or steamed at temperatures above 150 °C (therefore, it is widely used for the production of sterile medical devices);
- It absorbs moisture up to 20% of its weight while maintaining a feeling of dryness;
- It’s very soft that is essential for people with sensitive skin.
Washing Organic Cotton
Looking after the clothes made from organic cotton may seem to be a piece of cake. In fact, it’s like looking after a child. It takes a lot of care and attention. Luckily, there is a wide range of devices and apps, like child locator app, that makes parents’ life easier. Concerning caring for organic cotton, there are also some tips that can make your clothes last longer without extra effort.
The main disadvantage of organic cotton is shrinking after washing because such fabric doesn’t contain chemicals for sustainability. Wash such clothes by hand or put the washing machine on a delicate cycle at a temperature of 30-40 degrees. Low spin speed is preferable. And take into account that the clothes made from organic cotton shrink at 5% after the first washing.
To preserve the unique qualities of organic cotton, it is advisable to wash them with bio-friendly products. Detergents contain harmful chemicals like surfactants, synthetic fragrances, phosphates, and others. They negatively affect the fibers of bio-cotton, destroying their unique properties. Also, these chemicals can cause allergic reactions.
If you have stains on clothes, wash them with natural bio-soap and soak for at least two hours in cold water. After that, wash things in the washing machine or by hands. For the first wash, add ¼ cup of vinegar to the final rinse, this will help set the color and resist fading.
Drying Organic Cotton Items
Try to dry such clothes outdoors, as this method doesn’t weaken the fibers and reduces wrinkles. However, avoid placing them directly in the sunlight, because it can make your clothes fade.
Ironing Organic Cotton Fabric
It’s important to understand that organic cotton isn’t treated with anti-wrinkle chemicals, so it creases easily. Better iron such fabric when it is still wet, or use steam ironing.
After all, buying organic cotton, you care not only about yourself but also about the environment. Always follow the instructions on the label, and your clothes will last as long as possible.