Organic cotton is creating hype today!! What is organic cotton and why is it becoming popular?
Let us understand a bit about this wonder material.
How is organic cotton cultivated?
Growing organic cotton utilizes materials and methods that have low impact on the environment. Organic cultivation methods maintain soil fertility, help build diverse agriculture, reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and insecticides. To top this all, a third-party organization certifies the organic producers have completely followed the permitted materials and methods of organic production. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a third-party organization that certifies organic cotton grown across the globe. According to this organization, a textile product carrying the “GOTS label” must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers.
Organic cotton is very different from regular cotton, from the way it is cultivated, to the impact it has on the environment. Here are the differences between regular cotton versus organic cotton -
Regular cotton –
- Uses a lot of water for cultivation
- Cultivated land becomes bereft of nutrients, rendering it useless for further cultivation
- It is pesticide and insecticide intensive
- It is a health hazard to those closely working with cotton, i.e., farmers and factory workers
- Uses harsh chemicals to dye the fabric to convert into colourful garments
Organic cotton –
- Uses comparatively less water for cultivation
- Retains the soil nutrients
- Farmers use organic bio-degradable products to protect cotton crop from infestation
- Due to the methods utilized in the cultivation of organic cotton, the health of farmers and factory workers are protected
- Use natural dyes to colour the fabric.
How much organic cotton is grown in the world?
A report published in 2011 by the Textile Exchange Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber, approximately 151,079 metric tons (MT) of organic cotton was grown 802,047 acres. Organic cotton is around 0.7% of global cotton production.
It is grown in around 20 countries worldwide – led by India, followed by Syria, China, Turkey and United States.
Does this wonder fabric need special care to maintain it?
Maintaining organic cotton clothing requires some caution, but otherwise can be washed and maintained like regular clothes. Few notable points to consider would be the following –
Machine Washing instructions
Organic cotton clothing does not get affected by general machine washing. However, exposing the clothes to intensive heat dryers might lead to shrinkage of the material. Reason behind this is, it is devoid of chemicals that help regular cotton from shrinking. Use delicate cycle with a lower temperature and low spin. Consider approximately 5% shrinkage possibilities in the first wash. This does not mean you have to buy a size larger, as the fabric shrinks lengthwise and not width.
To play it safe, hang the clothes to drip and dry instead and dry in shade.
Use mild detergents
Use bio-friendly products to wash organic cotton clothes, in order to preserve its unique qualities. Commercial detergents contain harmful chemicals like fragrances, phosphates, surfactants, etc. These make the cotton fabric frail and weak and can easily tear the material. These chemicals can also cause allergic reactions.
Ironing of organic cotton clothes
One point to remember is that organic fabric clothes are not treated with anti-wrinkle chemicals and so it tends to creases easily. So, it is better to iron these clothes when it is still damp or use steam ironing to make it wrinkle free.
Very dark colours tend to bleed for a couple of washes. One hack that one can follow is adding a capful of vinegar as part of last rinse the first time you wash the garment, so that the colour remains strong for a long time to come.
Specific care for organic cotton baby clothing
Do take care to follow all the above-mentioned care for your baby’s cotton clothing. To top this, ensure to sterilize all the clothing with disinfectants on a regular basis. Ensure the baby’s clothes are hung in a place where there is enough fresh air and light as well.
Baby clothes are precious and needs that extra care to maintain them. Organic cotton clothes are the best gift you can give your baby. These are hypoallergenic and hence safe for your baby.
Organic cotton clothes in general need to be maintained differently from regular cotton and synthetic fabrics as shared above. However, it is easy once you get the hang of it. These clothes are known to be durable and well-maintained clothes go a long way.
For more details on organic cotton clothes for babies, please visit us on Nature’s Cuddle.