Organic cotton is the material in its purest form, that is cotton grown without pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; then spun into its finished form without the addition of any preservatives, enhancing chemicals or any harmful dyes.
Organic cotton can still be dyed or coloured, but these must also be made of organic substances as well. Anything added to the process of ‘finishing’ the cotton, into either a roll of raw cotton, or into a garment; must be organic as well, in order to meet the organic certification standards.
Cotton is grown all over the world, from the UK to Ireland and India. Currently Egypt is one of the main producers of both organic and non-organic cotton.
The benefits of Organic Cotton
Many users and wearers of organic cotton garments swear that they are much softer, and feel better against the skin. Indeed, many wearers of organic shirts, T-shirts, underwear and dresses say that once they have felt the difference between organic and non-organic cotton, they will never go back to wearing or buying non-organic.
Certainly, many users and wearers of organic cotton also take a moral stand against manufacturers of non-organic cotton who continue using potentially harmful chemicals to grow and manufacture their products.
Many mothers and families in the UK who believe in and advocate an organic lifestyle, insist on their babies and children wearing only organic cotton products, and baby clothes and children’s wear made from organic cotton is a growing market in the UK and worldwide.
By buying and wearing garments and products made from organic cotton, consumers are supporting the growing trend toward organics. Moving away from harmful agricultural practises such as adding chemical nitrates to soil, and then adding potentially toxic chemicals to materials as they are produced, can only be a positive development for people and the planet. Chemicals are toxic both to the workers who need to apply them, often in sweatshops in India and China, as well as to the wearers and users of the garments in the long-term.
Finding Organic Cotton Garments and Products
Many regular clothing shops and department stores are using or incorporating organic cotton in their clothing lines these days to meet the growing consumer demand. A recent development is the launch of organic cotton jeans, made both by new organically motivated smaller companies, and by some of the older, more established brand name companies whose products most of us know and wear regularly.
In addition, there are now many specialist shops and exclusively mail order companies that deal only with organic cotton garments, for adults and children. These mail order companies can be found advertising in the classified pages of magazines and journals that cater to the organic lifestyle. They all have websites where consumers can see the range of products, and most of them have sensible ‘no quibble’ return policies if the customer doesn’t like what they bought.
Also, check with your local health food or high street organic shop, as many of these kinds of shops now sell a limited supply of organic cotton products as well, like packs of organic cotton underwear and socks.