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About Organic Cotton Fabrics
Whether you're sensitive to the chemicals used to manufacture non-organic fabrics or just want to be more environmentally conscious, organic cotton fabrics are a good choice for natural clothing and bedding. Organic cotton fabrics are made with cotton grown using sustainable methods and without toxic fertilizers and pesticides.
According to the Organic Trade Association, the production of organic cotton has increased significantly in recent years due to increased demand for consumer organic cotton products and wholesale fabrics.
What's missing in organic cotton fabrics
Organic cotton is grown without the use of herbicides, insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization, conventionally grown cotton is among the world's most chemically reliant crops, using up to 1/3 pound of different chemicals to produce the amount of cotton needed for a single T-shirt, and 3/4 pound to make a pair of jeans.
How organic cotton is grown
Without the use of chemicals, how do farmers grow large quantities of cotton and keep it from being eaten by insects? First, they use crop rotation strategies and compost-rich soil in order to compensate for the lack of fertilizer. Insects are kept at bay with a combination of natural predators and the use of nearby "trap crops" to distract the insects' attention.
Organic cotton regulations
In order to be certified as organic, cotton must meet regulations set out by the federal government. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees organic cotton certification in the U.S.. Representatives from the agency test for the use of banned chemicals on the crops and in the soil.
Benefits of organic cotton fabrics
Besides their environmental benefits, organic cotton fabrics have some other advantages as well. Many people feel that organic cotton has a softer feel, while those with allergies to certain chemicals find relief from their skin sensitivities. Organic clothing is often treated with natural dyes, giving it a comfortable, earthy appearance. Undyed cotton is a soft natural color and can be good for basic T-shirts, linens and upholstery. Organic cotton is popular for baby clothes, since it doesn't irritate a baby's sensitive skin.
Types of organic cotton products
Organic cotton appears in more than just clothing. With the rise in consumer demand, organic cotton products now include diapers, toys, stationery, cotton swabs and cotton balls, home furnishings, wallpaper and yoga mats. Organic cottonseed oil is even used as an ingredient in some types of chips and cookies.