Last Updated on October 29, 2022 by Shariful Alam
Organic Cotton Fabric
Organic cotton fabric is one of the comfiest, coziest, safest materials for daily use. Everything from clothing to soft toys for your babies can be made of organic cotton fabric, ensuring an eco-friendly way of living. We need different kinds of fabrics for our day-to-day life.
Cotton being our first choice, we must know about every detail of the organic cotton fabric.
In this article, we tak about:
The history of cotton fabric. what organic cotton fabric means? The price of cotton fabric, its usage. the dyeing process. The difference between organic and regular cotton fabric.
We will also see comparisons between organic cotton and bamboo cotton fabric. The difference between organic cotton and hemp fabrics.
We are a Team of writers, textile experts, and fashion geeks with a combined experience of 25 years write this beginner-friendly guide to give value.
What is the organic cotton fabric?
In simple words, organic cotton fabric is a fabric that is made out of organic cotton fiber. Which is produced naturally without using any kind of GMO, pesticides, or chemicals. Therefore, while producing organic cotton fiber, chemicals of any sort, even synthetic fertilizer, must be kept away from cotton production.
An entirely natural procedure is followed, from sowing the cotton seeds to harvesting.
Cotton is the comfiest fabric for dry, warm weather. If it is made of 100% organic cotton fiber. Organic cotton fabric is best known for its sweat-absorbing power and the feasibility of washing the fabric.
Brief History of organic cotton
Cotton has been a major part of human civilization. Cotton has evolved and expanded along with the human race. The history of cotton goes way back.
Cotton was worn around 4000 BC. Locals believe Rakhigarhi and Mehrgarh, two Indian states, employed cotton initially. Cotton-based civilization evolved from 3300 to 1300 BC, also known as “Indu Valley.” Some assume Americans invented cotton fabric about 5500 BC. Europe believed only India could cultivate cotton before the Middle Ages. Europe and Britain began to use cotton after the middle age’s evolution since it is simpler than wool.
Is organic cotton better than regular cotton?
Organic cotton’s name itself suggests the authenticity of this fabric. However, regular and organic cotton fabrics have certain differences.
- While regular cotton fiber is made from genetically modified seeds, organic cotton fiber uses natural seeds.
- Organic cotton fabric is created without any chemicals, including pesticides. However, regular cotton fabric has chemicals in it.
- Regular cotton goes through the bleaching process for a crisp white color. Organic cotton is yellowish as it lacks chemicals and bleach.
- Organic cotton fiber only uses natural fertilizers. This maintains healthy cotton. Chemical-free cotton is softer and healthier for the environment.
How to make organic cotton fabric?
If you are wondering how cotton fabric is made, at first, cotton bolls get hand-picked by the farmers. Since the beginning of time, farmers have been processing cotton fiber by hand. Although manufacturers now use machines to process the cotton. After extracting the seed cotton, they undergo further processing.
Once the final combing is done, the cotton goes through one more process to become yarn, Yarn goes into the weaving process, and eventually, it becomes the Fabric. That we use to make clothes & wear.
It might sound very simple. In the real world, this is a very complex process. This is because so many people are involved in this industry. To obtain the organic certification, all natural fabrics meet specific criteria set by GOTS.
Organic cotton & sustainability
When sustainability is a crucial aspect of any business, businesses must focus on maintaining ethical, legal, and environment-friendly approaches. As the world is getting buried in chaos and man-made environmental issues, environmentalists look for an organic approach to everything.
It is no different when it comes to clothing. As mentioned before, organic cotton fabric is made from natural organic cotton fiber, and without using any kind of chemicals, we can safely say that organic cotton fabric is sustainable.
The seeds from which the organic cotton fiber is made are free from any scientific genetic mutation. Again, no pesticides or chemicals are used while harvesting cotton. Again, from the weeding process to the process of transforming the fiber into the fabric, it is all done manually. This makes sure that the fabric is organic and sustainable.
Uses of Organic Cotton
Cotton is a very versatile fabric. On average, 25 percent of fabric in the world uses cotton fiber. Almost 60 percent US origin apparel and retails selling natural cotton fabric.
As a result, it is used for every kind of need you can think of. Organic cotton fabric is used for clothing, baby clothing, table sheets, bedsheets, towels, curtains, quilt backs, nightgowns, shirts, lingerie, handkerchiefs, and whatnot.
The dyeing process
For organic cotton fabric, there are two ways of dyeing the yarn. One is vegetable dyeing, and the other is reactive dying.
What does that mean? This means that:
For vegetable dyeing
Organic cotton fiber is very easy to dye as they absorb color faster than any other fiber. That is why even vegetable dye is possible for organic cotton fiber. Vegetable dyeing is done in three simple steps. Those are:
1. Mordanting: A two-step mordanting process with Mordant II and Alum is a must to use natural vegetable dyes.
2. Applying dye: At this point, the solution of the dissolved particles needs to be applied to the organic cotton fiber and go to the next step.
3. Setting the dye: You can wash vegetable-dyed yarn / fabric in cold or warm water with regular detergent, dry it on low heat, or hang it up to dry.
For reactive dyeing
Vegetable dyeing is easy for organic cotton fiber. But reactive dying is even easier. It’s done in two ways:
1. Immersion dyeing: To get the desired color , organic cotton fiber is put in a dye bath made of water, dye, and chemicals altogether. It must be set for a certain period of time. Then, to get a uniform color, you must stir the dye solution a lot.
2. Dye baths: So that the dye can go through the fiber, it needs to move freely in the dye solution. If you add more water to a dye bath than you need to, the colors won’t be as strong, and it will take longer to dye.
That is why dye baths are so famous. To get even coloring, stir the dye bath over and over every 2 to 5 minutes. After straightening out the fiber, put it back in the bath in a different way.
Organic cotton’s benefits
What is organic cotton’s most significant benefit? The biggest advantage of organic cotton is that it is grown from natural seeds, without pesticides and fertilizers. The plant is protected by natural herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. The farmers protect the crop from any chemicals and let it develop organically.
- No-chemical policy
Organic cotton utilizes zero toxic chemicals, which is a significant advantage. However, pesticides and insecticides are widely used in other cotton fabrics. These chemicals are unhealthy and can cause cancer.
- Greener production
Organic cotton production is greener from seed to bale. Organic cotton has less environmental impact while regular cotton growing affects water quality and biodiversity. Organic cotton production reduces acidity and global warming.
Organic cotton which is GOTS-certified is dyed with natural resources, unlike regular cotton. This ensures organic treatment from seed to product.
When fabric reaches the market, it contains herbicides, dyes, fertilizers, and pesticides. It grows filthy and irritates your skin. However, thankfully, organic cotton is produced under the zero-chemical rule, which is safe for your skin.
Another plus point of organic cotton is that it lasts longer. While other cotton fabric has chemicals in them, which harm the fabric by weakening the cloth, organic cotton fabric has longer, better-bonded fibers.
Organic cotton fabric feels smoother since the fibers are longer. They appear cozier and smoother.
Organic cotton’s downsides
Can you imagine why anybody would buy conventional cotton again after hearing about organic cotton? It is healthier, safer for the skin, and greener. However, sustainability is not necessarily black-and-white, as noted previously. Even organic cotton has drawbacks. These drawbacks are why people choose other types of cotton rather than organic cotton for their daily use.
- High price
Organic products is expensive. No way to reduce the price. Cost of cultivation & production of organic cotton fabric is always high compared to conventional cotton.
- Requires more land.
Non-organic cotton grows in a bigger bulk than organic cotton on the same land. The production is much smoother and bigger.
- Water consumption
Organic cotton consumes more water than normal cotton. Organic cotton consumes a lot of water in order to thrive. Compared to organic cotton, normal cotton consumes almost half of the amount. 1 kg of organic cotton requires 20,000 liters of water.
Organic cotton fabric by the Yard
Organic cotton fabric is a bit more expensive than regular cotton. Organic cotton by the yard costs around 10 to 25 USD. Organic production costs are higher & more sustainable. So the price of organic cotton fabric is more elevated. Get more expensive according to the fabric’s natural dying process, patterns, and quality.
For bulk use, you can also buy organic cotton by the Bolt. It reduces purchase costs. Many offline & Online stores sell organic cotton fabric.
World famous Brands that use Organic Cotton
Brands are now concentrating on sustainability. They are using sustainable organic fabric more and more as days pass. The world is not as healthy as it was 100 years ago. The fabric being an essential part of our life, the concerned people now look for organic options.
Pact makes eco-friendly garments. From planting and harvesting organic cotton to making fabric, this socially aware enterprise ensures a clean and reasonable supply chain. As a result, the pact has organic cotton shirts, dresses, and undergarments worldwide.
MATE the Label exclusively uses natural materials, including organic cotton, Tencel, and low-impact colors. T-shirts, shorts, tanks, and hoodies are made of these fabrics. The company decreases its carbon impact by sewing, coloring, and shipping all goods from Los Angeles
- Basic Organic
Organic Necessities delivers sturdy and eco-friendly basic needs, including teens, adult underwear, and leggings. It was founded in 2015. The odorless SilverTechTM makes them perfect for travel.
WVN, formerly Synergy Organic Clothing, employs exclusively GOTS-certified organic cotton from fair-paying farmers. WVN ensures that everyone in the supply chain, from the clothes makers to the packers, works safely, healthily, and fairly. This B Corp delivers worldwide. Thus these styles are available anywhere.
Since 1996, Patagonia has been using organic cotton. Their short movie “Dirt Cheap” shows a ROC (Regenerative Organic Certification).
Organic cotton Vs Bamboo cotton fabric
Which one is better? Organic cotton or bamboo cotton? The answer is it depends. We show many aspects from which you can Find it out by yourself!
- Minimal crop losses
Bamboo has traditionally been farmed without pesticides. Organic cotton has helped the world’s ecology. Composted manure, time-consuming weeding, trap crops, and helpful insects are the only ways to keep pests away. Organic cotton has greater crop waste than bamboo cotton.
- Water consumption
Bamboo uses one-third as much water as organic cotton. In many parts of the world, farmers can not cultivate crops because they do n0t have enough water. Bamboo utilizes water more effectively than cotton.
Bamboo is seldom replanted. Bamboo grows by itself and generates 10 times as much as cotton per acre. Every year, cotton is plucked and replanted. This process takes time. On the other hand, bamboo can self-grow.
Bamboo is one of the softest, strongest, and most cheap materials. Bamboo cotton lasts three times as long as organic cotton if you take care of it properly. Shirts, bed linens, pants, towels, and so many daily needs are manufactured from bamboo cotton. In addition, bamboo cotton is simpler to clean than traditional cotton, which increases product life.
While Egyptian cotton is pricey and popular, bamboo viscose is less costly than silk and Egyptian cotton. In addition, this silky material is hypoallergenic and will not cause allergies or skin irritation, unlike regular cotton.
- Absorbance power
Even while invisible, moisture is always present. Bamboo cotton is 40% more absorbent than organic cotton and helps you remain dry and comfortable. In addition, bamboo cotton can store three times its weight in water, thus it can soak away moisture quicker.
Organic cotton Vs. hemp fabric
It is time for another comparison. This time between organic cotton and hemp fabric
Cotton needs maintenance. Even though hemp is a more challenging plant, most of its fibers need to be “degummed.” This requires far more energy and carbon than cotton.
- Water usage:
Organic cotton uses 85% less water than traditional cotton since it is cultivated naturally. Hemp grows swiftly and lasts long.
Organic cotton costs extra since it is a richer type of cotton. However, organic cotton must have third-party verification. On the other hand, hemp fabric costs very little.
How to care for organic cotton fabric?
Organic clothes care? There are always methods to make washing more eco-friendly and skin-friendly. How to wash organic cotton fabric?
- Gently clean.
Mild detergent is kind to clothing and the environment. They are helpful for newborns and fragile skin.
- Use chilled water.
Organic textiles like cold water. Warm water helps remove stains and odors from baby clothing and bedding but other than that, try to use room temperature water for washing the fabrics.
- Use a low-heat dryer.
Reducing the dryer’s temperature may prevent puckering, shrinkage, premature wear, and fraying.
- Ideally, air-dry
You can simply air-dry organic cotton items, clothes, and baby gear if you have time and situation. Warm air saves energy and prevents the cloth from shrinking or expanding.
- Does organic cotton feel good?
Organic cotton is softer than conventional cotton. Therefore, it is considered to be a better fabric in compliance with Mother Nature.
- Is machine-washing organic cotton possible?
Before machine-washing for your organic cotton fabric, look for the brand’s instructions.
- Is organic cotton fabric eco-friendly?
Yes, organic cotton is eco-friendly.
After a lengthy discussion on organic cotton fabric, you must think of yourself as an expert now! Yes, this happens when you turn to professionals for advice. Our job is to tell you everything you need to know about organic cotton fabric and help you in every possible way.
Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!