Many of us spend extra time and money sourcing organic foods. Yet if you polled those same people, I imagine you would find the majority don’t think twice about organic fabrics. So what’s the big deal, you might ask? It’s intuitive to be concerned about whether fruits and vegetables have been treated with chemicals or preservatives, but fabrics? Is this taking the organic aspect too far? Are organic fabrics worth it?
Most people know all about thread count and how it pertains to sheets. And if you’re spending top dollar on high thread count sheets, you assume you’re getting premium-quality bedding, right? Not necessarily. While high thread counts can make for better sheets, it’s the actual thread that matters most. In fact, bedding made from a higher-quality fibre with a lower thread count will actually out-perform linens with a higher thread count but poorer quality fibre.
If you’re looking for fabrics with a higher-quality fibre, sourcing organic textiles are a good option. Organic textiles are usually made from one of two materials: organic cotton or organic hemp. Hemp can be grown very easily without pesticides, and it’s a highly renewable resource. But unfortunately, past politics have gotten in the way and made this versatile green resource illegal to grow here. This means if you are wearing or using hemp products, you can bet that at the very least, the fabric has been imported.
Who would have thought that buying new bed sheets could be a complicated process? But with all of the materials available and the varieties of each, it can be a tough decision to make. Gone are the days of a simple sole choice of white cotton sheets. In today’s market, there is everything from cotton to bamboo and ranging from synthetic to organic. Which option is the best for you? Are organic fabrics and thus organic sheets really better than others? More durable? Healthier? It’s a lot to take in! But fear not, we are here to guide you. Let’s start by taking a look at the fabric options that sheets may typically be made from and finish with a discussion of the numerous benefits of organic sheets.
In theory, even during those crazy weeks where you’re running from one late-night work session to the next and hitting up birthday dinners and late-night after-parties for friends on both nights of the weekend, you’re still spending quality time with the sheets on your bed, at least 30 hours a week, right? And, considering you have already made the commitment to eat organic, why would you even consider spending so much time sleeping on sheets that were manufactured using chemicals that can be harmful to your body?
The upside to using sheets and towels that have been made using these materials is that, just like organic food, the fibres they use have been grown without using chemicals. In addition, bedding often contains additional chemicals, added later in the production process, that helps keep it wrinkle-free, meaning that those chemicals are directly reaching your skin while you sleep.
Yikes! Makes you think twice when you crawl into bed tonight, doesn’t it?
But best of all, organic sheets and towels are actually much softer to the touch and people who have replaced their bedding, especially, with organic bedding, say that they sleep better now! “I know it sounds ridiculous, and I feel silly even saying this, but since we switched to organic sheets and pillowcases on our bed, I sleep so much better!” says Jill, a bedding-obsessed SheKnows reader from Chicago. “It’s probably all in my mind, but I feel more rested. Plus, the sheets are so soft and cozy my husband didn’t even complain about the price tag. He loves them as much as I do!”
Organic cotton bedding has been increasing in popularity over the past decade as people have become more aware of the impact their consumer choices can have. Organic cotton is cultivated using environmentally friendly methods. It doesn’t contain any genetically engineered substances or synthetic chemicals, and it has been grown without pesticides.
Organic sheet sets have become increasingly popular over recent years. They are more environmentally safe and healthier than more conventional bedding options like non-organic or synthetic sheets. Organic cotton sheets and organic linen sheets provide a number of benefits to both the consumer and the environment. They are pesticide-free, pigment-free and hypoallergenic. Organic cotton is extremely comfortable due to its ability to wick moisture away from the body and offer superb durability and convenience. If you are curious but not sold on the perks of organic sheets yet, let’s take a deeper look at each of these benefits.
Organic sheets are safer for the consumer because cotton, or another plant, is grown without the use of pesticides. A pesticide is any substance used to destroy insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants. If used while growing the cotton plant, these chemicals may leave traces on the fibres used to produce bed sheets ultimately. (If chemicals in sheets freak you out, don’t even get us started with the chemicals in mattresses.)
Since organic sheets are pesticide-free, pigment-free, and bleach-free, it is not surprising that they are also hypoallergenic. The lack of chemicals during the manufacturing process means the sheets are less likely to cause a reaction in those individuals with sensitivities to certain chemicals. Organic sheets also do not contain any metals, typically found in the dyes used to add colour to bedding, which is a known allergen to many consumers. As compared to conventional cotton, organic cotton has also been shown to be beneficial for asthmatics.
Unlike synthetic materials, organic fibres allow for ventilation and air circulation, which helps remove body moisture by absorption. Specifically, cotton fibres can absorb up to 20% of their weight before feeling damp to the touch. Thus, these fibres are able to absorb body moisture which then evaporates into the surrounding air, which helps your body to stay cool and dry throughout the night.
According to the Organic Trade Association, organic production systems are able to replenish and maintain soil fertility. These systems utilize natural fertilizers, as opposed to toxic and persistent pesticides or fertilizers, while also contributing to the building of biologically diverse agriculture. As a result, organic growing methods not only maintain soil health but also utilize fewer natural resources and less land to yield the same amount of product.
Organic sheets are biodegradable meaning they can be broken down by living organisms should you decide to get rid of them. Most biodegradable sheets can break down and return to nature in as little as two weeks! This means less waste in landfills, and that is better for the environment overall.
Don’t let their biodegradability fool you! Organic sheets are still exceptionally durable, especially organic cotton or linen sheets. This means they can withstand lots of use without showing signs of wear and tear—a good element for sheets that may be used often.
People tend to spend more sustained time in their bed than interacting with any other environment. Because of this, it is especially important that all bedding materials be promoting one’s health rather than diminishing it. Organic cotton sheets are hypoallergenic largely due to the lack of chemical additives. Those with chemical sensitivities can find that non-organic sheets will cause skin or respiratory reactions. This is especially important for those with known sensitivities and babies and children who have far more sensitive skin than most adults. The dyes, chemicals, and pesticides can cause a variety of reactions.
Organic sheets are good for the planet. Conventionally farmed cotton has taken a huge toll on the health of the planet. It is responsible for a quarter of the worldwide use of insecticides. Some of the most dangerous pesticides are used to promote the growth of cotton, which can then enter the food chain through water run-off. Making a choice to use only organic cotton helps support those farmers who are committed to growing a high-quality product without the use of these toxic methods. It also serves as an incentive to switch to organic methods for those farmers who are using conventional farming techniques. When they make the switch to organic methodology, it improves the health of the farmers and their families by preventing local water contamination and improving the overall quality of the land.
Organic bedding just feels better. The fabric has less contact with harsh chemicals which results in a naturally soft experience. The way in which the cotton is weaved can play a role in how crisp or soft the sheets feel—using the weave of the cloth, rather than chemical processing, to achieve a desired density and softness results in a product that is consistently soft even with regular washing. They are naturally breathable and wick away moisture to keep you cool throughout the night. This further enhances the overall comfort of sheets made with organic cotton.
Organic cotton sheets are not only remarkably durable, but they are also biodegradable and produced with sustainable methods. While it is true that human-made fabric can be more durable, it will not break down naturally once it is worn and the methods of production are not sustainable.
One of the reasons organic cotton provides a higher quality textile is in the way the crop is harvested. Conventional growers will use a harvesting machine that mixes the cotton with the oil and seeds of the plant. Harsh chemicals are then utilized to remove the other parts and clean the cotton. An organic farmer will pick the cotton by hand, which provides a cleaner product that doesn’t require harsh additives. The cotton is cleaned using hot water and vegetable-based soaps rather than chemicals. Choosing organic bedding is a way to incorporate a greater environmental awareness into your everyday life while also improving your own quality of sleep. Jefferson Lane recognizes the value of using organic farming methods which is why all of our products are created with organic cotton. When you slip into bed each night, you’ll know you are surrounded by all-natural comfort that is good for you and the earth.
Organic bedding is completely safe to wash and dry in a regular washing machine and dryer making them very easy to care for. No special trips to the dry cleaner are needed!
As you can see the benefits of organic sheets to both the environment and consumers are hard to ignore. Typically, you can find organic bedding in a variety of fabrics, especially with its increasing popularity, but organic cotton sheets, or linen, are produce with regularity. When you are ready to purchase organic sheets, try to find some that have the following characteristics:
– Ensure that the sheets are manufactured to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) standard. The GOTS was developed with the aim of defining requirements that are recognized around the world, and that ensure the organic status of textiles from the time the raw materials are harvested, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, to the end of the process of labelling the product in order to provide a guarantee to the consumer.
– Purchase certified organic cotton home textiles. This is not to be confused with pure finish sheets which simply indicates that no chemicals were used during manufacturing or that all traces of chemicals used during manufacturing have been removed.
– Finally, look for products that are not wrinkle-free or easy-care to be sure they weren’t processed with formaldehyde.
Once you’ve selected the perfect set of organic sheets, don’t forget to look for an organic mattress to put them on!
So let’s move on to cotton. Cotton is “the fabric of our lives”, right? Picture those beautiful cotton fields against the blue sky and fluffy clouds, and we think “pure and natural”. Well, we couldn’t be more wrong. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the US. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, conventional cotton farming uses about 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides and more than 10 per cent of the pesticides. The process of growing conventional cotton poisons the soil, air, and groundwater. Many of the chemicals used were originally formulated as nerve gases for warfare! This has led to many health problems in humans and wildlife around cotton fields, as well as for the workers. Furthermore, bedding often contains additional chemicals, added later in the production process.
At a glance, conventionally grown cotton is hard to distinguish from cotton that’s organically grown. The difference is that Certified Organic means the cotton has been grown, harvested, processed, and manufactured without chemicals, and with a lower carbon footprint than traditional cotton. Growing organically takes more time, requires more knowledge and skill, and for now, costs more. But I think it’s worth it. Even if you don’t care about the environmental impact, consider the amount of time you spend in bed. Then think about how much time you spend sleeping on sheets that were manufactured using harmful chemicals. And if you suffer from allergies, including skin allergies, making the switch to organic linens should be even more of a priority.
On the upside, more and more companies are offering organic textile options. Even our bigger chain stores are jumping on the bandwagon, which makes their price more competitive. An easy way to make the switch is just to start slowly transitioning to organic linens. Buy one set of organic sheets or towels and go from there. I did just that a couple of years ago, and now I find I don’t want to sleep on anything else. For me, it’s time to purge the rest and splurge on another set.
Should I Be Buying Them for My Home?
Long story short, yes. Switching to organic bedding and towels throughout your home should be on your to-do list and if you or family members suffer from allergies — including skin allergies, such as eczema — making a move to organic linens should be a priority. Kids can also benefit from organic linens, and many retailers are even selling crib sheets made from organic cotton.
But, don’t get overwhelmed with this — it’s not like you need to double-bag all your current bedding and towels and burn them in the backyard! Commit to transitioning your household to organic linens. Start with new sheets on one bed at a time. Slowly add in new pillowcases, duvet covers and down-comforters, all of which come in organic alternatives as well.
The one thing about organic linens, as with all organic products, is that they aren’t cheap. However, organic cotton is also durable and wears well, meaning you won’t have to replace these every year. Look at them as an investment — for your home and your health!