Have you ever wondered what exactly makes organic cotton...well, organic? It’s a big buzzword that can mean a lot of different things. I know when I was first researching and learning about organic fabric for baby clothes, it took a while for me to get the hang of all the terms. This quick explanation of what makes organic cotton organic in the first place will hopefully demystify the process!
What Does Organic Mean?
Organic anything -- including cotton -- means agricultural products that are grown from non-genetically modified plants. In other words, it’s grown without the use of any synthetics or chemicals commonly found, like pesticides and fertilizers. Conventionally grown cotton requires huge amounts of pesticides, which has a massive environmental impact. In fact, the Organic Trade Association says it uses 25 percent of the world’s insecticides!
Why is Organic Cotton Important?
Organic cotton uses other farming methods, like different weeding equipment or beneficial insect releases, to harvest the cotton. Best of all, no toxic chemicals are sprayed on the crops! Organic cotton also helps promote biodiversity, which helps lessen the environmental impact.
We use cotton items every day, and our babies especially come into contact with them all the time. Diapers, blankets, soft toys they’re all made with cotton. That means your baby comes into contact with all those insecticides and chemicals too. The chemical residue gets trapped in the cotton fibers! Organic cotton clothes are softer, easier on your baby’s skin (fewer rashes or irritation), and free of toxic chemicals.
How Do I Know It’s Organic?
If you buy clothes in the U.S., the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has to approve it before it can be considered organic. They determine the best practices for growing, fertilizing, and handling organic crops, including cotton. Basically, any finished clothes sold in the U.S. that say they’re certified organic have met USDA organic regulations, or met the standards of the Global Organic Textile Standard.
Have you tried organic cotton before? Do you notice a difference in how your clothes feel? Tell me in the comments!