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What Are the Characteristics of Eco-Friendly Fabric and Clothing?


The luxurious feeling of a silk shirt comes with a price.  The moths that make the silk are killed by the industry so that the silk farmers can take their silk cocoons.  However, there are organic fabrics available, which provide consumers with an eco-friendly option.  Some of the most common eco-friendly fabrics are:  bamboo, cotton, silk, wool, and linen.  What are the characteristics of these eco-friendly fabrics?

Organic Silk:

Organic silk has the same luxurious feeling, without the guilt.  Organic silk is made from the cocoons of wild moths, which are allowed to break free of their cocoons and go on to mate and lay more eggs, thus creating a sustainable crop.  Silk is a material that most closely resembles human skin.  It allows the skin to breathe and is naturally hypoallergenic, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin.  Silk also regulates the body’s temperature, allowing the wearer to feel comfortable in a variety of climates.  And because silk is biodegradable, it is an eco-friendly product.  So enjoy the lustrous shimmer and lightweight feel of an organic silk blouse, knowing that you have made an eco-friendly decision.

Organic Cotton:

A cotton crop uses more chemicals from start to finish than any other crop.  An organic cotton crop does away with genetically modified plants and harsh pesticides, providing consumers with an eco-friendly, healthy option.  Like regular cotton, organic cotton shrinks when washed, is durable, absorbs moisture, and retains all of the qualities of regular cotton, without compromising human health.  The un-dyed cotton fiber may have slight color variations due to the natural color variations in the plant.  This can be remedied with a gentle peroxide treatment.  Organic cotton can be found in most stores today.

Organic Bamboo:

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, making it a highly renewable plant source.  Organic bamboo is softer than cotton.  Its texture is reminiscent of a silk/cashmere blend.  It is two times more absorbent than cotton, making it a great option for exercise clothing.  Bamboo also has natural antimicrobial properties, which means that there is no need for pesticides when growing the crop.  This also means that bamboo fabric has natural antifungal and antibacterial qualities.

Organic Wool:

Those who buy organic wool can rest assured that the animal, that provided the warmth of the sweater, was treated humanely.  Wool is known for its softness, strength, and most of all the warmth that it provides.  The color of organic wool varies ranging from whites, browns, grays, and blacks.  Wool naturally cleans itself just by being aired out, but if it does get stained, some light hand-washing will be needed.  Wool is a wonderful organic fabric for the winter months.

Organic Linen (Flax):

Organic linen is made from flax.  Flax is more difficult to grow than other crops because it is very vulnerable to weeds.  Due to production costs, the cost of organic linen is quite high compared to other organic materials such as cotton.  Linen ranges in texture from soft and lightweight to coarse.  It also wrinkles easily.  However, with these drawbacks aside, linen is a very lightweight material that wearers find extremely comfortable in hot weather.  It is 2-3 times stronger than cotton and extremely absorbent. 


So with all of the benefits of organic fabrics, how do you know that your organic fabric or clothes are truly produced by those who follow organic practices?  Look for an eco-label, such as GreenSafe mark, EcoProof , or Bluesign-standard, just to name a few, on all of your organic clothing.  This certifies that a third party quality assurance team has looked into the manufacturer’s practices and found that they do abide by eco-friendly standards.  When you see an eco-label on your clothing, you know that you are buying top-quality organic material.  The environment benefits, those who sewed your clothing were paid fair wages, and the animals that furnished your clothing with their wool were treated humanely.  An eco-label gives you peace of mind about the clothes that you wear.

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