What Organic Cotton Means
Understanding what organic cotton is and how it is grown will help you understand its value in your home. Of all the items we surround ourselves with during a single 24 hour period, our beds may have the largest impact. Most people spend from 6-9 hours per day in bed, which means we are exposed to our mattresses, pillows and bedding for almost 1/3 of the day. These items touch our skin and some may release chemicals and fumes that we would breathe for several hours at a time.
Organic cotton bedding is grown at farms that are pesticide-free, using superior growing practices. In order to qualify for organic labeling, these items must meet specifically mandated guidelines. Only non-synthetic, non-toxic fertilizers can be applied to the crop and field, in combination with natural pest deterrents and insect management. Organic farmers also must sustainable practices like crop rotation to prevent mineral erosion and non-destructive harvesting methods. The crops are inspected to confirm these traits on a regular basis.
Cotton is produced throughout the world, accounting for only 2.5% of all crops by space, but 16-25% of all insecticides used – making it the dirtiest crop currently produced (Organic Trade Association). Organic cotton can make a significant impact as it is estimated that just the amount of cotton required to make one t-shirt consumes up to 1/3 pound of chemical pesticides and insecticides as well as over 2700 liters of water when grown conventionally. Every organic item sold shifts the market in favor of environmentally friendly practices, sending a message to harvesters and manufacturers about consumers’ priorities.
The Top 5 Benefits of Organic Cotton Bedding
1) Less Chemicals in the Ground
Organic cotton is grown using natural insect management, rather than synthetic and dangerous chemicals. This may not be seem to be a major impact until you consider that traditional cotton farming methods consume as much as 10% and 25% of the pesticides and insecticides that are used throughout the world. These chemicals go directly into the soil and groundwater nearby, affecting animals, plants and people for decades. Cotton scraps are also used extensively in food byproducts and as animal feed, contributing pesticide contamination of our food chain via multiple sources. The more crops produced organically, the less pesticides are being applied.
2) Less Chemicals in Your Home
Pesticide residues remain in cotton textiles after processing, and the processing practices used with conventional cotton also contribute additional chemicals. Very young children and older people are at increased risk for problems that may be caused by breathing or absorbing dangerous chemicals. Asthma sufferers and anyone who is suffering from chronic health problems is also at risk. Since organic cotton bedding is beneficial to them, it is certainly a wise choice for anyone who is concerned about the dangers posed by chemicals in our world today. Many synthetics and permanent press sheets also use chemicals like formaldehyde as part of their finishing process; however it is not present in organic cotton bedding and textiles.
Organic cotton is hypoallergenic, which reduces the risks of allergies and asthma. Because there are no irritating chemicals used in growth or production, none wind up in your bed or body. This provides an excellent accompaniment to latex mattresses, which many people also choose for their hypoallergenic properties.
4) Better for the Environment
Organic materials are grown using environmentally sustainable practices. These help increase biodiversity and decrease the amount of land that has to be used for growing . Rotating crops, planting cover crops, natural fertilizers and pesticides reduce the impact on the environment and help preserve soil and ecosystems for the future. Cotton requires a great deal of water while growing. By using environmentally friendly farming methods, the water is not polluted and can be used again with hazardous implications.
5) Improved Comfort
Comfort is increased by the natural organic cotton used in bedding, as it wicks away moisture better than its chemically saturated counterpart. Cotton’s breathability also allows it to absorb and release moisture without feeling damp, helpful in keeping comfortable throughout the night – cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter. The lack of harsh chemical solvents, softeners, and dyes contribute to finer end product less likely to cause skin irritations or reactions as well.