Organic clothing

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Organic clothing is made from fibers that have been grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. Organic clothing is not new and was the prevalent form of clothing a century ago. The fabric revolution in the middle of the last century saw the rise of numerous artificial products such as polyester. The use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides also gained prominence. As people became environment conscious, the use of many of these synthetic materials was questioned and their popularity declined. Then people questioned the use of chemicals to grow and process these fabrics and the term organic clothing was born.


Why should I be aware of this?

Organic clothing offers stylish clothes for healthier and more responsible lifestyle. Few of us think about the amount of chemical treatments our clothes go through before they reach the stores. From the chemical treatments in the fields, to the bleaching done later on, most fibers are subjected to several chemicals before they are made into items of clothing. These chemicals have a direct and an indirect impact on our environment and health.

All about organic clothing

Organic clothing grew and evolved out of the organic agriculture movement. Consumers do not realise the amount of dangerous chemicals most natural fabrics are exposed to by the time they reach the stores.

For example, cotton is the second largest agricultural user of pesticides and uses five of the nine most harmful pesticides which include chemicals such as cyanide, dicofol, naled, and propargite. These are carcinogenic.

Organic clothing can be made from organically grown jute, bamboo, hemp and linen.

Organic clothing and health

Manufacturers of organic clothing tout several of its health benefits; though research has not been able to establish a direct link between organic clothing and these ailments. It is believed that chemically treated fibres aggravate conditions such as multiple chemical allergies and skin problems. Switching to organic clothing is said to bring substantial relief to these patients.

The chemicals may be eaten as they enter the human food chain via cottonseed oil used in processed foods. The meat and dairy products from cows fed cottonseed meal, trash from cotton gins and cotton straw may also contain pesticides.

Contamination of ground water is directly linked to pesticide and fertilizer use on cotton and other crops. This can have a drastic impact on our health and the health of our children.

The chlorine bleach used on cotton fabric produces dioxin, a known carcinogen responsible for hormone disruption. Hydrogen peroxide and formaldehyde are other disease-causing agents, as are the heavy metals used during the dye process.

Organic clothing and environment

Organic production methods result in fewer toxic emissions into the air, water and soil.

What can I do?

You can switch to organic products out of concern for the environment or be driven by ethical factors like animal rights and fair labor practices when making purchases. However, the quality of organic fabrics is also a reason to consider the switch.

Apart from purchasing garments made from these fabrics, you can go for bags, linen, upholsteries and curtains also. These fabric look good and feel good too.


  • A small proportion of the world's cotton crop is 'organic', meaning it is free of chemicals and pesticides, or 'green' which generally means that no chemical finishes have been used.
  • Unbleached cotton may have been grown with pesticides so this label means little else.


  • Standard cotton production accounts for more than 10 per cent of pesticides used and nearly 23 per cent of agricultural insecticide sales. [1]
  • In fact, it takes one-quarter of a pound of chemicals to produce one cotton T-shirt or two pairs of men’s boxer shorts.[1]

See also


  • Organic Cotton
  • ,Elmer Laird. Certified Organic Clothing
  • Sustainable Clothing - Emerging Standards
  • How Organic Clothing Works


  1. 1.0 1.1 Certified Organic Clothing