Many people may be inclined to think that attention to the fabrics used should be directed only towards what is in their wardrobe, brushing aside the fact that they touch every aspect of our lives. Materials are not limited to pyjamas and t-shirts, as they may be often deemed, but they’re found everywhere you look, from the bed sheets you use to the curtains on your windows. And while many customers may keep making their purchasing choices depending on the brand, price, and aspect of a material, the ongoing awareness-raising efforts to educate people on the toxins, pollutants, and harmful chemicals that hide in products and the importance of ethical fashion are more prevalent than ever.
Smart marketing campaigns may fool customers into thinking they can’t do without the latest eco product when, in fact, there’s no such thing as an item completely “free from” chemicals or “chemical free”. There’s also no better item than one that poses no threat to your health and eliminates toxins. As such, the only time you can be certain of the true quality and genuineness of a product’s label is when the company behind it is transparent and the item purchased holds certifications like the Oeko-tex one. This certification is among the most renowned worldwide for ensuring the specifications on the label are real, the product has been tested for 350 toxic chemicals, and every step of the production product meets high-quality standards. As such, by resorting to Oeko-tex fabric, you don’t need to check other details on the label, as it’s the best guarantee you can get that your purchase is safe to use for you and the environment.
We can’t ignore the importance of fabrics and how their quality and level of toxicity interfere with everyday life. The first step to creating a healthier setting begins with replacing harmful materialfabrics with more ethical and sustainable alternatives, so let’s check your options out.
The fabrics you should do away with
Synthetic fabrics are found everywhere, with some examples like nylon, polyester, polyolefin and nylon dominating the textile industry. Their uses spread from intimate apparel to footwear, making avoiding this fabric complicated since sectors heavily depend on them. While you may not exclude it completely and forever from your life, being found in such a wide variety of products, it’s safe to say that you can minimize your reliance on them and replace them with safer alternatives anytime possible. However, before implementing this attitude in your everyday purchasing behaviour, it’s helpful to make sense of its worrying aspects:
- Nylon. As stated above, you should avoid products treated with many chemicals at all costs. Nylon is a popular example in this regard, which also makes use of petroleum and treatments with bleaching agents, synthetic dyes, and damaging chemicals. These all can irritate the skin and trigger immune system problems and skin allergies, being risky, especially for people with dermatitis.
- Polyester. Many products use polyester, from ropes to blankets, going beyond the fashion industry. This happens because it rates well for durability and strength, just like nylon, only that it is a more expensive alternative to it. While its advantages and convenience are hard to deny, one shouldn’t overlook the harmful procedures and issues it poses. It is made from petroleum and treated with terephthalic acid and dihydric alcohol, which are toxic and persist even after manufacturing.
- Rayon. Rayon, also regarded as one of the safer fibres, is less natural than you may be inclined to think, given its derivation from wood pulp. It is grown from types of wood, like pine trees or eucalyptus, which would sound good so far, but it also requires caustic soda, acetone, ammonia and other chemicals to be transformed into fabric. The risk resides in that when you wear and use this product, the chemicals may trigger side effects like insomnia, nausea, or headaches.
Cotton is one of the most highly used materials in plenty of industries, with the fashion sector taking the lead. While its versatility is incontestable, its environmental and social safety is debatable. For instance, producing jeans consumes almost 6.003 litres of rainwater and 1.931 irrigation water per pair. Additionally, it also uses chemically treated genetically modified seeds. This is why this fabric has secured the title of one of the worse crops on earth.
Indeed, organic cotton makes a safer alternative, as genetically modified seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed in the process. For peace of mind, find and get products with an Organic Content Standard (OCS) certification, which guarantees that every step in the creation process uses organic content like cotton.
The safest alternatives to unhealthy fabrics to welcome into your home
The many use cases of hemp and its benefits constantly make the headlines as scientific research unveils and people learn to use it in different areas. However, this plant has been around for ages and is valued for its strength, durability, and versatility. As expected, as cannabis legalization accelerates worldwide, new uses must be developed beyond recreation and medicine and touch everyday aspects of our lives. More and more brands are dabbling in this plant and using it to create different industrial or commercial products, ranging from consumer goods like furniture to clothing like towels.
What makes hemp fabric among the safest choices you can find in stores is its sustainability. It doesn’t need herbicides or pesticides to grow and can do well without great amounts of water or energy, making it outplay cotton in terms of environmental safety
Organic linen ranks among the most sustainable and versatile fabrics you can use. It is long-lasting and durable, uses 100% organic linen that’s compostable and biodegradable and has great quality-absorbing qualities owing to the large amounts of pectin inside the fabric.
Sustainability is guaranteed in organic fabric, mainly because they don’t need chemicals to be produced.
Tencel is highly found in a wide variety of products, with clothing items like dresses and sportswear being the greatest examples. This fabric holds eco-friendly properties that differentiate it from alternatives like modal or rayon, which helped it gain a reputation as one of the most sustainable fabrics.
As you can see, you’re not limited when it comes to healthy alternatives. Checking the products for certifications before buying them can be the greatest guarantee you can get that they’re sustainable, risk-free, and will prevent any potential toxic reactions, allergies, or illnesses from harmful fabrics.