You buy organic produce, but what about organic cotton? As it turns out, your body can absorb what it comes into contact with, so let’s examine the impact of not buying organic.
Buying organic produce is one thing, but buying organic clothes? Organic sheets? Organic mattresses? For a lot of people, it might feel over the top. Since we’re not eating our socks or duvet covers, it’s easy to assume that buying non-organic is no big deal. But here’s what is crazy: our skin can actually absorb up to 80 percent of the chemicals it comes into contact with — 80 percent!
And that’s a big deal, because we spend a third of our lives in bed, and almost all of it wearing clothes made with cotton that is sprayed with pesticides, treated with formaldehyde, and pressed up against our skin to absorb. Not good news.
The reality is that what we put on and against our skin has a huge impact on our overall health. Studies show that not only do pesticides not wash out of fibers with a few washes, but over time, they can even be released as the cotton fibers begin to degrade. This means that cotton sheets you’ve had for a while could still be releasing pesticide residues onto your skin — as much as 42 percent — even after six washes. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive disorders and cancers, hormonal imbalances, and skin irritations.
Organic Cotton Really Is Better for Your Health
Organic cotton is grown without the use of insecticides or pesticides, and that is what we like to hear. It uses one-third of the water of a conventional cotton crop, has none of the toxic residue woven into the fiber, and doesn’t put the farmers who grow it at risk.
Natural pest prevention measures are used to protect the crops, like growing alfalfa at the roots of the plants to distract and deter pests. Because organic farming practices require crop rotation, the soil is more nutrient-dense too. You’re much less likely to cause desertification, or the expanse of desert, with organic cotton farming.
Best of all, you have a lower risk of developing skin allergies, autoimmune dysfunction, and reproductive cancers without exposure to the usual pesticides cotton is grown with.
So Why Doesn’t Everyone Buy It?
Organic cotton is amazing, and now it’s more available than ever. Clothes, sheets, towels, you name it — organic cotton has never been easier to get. But a lot of people still aren’t on the organic textiles train yet. To figure out why I spoke with Kait over at A Clean Bee to learn more about how she made the switch in her home.
A Clean Bee — Meet Kait
Kait Schulhof is the founder and author of A Clean Bee, a website focused on exploring all things “clean” — cleaning and organizing the home, minimalism, and sustainability. When she isn’t busy writing, her favorite ways to spend her time are organizing her home, tending to her garden, or enjoying the weather in her Southern California hometown — all with her husband and toddler son.
Having Kids Changed Things for Kait
When Kait had her baby, she and her husband bought their first home together. As they began furnishing their home, Kait dove into researching all of the different textiles and finishes available. The more she learned, the more she saw how important it was to be conscious of their choices.
Why Kait Started With Organic Cotton Sheets
When you start digging into the rabbit hole of organic versus conventional, synthetic versus natural, the information you find can be very alarming. This is not small stuff. The data is all there — conventional cotton is putting us right up against the same pesticides farmers wear protective equipment for.
But it doesn’t always make financial sense to get everything replaced, and sometimes, you have to prioritize a transition like this based on what matters most to you.
But at the end of the day, if you have to choose between sheets and towels, socks and clothing, blankets and robes, Kait says it makes the most sense to start with where you spend the most time.
Organic Cotton Isn’t As Expensive As It Used to Be
A few years ago even, an organic cotton dress or sheet set was harder to come by, and a lot more expensive. But now, thanks to a huge surge in demand, consumers have shown the world they care, and prices are coming down.
Organic cotton is now more widely farmed than ever, and the products continue to expand. There are tons of brands that are now rising to the call for better, healthier stuff to snuggle with. It’s here, it’s available, and it’s non-toxic and better for the planet.
The news just keeps getting better, and as long as we keep buying it, organic cotton will keep showing up everywhere.
What do you absolutely have to buy organic in your home? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!