Many brands are looking to shift to eco-friendly clothing. The emergence of bamboo fabric and organic cotton is probably the start of this revolution. So, Bamboo vs Cotton, which fabric is good for your infant?
Bamboo fabric, made from processed bamboo, is gaining popularity because of its sustainability. Cotton has been a material that we have used since time immemorial, and it is the preferred fabric in a tropical country like India. However, while cotton has been a material touted for its properties, bamboo is a newbie in the market.
There are many questions about bamboo fabric. Examples include whether bamboo is a safe and sustainable fabric and how it differs from organic cotton. Read on to find out answers and a complete breakdown of the process of creating bamboo, non-organic cotton, and organic cotton fabrics. We hope this will help you make an informed choice for your infant.
What is the difference between conventional cotton and GOTS certified cotton?
Cotton fabric is widely used in the textile industry, coming second only to polyester. Derived from the cotton plant being a natural and renewable resource, cotton firmly sits on the list of eco-friendly and safe options in terms of fabrics. Keep in mind that conventional, non-organic cotton is farmed in a non-environmentally friendly way.
How is conventional cotton made?
Chemicals could impact the entire process, from growing the plant to textile production. Farmers may treat the seeds with fungicides and insecticides from the start. There are also synthetic fertilisers to fertilise the cotton’s soil, causing significant environmental damage.
Sometimes, they spray the plants themselves with pesticides. In the finishing stages of the textile, there may be more chemicals used for various processes. Some include chlorine bleaching to whiten the textiles, synthetic surfactants to treat the fabric and heavy metals and sulfur for dyeing and printing. These chemicals cause various allergies, rashes, and respiratory issues. These chemicals can be absorbed through the skin from prolonged wearing.
What is GOTS Certified Organic Cotton?
GOTS, or the Global Organic Textile Standard, is internationally-recognized and is the worldwide leader for textile standards of organic fibres. GOTS certified products go through strict regulations, and GOTS ensures each certified product is manufactured in a socially and environmentally responsible way. GOTS monitors the entire supply chain, and the production process is audited to make sure that the process from seed to garment is transparent.
With GOTS certified organic cotton, every stage of the growing and production process is monitored. Contrary to conventional cotton, you can ensure that the seeds are natural and GMO-free, the soil is healthy, and the harvesting stage uses natural defoliation.
Even in the finishing stages, the dyes used are completely organic and do not contain heavy metals or sulfur. With GOTS-certified organic cotton, you can ensure that the clothes you are putting on your precious ones are free from harmful chemicals and hormone disruptors.
Are organic cotton clothes good for your baby?
Cotton is the most sought-after material for baby clothes. Cotton is used to make clothes, bibs, towels, and any other cloth that the baby comes in contact with, especially in tropical countries. This fabric has many advantages, especially if you choose organic cotton.
Hypoallergenic: Clothes made with organic cotton do not cause rashes on your baby’s sensitive skin. Organic cotton does not contain any chemicals. So, it is perfectly safe for your baby.
Environment friendly: Since organic cotton is made using eco-friendly methods, it is safe for the environment. Also, natural dyes are used in the fabric. There is no risk of harmful chemicals in the fabric or water bodies and soil. Recent studies have also shown that greenhouse gas emissions are lesser when using organic farming and manufacturing processes. It is also biodegradable.
Durable and low maintenance: Cotton is a natural fibre, so low maintenance. It dries easily, and the fabric becomes softer with every wash. Stain removal is easy with detergent. You can also machine wash cotton clothes.
Free of odour: Cotton is a light material. It absorbs sweat and moisture. However, when compared to synthetic materials, it retains less odour.
The price advantage: Even though clothes made of organic cotton are slightly more expensive than conventional cotton and other fabrics, the long-term benefits of using organic cotton outweighs the rest. So, it is a small price to pay for durable, breathable, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic clothes for your baby.
What Is Bamboo Fabric?
Bamboo fabric is made by processing the bamboo plant into a textile. Therefore, bamboo seems an excellent option for a safe and environmentally friendly fabric.
How is it made?
There are two main ways bamboo is processed to make the fabric. These two processes are very different because one is mechanical and the other is chemical.
The bamboo is crushed in the first stage of the mechanical process. After that, it is combed out and spun in a process similar to the production of hemp and linen. The downside of the mechanical process is that it is labour-intensive and more expensive than the chemical process.
The chemical process of manufacturing bamboo fabric requires various additives that include acid and other toxic chemicals. Besides adding carbon disulfide and bleach, the bamboo is cooked with lye and then treated with sodium hydroxide to turn it into the fabric. After the textile is ready, the chemically treated bamboo is further subjected to other chemicals. Chronic exposure to these chemicals is harmful to humans and has major environmental impacts.
Which process is safer for the environment?
The bamboo that is processed mechanically is deemed safer than those that are chemically processed. Bamboo fabric is one of the most eco-friendly materials if made right. It also offers soft, strong, durable, hypoallergenic advantages, extra-absorbent, naturally antibacterial, thermo-regulating, and UV protectant.
Are bamboo clothes good for your baby?
Clothes made out of bamboo fabric are highly recommended for babies. Many manufacturers now offer organically treated bamboo fabric made mechanically without the harsh chemical treatment, specifically for baby clothes. The main advantages of bamboo clothes are as follows:
Soft and Strong: Bamboo fabric is closest to silk because it is luxuriously soft and has a very smooth texture. This makes it one of the most desirable products for caressing your baby’s delicate skin. The added advantage of this is that it is also one of the most robust fabrics available. When cared for properly, bamboo fabric is more durable and will hold its shape and colour longer, even after multiple washes. Bamboo fabric is three times stronger than those made of cotton.
Antibacterial, Odour Free, Hypoallergenic, and UV Protectant: All of these occur naturally in the bamboo plant. This is because of an anti-bacterial bio-agent called Bamboo Kun in the plant, allowing it to flourish and grow in the wild without needing pesticides naturally. Even after the plant is converted into its textile form, this quality remains and helps to kill bacteria. Clothes free from bacteria mean the textile will be hygienic and odour-free, even when used for longer periods. Another quality is that the fabric is hypoallergenic, thus making it an excellent choice for babies with sensitive skin who are prone to experiencing allergic reactions to other natural fibres.
Thermo-regulating: One of the things that babies have trouble with is thermoregulation. Their bodies are still learning to cope with the world, and it is important to keep your baby warm. Bamboo fabric is breathable has thermo-regulating properties. Because of this, it can help your baby stay warm while also keeping them cool on a hot day.
Extra Absorbent: Bamboo fabric is about 40% more absorbent than the finest organic cotton. The fabric can absorb three times its weight in water when it comes to moisture absorption. This helps in wicking away moisture from your baby’s skin, helping them stay cool through the hot summer months.
Eco-Friendly: Bamboo is amongst the most eco-friendly and sustainable materials to grow. When compared to cotton, it requires 30% less water. Other qualities include being biodegradable, not needing fertilisers or pesticides, absorbing more carbon dioxide from the air, and providing an abundance of oxygen when grown. From a sustainability standpoint, it is more eco-friendly to grow than cotton and is one of the fastest-growing trees.
What are the disadvantages of bamboo fabric?
The bamboo plant by nature is highly invasive. Although this has to do with the growing stage, most people who are conscious of the environment will want to consider this. By invasive, we mean that when the plant is grown outside of its native habitat, it tends to take over and outcompete native species growing in the same area.
Bamboo fabric will shrink more than cotton fabrics, which means that special care is required when washing clothes made from this fabric. This fabric also wrinkles more when compared to others.
What to choose for your baby?
When it comes to your baby and choosing clothes for them, always remember that a baby’s skin is susceptible. It is also more porous than an adult’s skin, leading to the fast absorption of anything present in fabrics used to make your baby’s clothing. As a parent who only wants the best for your baby, the natural inclination is towards chemical-free clothes and as natural as possible and will mimic the skin.
Both clothes made from bamboo fabric and cotton offer solid cases for superiority. Both are extremely breathable, keeping your baby dry and cool in the summer months while providing adequate warmth in the winters. Bamboo has the additional benefit of being thermo-regulating. When buying bamboo fabrics, make sure they are organic and not chemically processed.
Cotton fabric happens to be the most popular choice in terms of baby apparel. The textiles made from cotton is soft and highly absorbent, and it is very gentle against a baby’s skin. In addition, organic cotton fabric is an excellent choice for babies since it is grown in a chemical-pesticide- and fertilizer-free process.
Look for GOTS certified organic textiles when looking for cotton clothes. These will have a GOTS logo and license number. The GOTS logo and license number ensure that the clothes are certified, and the brands that do not have the certification are not allowed to use the logo and will not have a license number.