Washing Instructions Label

Tips to help you learn how to read clothing labels – How to find sustainable, eco friendly garments

Do you get confused by some of the content listed on clothing tags and care labels? Just like food labels, there is so much to look for when reading clothing labels and tags. Similar to food labeling, there is required content that has to be listed on garment labels; of which can be quite confusing if you are not familiar with the labeling requirements. In this blog, I will discuss standard items you will see on labels along with what you should look for when looking for sustainable garments and natural fibered clothes.

To start, when reading the care label attached to a garment you will see the fabric content, garment size, wash/care instructions and then you will also see where the garment is made, who makes it, and possibly an RN# (also known as the maker or importer’s number) which is another way to track the garment to the business of the manufacturer, importer, distributor, or seller of the garment. You may also see all of this information written in multiple languages.

If you are looking for a more eco conscious garment, the main things to pay attention to on the care label would be the fabric content and where the garment was made. Look for fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton, linen, wool, silk, bamboo, tencel, modal, and (organic) soy; all of which are organic or natural fibers that are more sustainable for our environment and better for our health to wear.

Washing Instructions Label

Fibers such as Linen, Tencel and Modal are not clear what they are made from so you may not know that the garment is made from natural material when in fact it is.  Fibers such as Linen (made from flax), Tencel (made from eucalyptus trees) or Modal (made from beechwood trees) are all respectively fabrics made from these natural resources.

All of these fabrics are a healthier option than their synthetic fibered counterparts such as polyester, and nylon which are all chemically derived.

Another fabric that you may now see listed on a lot of “eco-friendly” garments is recycled polyester. Recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic which may be better for the environment than regular polyester but from a health aspect, wearing polyester is not the best fiber for the health of the skin. Polyester is not a breathable fiber as compared to natural fibered clothes. It tends to trap our skin from its natural detoxification process and hold in heat to the body rather than regulating its normal and preferred temperature.

Beyond fabric content, where the garment is made is an important factor when looking for an eco friendly, sustainable, and pure fibered apparel. The textile and manufacturing regulations are much different from country to country. In places abroad such as China, restrictions of how many parts per million of chemicals, formaldehyde, heavy metals, etc are much more lenient than we have here in the States. Additionally, areas such as Bangladesh are notorious for unhealthy work conditions and unjust wages.

When shopping for a new garment, it is important to not just pay attention to the labels, but to do your research before you buy. Do you like the company’s message? Are the garments manufactured according to the standards that you would like? Is it a quality made garment that you will get your wear out of?

Read the garment hang tag and packaging information or go to the company’s website to learn more before you choose to buy. Knowledge is power and supporting products that resonate with you and contribute to your greater health and the health of the environment will make a big difference.

Note from the Author:

There are so many brands and products to choose from. We are inundated with so many options that it can be overwhelming. It helps to narrow down the selections by becoming an informed consumer before you buy. Learn about the product; where it is made, what it is made from, research the company that made it, etc. to be more connected to the merchandise you purchase and feel good about the companies you support. Vote with your dollars!

Disclaimer:
The information provided and expressed herein is general information relating to health and is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.  Ohganix.com and Hippocrates Health Institute is not responsible for content written on this site or from contributing authors and makes no claims to diagnose, treat, prevent, alleviate, or cure any ailments, conditions, or diseases with any advice or products(s).  The information provided in the site content has not been evaluated by the United States Food & Drug Administration or any other administration and is not a substitute for nor should it be misconstrued as medical or professional advice of any kind.  Please consult a qualified healthcare professional for a proper consultation and/or diagnosis of any health concerns you may have.  Ohganix takes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material, as the consequent responsibility for your choices and the effects they have on your health are ultimately yours.

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Plastic Bottles

Why We Do Not Use Recycled Polyester in our Clothing

 

Finding new and innovative ways to recycle all things that are doomed for a landfill is really great, however, turning plastics into a new t-shirt is one of the worst inventions yet. Here’s why…

To make a plastic bottle it takes a significant amount of unsustainable resources including petrochemicals (yes petroleum) and natural gas. Then you mix these resources with thousands of other harmful chemicals and you have a noxious concoction that sounds like it could do more damage than a nuclear bomb. Which, essentially these chemicals are just that, a ticking time bomb on one’s health and the health of our environment.

Were you surprised when I said there are THOUSANDS of chemicals used to make a plastic bottle? This is truly alarming and in fact, a study out of Germany had found that over 24,000 chemicals were found in drinking water that came from plastic bottles.

Over 24,000 chemicals is a very alarming number and although most people are not aware of all of the exact chemicals that plastic bottles and plastic containers are made up of they are at least aware of a couple of the top chemicals they should avoid in plastics such as BPA and phthalates.

As people’s consciousness heighten around these topics they are being more aware of the ingredients in their body care products, cosmetics, detergents, household products, etc. They correlate the chemical ingredients that can be found in these products and how they can affect the skin and absorb into the body. Being that our skin is the largest organ of our body and absorbs over 60% of whatever we put on it, we should be aware of all things that we come in contact with, apply to our skin, and that are in our environment. Plastic Bottles

As we recognize this, we must expand this consciousness to our clothing and the effects that chemicals in our clothing can have on one’s health. If you purchase an item made from recycled polyester, do you ask if it is made from BPA and phthalate free plastics? No, people do not seem to concern themselves with this; although, the BPA and phthalates are the least of our worries, along with the thousands of other chemicals that these fibers may contain: from petroleum, to heavy metals in dyes, toxic whitening agents, and more.

This whole process is chemical based. It takes thousands of chemicals to make plastics, thousands of chemicals to break down the plastics, thousands of chemicals to remake the plastics into the polyester fibers, and then more chemicals added to the fibers to finish the fabric such as the dyes, whitening agents, and chemical laden finishing agents.

These chemicals in our clothing can then leach and off-gas onto our skin where they get directly absorbed through our pores. Once absorbed, these chemicals get into our bloodstream, tissues and our cells; affecting our body and bodies systems with a myriad of problems. Problems such as skin and other cancers, rashes, respiratory infections, endocrine and neurological disorders, and more.

We could go more into how the chemicals in our clothing can affect our health, but we have several other blogs that discuss this. The main purpose of this blog is to share our stance on this new movement of clothing made with recycled polyester chemical waste in the  “Eco” marketplace and how we should really think twice when purchasing any garments made with recycled polyester, recycled bottles or recycled waste. The recycled polyester clothing industry may have saved a few plastic bottles and some trash from our landfills, but guaranteed that if the tossed plastics are not being used to make fabric, they will be used for something else that can be a more sustainable solution for our future such as turning them back into petroleum to power our cars, heat our homes, and more! Technologies like this is already exist and are what we would recommend the tossed plastics get used for.

Moreover, knowing that our waste can easily be recycled, does this cause us as consumers to feel okay with our rapid consumption with the thought that our trashed plastics may be recycled when thrown away? If we know that our trash will be reused will that cause us to not be as conscious about what we purchase and throw away? We must keep in mind that there is still a huge environmental impact to initially create the product that we toss and then again to recycle it into something new. Recycled plastic requires a lot of water and energy to MANUFACTUREfacture and the production releases toxins into our water systems and emits a lot of pollutants into the air.

Additionally, garments that were once recycled from plastics and waste and then bought at such a rapid pace in our fast fashion world will more than likely end up in landfills in a short amount of time after they were purchased. According to Care2.com, the average American throws away about 65 pounds of clothing per year! Of which, those made up of recycled polyester (polyester or synthetic fabrics) will then remain in the landfills indefinitely as non-biodegradable waste or they may become incinerated, leaching the harmful chemicals in which they were made into our ozone and environment causing irreparable harm.

Instead, opt for clothing made from all natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, silk, wool, etc. Preferably from organic crops and ethically treated animals. These fabrics have a significantly less impact on our environment, are much better for our health if processed in an organic manner. Also, the quality of these items mean they will last longer in your wardrobe and then biodegrade once they have been worn through and are ready to retire.

—– Please help us to spread the word to use recycled plastics and chemical wastes for something more sustainable by sharing this article on your social networks! Thank you for caring and for wanting to make a change!

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” ~Mahatma Gandhi

References:

http://www.hangthebankers.com/bottled-water-found-to-contain-over-24000-toxic-chemicals/

http://fashionbi.com/newspaper/the-health-risks-of-toxic-fibers-and-fabrics

http://www.care2.com/causes/how-many-clothes-do-you-throw-away-every-year.html#ixzz3gYxOJaqK

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Benefits of Organic Clothing

Buying organic clothing is much better for your health and the health of your loved ones.  In addition to receiving immediate benefit by reducing your exposure to toxins, you also reduce the exposure for future generations.

Your health is important. So is the health of your loved ones and the health of future generations. When you wear organic clothing it helps protect you and your loved ones against the harmful chemicals used to create the clothing products.  Whether the clothing is cotton or a man-made fiber, if it isn’t certified organic (or made from a fiber that has been grown naturally in the forest) you can bet that chemicals were used in the process.