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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Is Your Organic Cotton Fair Trade?

fairtradeFair trade and Organic, two words that one would think should go hand-in-hand. This is not always the case; that is why it’s important to know not only whether or not your cotton is organic but also where it is coming from as well. There are certain symbols and labels that can be associated with both fair trade and organic. If your cotton is already organic why should it also be fair trade?  Fair trade products like some organic cottons ensure that farmers are in safe working conditions, and being compensated a fair wage, while getting paid premiums for healthcare, finance programs, and women’s empowerment programs. They also are kept to an international environmental standard, with other financial incentives that help them with organic conversion, water, and reforestation in many areas if need be.
Organic Cotton Fairtrade

 

 

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There are currently 20 countries around the world producing organic cotton. Out of those 20 countries, there are 52 farms that have all organic certifications. Out of those 52 farms, only 7 of them have all of the organic certifications and are also fair trade according to the Textile Exchange map (http://textileexchange.org/). That means that only 7 farmers are guaranteed fair wages, a safe working environment, and for some even good healthcare. There are however 14 farms in conversion to becoming organic and we should encourage them to be fair trade as well. There is a saying in the industry that the supply must meet the demand. So if you as consumers not only demand that your cotton and other goods be organic, but also fair trade, before you know it we will not need to use the words organic or fair trade, because it will just be a normal standard. Only you as consumers can help make the world a better place. The supply must always meet the demand!

Research:

http://textileexchange.org/

http://www.motherearthnews.com/

~ Organic Cotton Fair Trade

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GMO Cotton Uncovered

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Monsanto and GMO foods, but companies are not only genetically modifying foods. They’re doing it to natural clothing fibers as well, to cotton especially (it is to help reduce the use of pesticides they claim). Cotton, is three times as important to make sure it stays in its natural state because, not only do we wear the fiber, but the seeds are also used as feed for animals, and oils that we use in our kitchens.