Published on March 4, 2010—  Leave a comment

Pros and Cons of Organic Clothing

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I try to buy organic when possible.  I sleep better at night knowing that the food I feed my family isn’t laced with an unknown cocktail of chemicals.  I also do my best to make sure the cleaning products I buy are safe for the environment as well as my body.  I’m a firm believer that no good can possibly come from eating or breathing in ingredients that I can’t even pronounce.  Organic food and cleaning products make clear sense to me. It can get pretty confusing, though, when I have the choice of buying an “organic” version of pretty much everything, including clothing.  What exactly makes organic so much better than normal clothing?  The obvious reason is that the fabric and dye are free of chemicals, but I was curious to know what else exactly makes it “better” for me.  I came across the following list of pros and cons (yes, surprisingly there are cons!) that I think gives a pretty good explanation!


1. Hemp, a crop that can be used to make organic clothes, is perhaps the most durable of all the natural fibers.

2. Hemp is sturdy and robust, and is capable of growing plentifully and regularly in the majority of the world’s temperate regions.

3. Hemp does not need either pesticides or excessive amounts of water, and is therefore cost-effective as well as kind to the immediate environment and also a highly renewable source.

4. Hemp plants have long roots, which aid in the prevention of soil erosion

5. Clothing made from hemp is typically highly absorbent and lightweight, and has more than thrice the tensile strength of cotton. Clothing made from hemp matches the characteristics of the plant itself and tend to be hardy and long-lasting.

6. Hemp clothing is extremely resistant to extreme weather conditions and therefore is ideally suited to making tough and durable outdoor clothing.

7. Hemp may also be blended and mixed easily with other fibers depending on what type of qualities are required from the garment, making hemp an extremely versatile clothing material.

8. Because of the fact that hemp requires so little water and does not require any chemicals or pesticides in its production or growth, it is an extremely cost-effective fiber. Absolutely nothing is wasted in the production process of hemp. It also produces more fiber per acre than trees, and is capable of renewal up to three times a year.

9. As far as organically grown cotton for use in clothing is concerned, the fact that farming methods of organic cotton use far fewer toxins put both the farmers and eventual wearers of the clothes at far less risk of any health-related issues related to toxicity. Instead of relying on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, organic cotton growers use organic manure to fertilize the crop.

10. The majority of organic cotton products are extremely soft, due to the lack of harsh chemicals, dyes and bleaches added to the fabric. They do not have the anti-wrinkle chemicals applied to conventionally produced cotton products, making them not only softer and much more comfortable to wear, but also safer, as wearers will not be breathing in the toxins from the fibers that are so close to the skin.

There are also a number of disadvantages linked with organic clothing, including cotton hemp and linen:

1. Because the organic material are not treated with anti-wrinkle chemicals in the production process, constant creasing of the worn fabrics in the same region of the garment has a tendency to break the fibers-especially at the collar and hem. This is particularly true of organic linen clothing items.

2. Organic linen also tends to be much more expensive than conventionally produced cotton.

3. Although there are certain standards relating to the manufacturing of organic clothing, not every country has laws put in to place.  As a result, a clothing item that is marked as organic might still contain a cocktail of non-organic chemicals. Chemicals and dyes may also be added in order to aid fabric and garment transportation from the main growing production areas in Asia.