The concept of clean living involves a lot more than just the food we eat. Harmful chemicals can be anywhere — in our skincare products, in the clothes we wear, and even in our bed sheets. That’s why it’s important to apply the same rigorous standards we have for our food and cosmetics when choosing bed sheets.
Sleeping in organic sheets could make the difference between a healthy night’s sleep and spending a restless night. Conventional bedding may make your skin feel itchy or cause other dermatological issues in the long run, because the materials are often treated with toxic agents. Organic bedding, on the other hand, is not bleached or dyed with synthetic inks and is a much safer option. It’s also stronger, and will last much longer because it doesn’t endure chemical processes that weaken its fibers. Buying organic bed sheets also encourages ethical production practices, social sustainability and worker welfare.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about buying organic bed sheets produced with your health (and the planet’s) in mind.
What is Organic Bedding?
When manufacturers label their bedding as “organic,” this usually refers to how they grow their crops (most often, that’s cotton). It also points to how they process the material post-harvest, how they manufacture the end product and how they treat their employees.
While conventional cotton is undoubtedly a healthier bedding choice compared to synthetic fibers, not all cotton bedding is created equal. This is where choosing organic cotton bedding over regular bed sheets makes all the difference.
In some situations, bed linen fabric can be dyed using heavy metals or toxic inks or bleaches, and then treated with formaldehyde resin to achieve a “wrinkle-free” look. These are all harmful actions for both you and the environment. Organic bedding doesn’t suffer exposure to these additives.
Organic crops such as cotton, flax and bamboo are grown and harvested in unique, planet-friendly ways. Certain countries also enforce regulations stating that materials for home textiles can only be grown from non-GMO. Once in the soil, these seeds are never exposed to pesticides, toxic chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. Conventional cotton production, by comparison, is highly chemical-intensive, which impacts the quality of the end product and, most importantly, is incredibly damaging to the air, water, soil, wildlife and even human health.
So is organic bedding worth it? Absolutely. For example, by purchasing an organic duvet, you are investing in your health and making an environmentally conscious choice that supports an entire industry.
What Should You Be Looking for When Shopping for Organic Bedding?
Organic bed linen isn’t just a good investment because it delivers a 5-star luxury experience. It’s also a healthier choice that ensures your body can get all the rest it needs without unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals. Here are all the factors that matter when you’re choosing your next organic sheet set.
Nowadays, the best organic bedding is made from cotton, hemp, and flax. High-quality flax is grown in Europe, and is used to manufacture linen bedding. This type of organic bed linen is lightweight, breathable and perfect for summer sleeping.
Hemp is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. Best of all, it controls your body temperature by keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Many manufacturers blend hemp with cotton because hemp alone is quite pricey.
Cotton is one of the most widely produced crops in the world. Organic cotton sheets are incredibly soft, durable and are available at many price points and in several weaves that create materials of different textures and looks.
Safe Production Practices
Look for sheets that have been dyed with natural dyes and aren’t processed with harsh chemicals (to add features such as wrinkle resistance). Organically grown cotton is also cleaned with vegetable-based soap instead of toxic cleaning products. People with skin conditions and sensitive skin may experience rashes and worsening of symptoms from poisonous chemicals used during these treatments.
If you have a baby or a small child at home, it’s crucial to choose baby bedding that wasn’t processed with toxic chemicals or artificial colorants, as these can affect developing bodies more severely.
While buying organic products has many benefits, sometimes it can be hard to know if the item you are buying is genuinely organic. That’s because some manufacturers label their products as “organic” even though they haven’t been produced using accepted organic practices. And since different countries have different regulations for manufacturing home textiles, what’s considered “organic” in one country may not be so in another. That’s why looking for products with reputable international certifications is essential. These certifications are issued by independent global organizations that regularly test textile products.
Labels such as Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (or Made in Green by Oeko-Tex) and GOTS guarantee that the organic mattress you’re bringing home was produced in a safe, sustainable and socially conscious manner, from organic fibers. You can also rest assured that the mattress doesn’t contain any toxic substances that may endanger your health or that of your family members.
You can learn more about the value in buying Oeko-Tex bedding in our What is Oeko-Tex? Learn More About This Texible Certification guide.
Why You Should Buy Organic Bedding for Children
There’s nothing more important than the health and well-being of your children, so taking a chance on their bedding is probably not something you’d want to do. Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable because their skin is susceptible to artificial and chemical substances. So if you’re worried about unsafe materials and potentially harmful agents in their bedding, invest in organic baby bedding for them.
Exposure to pesticides and herbicides used in farming conventional cotton has been linked to various serious diseases, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and impaired memory. Formaldehyde, a chemical that some manufacturers add to achieve a wrinkle-free look, is a carcinogen and can lead to skin problems. Flame retardants, sprayed onto bedding and mattresses, have been linked to respiratory issues. And finally, phthalates, often used in dyes and inks, may cause attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, neurodevelopmental problems and autism spectrum disorders, among other things.
On the other hand, high-quality organic cotton bedding is hypoallergenic and is made without any harmful chemicals. So you can rest assured it is indeed the safest and most environmentally friendly option on the market. One way to ensure your little one’s health is to purchase bedding sets that carry both the organic and Oeko-Tex certified labels.
Benefits of Organic Bedding for Adults
There are several benefits of switching to organic bedding, both for your health and the environment.
First, organic farming is GMO-free, and uses rainwater instead of extracting water from the ground, which can deplete resources. Hazardous chemicals are never used when growing organic crops. That means the farming process doesn’t produce harmful chemicals that can contaminate the soil, water or air. By investing in the best organic bedding, you also support and encourage farmers to continue growing crops using environmentally friendly methods.
Organic cotton is naturally soft, so the bedding produced from it is also incredibly soft to the touch, without the need for softening chemicals.
And speaking of the production stage, organic bedding isn’t treated with additional toxic chemicals such as heavy metals or aromatic solvents to make it wrinkle-free, extra soft or look or smell a certain way.
That means when you go to bed at night, your chance of experiencing an allergic reaction or skin rash is greatly reduced. When you sleep on an organic pillow or organic sham, you’re also less likely to develop respiratory issues over time.
Benefits of Buying Organic Bedding with Oeko-Tex Certification
Because of the lack of international regulations or uniform requirements for labeling textiles as organic, it can be challenging to know if the bedding you’re buying is indeed organic. This is where Oeko-Tex labels come in handy.
The International Oeko-Tex Association was established in March 1992 in Switzerland, to create a benchmark for organic bedding. The following month, it introduced its first Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, the most reliable and trusted label for textile products, including bedding.
Today, to display the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label on their bedlinen, manufacturers must ensure that all the components and materials they use comply with about 100 strict parameters set by the association. In addition, products have to pass regular quality audits in an Oeko-Tex testing laboratory.
Oeko-Tex updates its list of toxic chemicals and criteria every year to stay up-to-date with current production practices and scientific information. Manufacturers also need to apply each year to have their certifications renewed. The organization takes into consideration both regulated and non-regulated substances that could be harmful to human health. Each certificate is given a unique number that consumers can verify online to ensure its validity.
Because Oeko-Tex is based on uniform measurable standards and hard scientific data, it’s the most trustworthy certificate that guarantees “clean” bedding, regardless of the part of the world where it was made.
In addition, Oeko-Tex classifies products into four different categories depending on their intended use. Product class number one consists of articles for babies up to three years old. It includes the most strictly regulated and rigorously tested products.
Product class number two includes products with direct skin contact — think blouses, underwear and mattresses, while class three encompasses items that have minimal or no skin contact such as jackets or belts. (Class four is for decoration and furniture materials.)
So when you buy Oeko-Tex certified organic bed linen for you and your children, you can be absolutely certain it’s the cleanest and safest option on the market.
Types of Organic Bedding
There’s an incredible variety of organic bed linen and bedding products to choose from today.
Organic mattresses, for example, are naturally fire retardant, chemical-free, antibacterial and mold-resistant. They’re made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials, and they also repel dust mites.
Next up, organic cotton bedding is an excellent choice that offers its own range of selections. If you’re a hot sleeper, opt for cool percale sheets. Organic linen bedding is an inviting option for those who live in warmer climates, since the material is breathable and doesn’t trap heat. Sateen is a great year-round choice that delivers an attractive, shiny appearance. If you’d like to read more about the different types of bedding textiles, read our post: Fabric & Bedding Materials Guide.
You can easily find bedding for your baby or older child that’s 100% organic, too. Invest in fitted sheets for their cribs or beds, pillows, shams and duvets. Making sure your little one sleeps in a bed styled in organic bedding will ensure their long-term safety and sound sleep throughout the night.
And finally, there are plenty of top-of-bedding and bedding insert options made from organic cotton.
You can even add organic throw pillows to your sofa if you spend a lot of time lounging or taking naps there. The more organic home textiles you incorporate into your home, the safer it is, and the less your family is exposed to harmful chemicals.
Where to Shop for High-Quality Organic Oeko-Tex Certified Bedlinen?
Some manufacturers use the “organic” label a bit too freely, but to be completely confident of the quality of what you’re buying, consider items that are both organic and Oeko-Tex certified.
All the bedding you’ll find at Parachute is made in family-owned factories in Europe, from the highest-quality Egyptian cotton. No synthetics, pesticides, or artificial colorants are ever used during the production process.
Our bed linen, bedding inserts and The Mattress exceed Oeko-Tex standards and are compliant with the European Union’s REACH protocol, which regulates the use of harmful substances to protect human health and the environment.
We’ve also thought deeply about the health of your little ones. You can shop a beautiful selection of baby bedding made from organic cotton and breezy linen. From a fitted sheet for your child’s mattress to a lightweight quilt and pillow, you can stock up on all the basics for their bed, and feel confident that your little one will sleep peacefully in organic, Oeko-Tex certified bedding that is safe and chemical-free.
Interested in more inspiration for your bedroom? Get more bedroom decor and bedding fabric tips here for you and your family: