The Process to Make These Organic Cotton Sheets
The cotton used is grown organically. This means that the seeds must be non-genetically engineered; insects are controlled by methods that simulate what occurs in the natural environment, where "good" bugs eat "bad" bugs. There is also be an emphasis on keeping plants healthy- healthy plants are more resistant to infestation-fields are usually weeded by hand. Organic farms are not allowed to use any chemical fertilizers or chemical inputs, such as herbicides or other pesticides. These standards are set forth by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
The organic cotton for our organic cotton sheets and duvets are grown in three developing countries-India, Turkey, and Uganda on family farms that range in size from 2 to 250 acres. Purchasing cotton at a better price per pound, we help support local and economically sustainable production.
After the cotton has been picked, it is ginned to removes the seeds from the cotton fiber (lint).
The lint is then baled and sent to the mill where it is spun into yarn, which is then woven into fabric. It is a state-of-the-art facility with computerized looms and the best spinning equipment available. Just as important, the facility is ISO (International Standards Organization) 9002 certified-which speaks well for both the quality of production and its labor and environmental practices.
At the mill, the cotton is carded so that the fibers are aligned. It also separates out the longest and strongest fibers from the weaker, shorter fibers.
The carded cotton is then ring spun into yarn. This process makes it softer.
Next, the yarn is woven into fabric. To do so it is immersed in a wheat-starch solution, a sizing, which both strengthens the yarn and makes it easier to weave.
From here, the ecofinishing process begins. Finishing removes the wheat-starch sizing, cleans, softens, and then pre-shrinks the fabric so it feels and looks "finished." Some of the fabric is put through a hydrogen peroxide bleaching process to whiten it. Up until this point neither our cotton fiber, yarn, or fabric has come into contact with any chemicals. A number of chemicals are used in the various steps of finishing, only chemicals that are approved by certifying organizations, both in the US and Europe are used.
- Pre-shrinking itself is a wholly non-chemical process that involves pulling and stretching the fabric using rubber pads and steam. Pre-shrinking molds the fabric to its final measurements.
- All the chemicals used in
this process are water-soluble.
- An Amylase enzyme removes the wheat starch sizing.
- Two detergents, one an anionic surfactant and the other a fast wetting agent, clean the fabric.
- A defoamer controls the sudzing of the detergents
- A soy lecithin is used to soften the sheets at the end of the process.
- Whitened fabrics are also treated with Sodium silicate. A sequestering agent and Ph stabilizer that aids the bleaching process. Caustic soda removes the natural wax from the yarn and activates the peroxide.
- A non-ionic surfactant acts as a cleaning agent and silicate dispersant.
- Bleach (hydrogen peroxide) whitens the fabric.