Editor's note: We occasionally publish posts from Warwick team members relating to topics of interest to Warwick's clients and community. Warwick encourages all team members to engage with issues that are relevant to our work.
Have you ever washed your organic cotton towels, only to have them emerge with bleach-like yellow patches on them? As you stare in horror at the ugly spots on your once beautiful towel, you wonder what could possibly have caused this. You followed all of the care instructions properly, so what’s the explanation behind this? The answer may surprise you.
Buzzwords like ”organic” get thrown around often, but what exactly is organic cotton?
Organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified plants, and without the use of any harmful, synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides. Organic cotton fibers create a very soft and delicate product, which is more expensive than standard cotton due to its higher quality. It is because of this delicate nature that care of this fabric is so crucial.
The first step to properly caring for organic cotton is to make sure that you are using the right detergent. Organic cotton towels launder best when paired with an eco-friendly formula. Brands like Seventh Generation, Puracy, and Mrs. Meyers are a good place for the eco-conscious beginner to start. The reason that these brands are recommended is because they do not contain ingredients such as optical brighteners which, even though they do create a cleaner look on fabrics, can ruin organic cotton and do not easily biodegrade.
Now that you have the right detergent, follow the instructions on the tag exactly. Seems like a no brainer, right? You would think this would be effective enough, but there is a hidden agent out there in the war on laundry whose sole objective is to destroy your luxurious linens. What is it?
It’s benzoyl peroxide, and it is found in many acne medications and facial cleansers. Many people are not aware of this, but the transfer of these products onto organic cotton can cause those nasty, discolored patches to appear on towels after washing. To avoid this, make sure that you read the ingredient label on all face and body products and use eco-friendly detergents.
Your towels will thank you for it.