Don’t you love the feel of luxurious, super-soft cotton baby clothes? The touch of super soft cotton while cuddling your baby is comforting for both parent and baby; it feels the best! Today, I would like to share with you some insight on
Why are some cotton baby clothes softer than others? Well, to create super-soft cotton baby clothes, you will need high-quality cotton to start with. The variety of ad quality of the cotton will directly influence the quality and softness of the baby clothes. Reserving the purity of the fibres during the harvest is essential to creating cuddly, soft cotton baby clothes.
Most cotton baby clothes are relatively soft to the touch, but there is a significant difference between the quality and softness of baby clothes you can purchase.
You may agree that the softer, the better regarding the comfort of our little people and their sensitive baby skin.
What cotton will make the real deal of most SOFT cotton baby clothes for your little person?
What is E.L.S. cotton (Extra Long Staple)?
The length of the fibre significantly influences how soft baby clothes will be. The most commonly used Cotton is Upland cotton, also called Gossypium hirsutum. Upland cotton provides 90% of the cotton supply, meeting the global need for cotton.
This cotton fibre is approximately 25 millimetres long; on the other hand, fibres of extra-long-staple cotton have a length of 34 to 44 millimetres. Varieties of extra-long-staple Cotton include Egyptian Cotton, Pima cotton and Sea Island cotton.
These three varieties of cotton are also called Gossypium barbadense. This variety of cotton produces unusually long silky fibres, perfect for making soft baby clothing. The fibres’ length differs slightly per the individual type, and the Egyptian cotton fibres are somewhat longer than the other two; however, the differences are minor, and all trees are extra-long-staple cotton.
However, the Gossypium Barbadense originates from Northwest Peru and South-West Ecuador; we now see this variety of cotton growing worldwide. Nevertheless, the plant needs full sun to thrive, and the environment in which the plant is situated will directly influence the quality of cotton it produces.
Extra long-staple Cotton like Egyptian, Sea Island and Pima Cotton is more expensive than regular cotton. However, the long fibres will give you a more durable, high-quality product and luxuriously soft cotton baby clothes. Knowing how the cotton is harvested is essential as this will directly influence the garments’ softness.
‘You can tell a garment is made from high-quality extra-long-staple cotton by the luxuriously feel and the way the fabric won’t Tear wrinkle, fade or pill.’
Hand-picked cotton versus machine-picked cotton
The staple length will affect the softness and quality of the baby clothes, but how the cotton is harvested also plays a significant role in this. Hand-picking is a time-effective job and is non-existent in the U.S. nowadays.
While in America, cotton is all harvested with machinery now, and hand-picked cotton has become rarer, there are still countries that manually harvest their cotton crop. The benefit of machine picking is that it saves significant amounts of time. However, there is a downside to using machinery as the machinery used is not as gentle as a person picking and selecting the cotton by hand, ensuring the long fibres are not getting damaged.
Issues with machine-picked cotton
Machinery pulls the cotton off the plant, which damages the fibres’ purity and mixes mature long fibres with immature short fibres. Damaged shorter fibres will decrease the quality of your potential soft cotton baby clothes. De-broken fibres will make a less durable fabric and will never be as smooth as hand-picked pure cotton baby clothes.
The other issue with machine picking is the potential contamination of cotton. The machine used for picking the cotton can leak oils and grease into the cotton, and plastic and dirt in the fields and other parts of the plant can possibly get mixed in with the pure cotton and potentially contaminate the harvest.
However, hand-picked cotton has significant benefits compared to machine-picked cotton; there are issues with this way of harvesting. In the old days, when cotton was picked by hand in the U.S., there were issues with forced and child labour in the industry to complete this time-consuming job. However, America has replaced hand-picking cotton with machine picking, and forced and child labour is still an issue in some other countries that still harvest their cotton by hand.
What can we do to encourage fair-paid work in the cotton industry?
There are a few things you can do to encourage the improvement of these unethical work ethics. You can purchase from brands that produce a transparent supply chain, showing their effort to maintain high ethical standards across their brands and products.
Brands that value ethical standards do everything to ensure that the products and services they use for their brands are free from forced and child labour. For Australia, you can check brands and their efforts to be socially responsible with their products here. For the U.S., you can check the ethical standards of your favourite brands here.
If you are in Australia and you want to take action to request improvement of ethical standards from your favourite brand, you can very easily voice yourself here.
What is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton makes beautiful soft cotton baby clothes and is grown without harsh synthetic chemicals. The plants are generally speaking grown in subtropical climates from non-genetically modified plants.
As no synthetic chemicals are used during organic cotton growing, it is a better choice for our environment as harsh chemicals won’t break the soil and contaminate the environment.
Organic cotton also supports the farmers and their families’ quality of life, as no toxic substances are used on these farms.
Benefits of choosing organic cotton baby clothes
‘Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, which doesn’t mean skin reactions are impossible, but the changes are reduced‘.
Pests are managed with natural chemicals, bugs, rotating crops, and catch crops. Catch crops are different crops that get situated close to the cotton crop. The pests who like to eat the cotton get distracted with a crop they like better than the cotton. Pretty clever, right?
India is the number one producer of Organic Cotton, and China is the second-largest producer of the cotton crop. In most cases, Organic Cotton is hand-picked. As mentioned before, hand-picking cotton is essential to ensure the fibres are not damaged and pure. Hand-picking the cotton minimizes the risk of contamination of the cotton as well. Ensuring cotton purity is very important for the end quality of the soft cotton baby clothes.
‘Consider choosing Certified Organic Cotton for sensitive skin as the cotton used for these garments is grown without harmful chemicals that will further reduce your chances of the skin’s reactions.‘
However, cotton is hypoallergenic and less likely to irritate the skin. Organic cotton would have an even lower chance of skin irritation as no harsh chemicals are used during crop growth. Therefore, the garments are free of harmful substances and perfect for your baby and the environment. (To ensure the quality of organic cotton, look for a brand that uses a qualifications standard like G.O.T.S
‘Did you know cotton uses a significant amount of water during the crop growth and organic cotton uses far less water during the growth, which makes it an environmentally friendlier choice‘?
Pima cotton vs. Organic Cotton?
So which cotton baby clothes would you choose? Which choice feels suitable for you and suits your budget and lifestyle? There may not be one answer to which cotton baby clothes are softer. But with the information in this article, you know now where to identify quality cotton baby clothes that will feel soft and luxurious compared to regular cotton baby clothes.
Pima cotton is extra-long-staple cotton, producing durable, luxurious baby clothes to comfort your skin. Some Pima cotton is organic, but unfortunately, this is rare and only 1% worldwide. Check labels if you want your Pima cotton to be organic.
Always read labels and descriptions to understand where the garments are made from. Especially with organic baby clothes, you can come across misleading labels where clothes are marked organic. Still, only a low percentage of organic material is used in the clothing.
For quality Organic baby clothes, look for certification to ensure the garments’ quality and ethical standards. One of the certified organic brands across all their products is Finn+Emma.
What are G.O.T.S.-certified baby clothes?
‘The world-leading organic cotton industry standard is G.O.T.S., which stands for Global Organic Textile Standards’.
Brands can only carry the G.O.T.S. logo if they meet the high eco-friendly and ethically responsible standards. If the baby clothes you purchase are G.O.T.S. approved, you can be assured the clothes are eco-friendly, and the brand has a transparent production chain where they do everything they can to eliminate child and forced labour.
G.O.T.S ensures that workers get paid a fair, livable wage for their work, and the work environment is also safe. G.O.T.S certification ensures your product follows high eco-friendly and socially responsible standards.
‘Both Pima cotton and Organic baby clothes can be super soft, but significant quality differences are possible for various reasons. Learn about the brand and products you purchase better to understand the brand’s values and quality.’
Things to remember when finding good-quality cotton
So there you go. The competition for the softest cotton baby clothes can go either way. It will depend on the Pima or organic cotton quality used to make your garments. Also, the cotton plant’s environment will directly influence the end product you buy in the shop. A thriving cotton plant will produce higher quality cotton clothes; sometimes, it can be hard to find where the cotton has grown from the product you purchase.
‘All Cotton grown in Egypt can be called Egyptian cotton, and you would expect to purchase high quality and luxurious products when labelled Egyptian cotton. The best Egyptian cotton is grown near the Nile, where the soil conditions are rich and nutritious and perfect for thriving the cotton plant’.
A final thought on finding high-quality and soft cotton baby clothes
‘The picking of the cotton is an essential part of the process, and we can expect that high-quality cotton is hand-picked as this will ensure the purity and quality of the product. Pure fibres are required to make substantial, durable, soft baby clothes that won’t pill, fade, or wrinkle-free.
If you are after Organic Pima cotton, this is even rarer than regular extra-long-staple cotton, and it might be a challenge to find.
Regular organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified cotton plants, and harsh chemicals are not used. They might be an excellent alternative to organic Pima cotton and a great choice for super soft organic baby clothes.
I hope this article was helpful to you. Please comment below if you have any feedback on soft cotton baby clothes.
Thank you for reading.
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