That little ‘100% cotton’ label on a garment can mean different things to different people. For some of us, it’s a guarantee of a natural fabric while others see it as a sign of quality. Did you know, though, that the humble cotton plant is a bit of an unsung hero? Here are some of the benefits of this amazing fabric.
A brief history of cotton
We’ve had to keep this history ‘brief’ as otherwise this blog would run to several hundred pages! There are records of cotton being cultivated in South America as far back as 4,500BC. Large-scale production proved difficult, so cotton was regarded as a luxury fabric. It was first imported to Britain in the 16th century and, thanks to new manufacturing methods, we quickly became a world leader in the production of cotton fabric. Now, the top spot has been taken by China which produces over 6,000 metric tons of cotton a year.
Cotton – a sustainable choice
A huge benefit of this versatile cloth is that it’s much more sustainable than artificial fabrics. It requires no chemicals or crude oil in its production; it’s easy to recycle and fully biodegradable. In addition, unlike synthetic fabrics it releases no micro-plastics (tiny little shreds of plastic, which are harmful to aquatic life) into watercourses.
Modern farming methods have meant advances in sustainability, too. For example, most of the cotton in the USA, the world’s third-largest producer, is grown using only rainwater. Today’s cotton industry has found inventive ways to process and use the entire cotton plant, not just the fluffy boll. The seeds and stem are now used to make everything from cattle feed to soap, so there’s very little wastage.
Other benefits of cotton
It’s not just the environmental benefits, either. For centuries cotton has been popular because it’s durable, easy to dye and washes well – and we’re still enjoying those benefits today.
It’s also great for temperate control. Synthetic fabrics don’t allow moisture to evaporate, so on hotter days you’ll soon be feeling damp and clammy. Natural fabrics like cotton allow your skin to breathe for a much more comfortable experience. That’s particularly important at night, as feeling too hot can make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep! Selecting crisp cotton for your nightwear is the smart choice and means you’ll be feeling comfortable all night through – just take a look at our range of pure cotton nightgowns and pyjamas for ideas.