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To Iron or Not to Iron? Organic Cotton Bed Linen

Posted by Sonja - Shift to Nature on


This is the question that our great grandmothers couldn't have conceived of asking, as their high quality linens and clothes needed to be ironed and starched – in fact the industry of clothes cleaning has grown exponentially along with the fashion industry and has led to many women being able to free up their time to work and study. Washing machines, cleaning powders, spray starch, irons, dryers, dry-cleaners – not to forget the laundromat where many a pick up line has been dropped.

Now No-Iron clothes – how do our clothes get wrinkle free? And what are the risks?

Clothes made of Synthetic fibres are made from synthesized polymers. The compounds that are used to make these fibers come from raw materials such as petroleum based chemicals or petrochemicals. They may not wrinkle, but they may catch on fire or melt in hot washes. They won’t be comfortable on the skin and will likely irritate sensitive skin, because the skin becomes hot and cant breathe underneath the fabric.

OK so what about wrinkle-prone fabrics, say cotton for example. To give cotton clothes the “No-Iron” label they are soaked in resin containing Formaldehyde, and so apparently they gain added strength and increased resistance to wrinkling. Yes, it is an embalming agent, used in biology labs to embalm animals in jars (apologies for the visual image) – so basically our clothes are Embalmed before they arrive in your favorite boutique.

Both manufacturing companies and governmental regulation agencies claim that formaldehyde is non-toxic in small quantities, however it is also listed as a known human carcinogen. According to a post on the David Suzuki Foundation website: Formaldehyde is known to emit fumes from products and can be inhaled—most of the cancer research on formaldehyde has focused on risks from inhalation—avoid it.

And does it really make clothes and bed linens last longer, Apparently Not! Retailers warn that due to chemicals changing the molecular structure of the cotton shirt, the fabric becomes more brittle. This means the life expectancy of your husband’s no-iron shirt or your new no-iron bed linen may be cut by 25 per cent.

So mind your fingers, but crank up the volume on your stereo as you get reacquainted with the joys of Ironing. Wash all clothes and linen before using them. And where possible buy GOTS Certified Organic Cotton and sustainable certified textiles.

Or like us just go for the Just Woke-Up Wrinkled Bed Look in Shift to Nature Organic Cotton Bed Linen – Creme Striped Quilt Cover and Pillowcases in Single, Queen & King Sizes (prices start at AUD $149.95).