OEKO-Tex standards – what does this mean for bamboo textiles?

The manufacturer we source our bed sheets, quilts and pillowcases measure up to OEKO-Tex standards; the OEKO-Tex 100 certification, to be exact. Now we’ve cleared that up, you can read on to find out a little bit more about what this means in practice and why these standards matter.

You’ve no doubt heard about organic textiles, especially cotton and bamboo, but this isn’t the whole story. Organic textiles have been sourced from plants that have been grown and fertilised using organic methods – no petroleum-derived fertilisers or nasty pesticides, for example – but this isn’t where it ends. Once the plants have been harvested, there’s a lot more processing that has to happen before the material is turned into shirts and sheets; this is where OEKO-Tex assessment and certification comes in.

Although the OEKO-Tex organisation is headquartered in Switzerland, its standards and criteria are the same all over the world, wherever its standards are adopted. It’s all about how the fabrics and textiles are processed after they’ve been harvested and what dyes, softeners, treatments and finishes are involved in their production.

There are several OEKO-Tex certificates, but the OEKO-Tex 100 is the most comprehensive as it means that the fabrics have been tested by independent labs to make sure that they’re either free from or contain harmless levels of compounds and elements that are known to be harmful.

These substances include formaldehydes, asbestos, lead, cadmium, chlorinated phenols and lindane (to name but a few). 

None of our bamboo textiles manufacturers can rest on their laurels.

While the certification is entirely voluntary, a manufacturer must be tested and updated annually. In addition to this, OEKO-Tex’s criteria is reviewed and amended slightly each year so that it’s always abreast of the latest findings and advice.

The testing also looks at every way that a harmful compound can get into the body – lungs, mouth and skin. Your skin might be waterproof, but it can absorb other compounds quite easily and some of them you may prefer to avoid.

Every part of a garment is examined and tested, too, not just the bamboo itself. The zips, buttons, linings, elastic and any other fittings count too. You might wash clothes and bedding before you wear or use them for the first time, to remove protective waxes and similar compounds, but with OEKO-Tex certified items, you can be sure that these coatings aren’t harmful. 

More about organic fibres.

It’s important to look for organically-grown textiles like bamboo, as you know that they’re safer right from the get-go. There’s no point processing some bamboo to match OEKO-Tex standards if the very cells of the plants have picked up cadmium while they were growing, right? These fibres and textiles must meet stringent standards to be called organic before they even get to the factory! 

From seedling to sewing.

Most of the manufacturers that produce for Eastwind Textiles use only organic bamboo. Likewise, we try to only use suppliers whom maintain OEKO-Tex certification. While the two sets of certifications are different, they work together to provide our consumers with plant-based fabrics that are safe from seedling to sewing making our bamboo sheets ideal for your home.