Organic cotton material is produced from the fibers that surround the seeds of the cotton plant.
A field where organic cotton is being grown must have been pesticide free for three years before any plants grown in it can be considered organic.
It is a five month process from when the cotton is planted to when the fibers can be harvested. As the plant grows flowerbuds begin to emerge. Once the plant has reached a certain stage in maturity the buds will open into flower.
The petals will fall off and the fibers will grow around the seed. This becomes what is known as a "cotton boll."
Because no chemical sprays are used for weeds or pests organic cotton farmers must employ natural processes. Other "good" insects are used in order to keep pest insects in check. Weeding is done by hand.
When ready the cotton bolls are harvested, either with a machine or by hand. The seeds are removed and the remaining fiber is then baled and sent to a mill. At the mill the cotton bales are "carded." Carding is a process where the clumps of fiber are pulled in one direction in order to string them out. This results in long strands that are parallel to each other.
The cotton is then twisted into even thinner strands and fed
into a machine which cleans and straightens it even more.
The fibers are washed without using the artifical chemicals that conventional cotton manufacturers use. Organic cotton is washed with chemicals, but these are only natural chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, which occur naturally in living organisms.
Organic carded cotton can be used directly as organic cotton fill for pillows and mattresses.
The rest of the fibers are then finished and ready to be made into organic cotton material and fabric. This can then be used for the outer fabric on mattresses, pillows and comforters or for organic cotton sheets and bedding, pillow cases or even clothing.