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How to Identify Organic Cotton Fabric


There are a lot of brands selling organic cotton fabric baby clothes but how can you tell if the clothes you’re buying are actually organic?

Made in organic cotton

If a brand just states their clothing is organic you can’t tell if the fabric is organic cotton fabric or conventional cotton fabric.

Made in GOTS certified organic cotton

More often than not this claim refers to cotton made in a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified mill, but GOTS is so much more than that. Just because a mill is certified it doesn’t mean that it only produces organic cotton fabric. It’s important to know the right cotton quality is sent on to the next production facility.

So what’s the big deal about GOTS that so many brands claim to be using it?

GOTS is the highest accreditation for organic clothing. So when a brand states it is using GOTS certified organic cotton it adds value and credibility. But it’s an all too common claim, dig a little deeper and you might be surprised.

It’s not enough for a brand to state they use GOTS certified organic cotton. The real benefit comes when the whole supply chain is certified by GOTS. That’s the mill where the fabric is made. The dyehouse where the fabric is dyed. The factory that prints the fabric. The factory where the clothes are produced.

If the whole supply chain is certified a Transaction Certificate from one production facility to the next is issued by GOTS. The certificate confirms the amount of organic cotton being transferred. This Chain of Custody of the organic cotton will apply along the certified supply chain.

The Global Organic Textile Standard makes it easier to identify organic cotton fabric because certified brands can add the GOTS logo on their clothing.

GOTS logo verifying organic cotton fabric

The best baby clothing brands will be certified by GOTS. The logo signifies

  • A controlled supply chain.
  • Fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals harmful to human health avoided during the growing of the cotton and the manufacturing of the clothes.
  • Clothes made with certified organic cotton.
  • Clothes produced using environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.

No question who made your clothes when they carry the GOTS logo. The supply chain is visible from field to final garment.

The limitations

A minimum amount of 70% organic cotton must be in a garment for it to carry the GOTS logo. It’s also difficult to ensure all sections of the supply chain are certified. Some brands ensure that the supply chain is certified up as far as the factory making their clothes. But the brand themselves are not certified, so the clothing they sell cannot carry the GOTS logo.

Green Claims Code

The good news is the UK government introduced a Green Claims Code in September 2021 which gives guidance on how brands and retailers should make claims. This has encouraged brands to look at their product claims and offer better information to their customers.