More than just white and fluffy: Everything you should know about the natural fiber cotton

More than just white and fluffy: Everything you should know about the natural fiber cotton

Cotton is one of the oldest textile fibers and is still used today in around 50% of all textiles worldwide. A large part of the OGNX collection is also made from organic cotton. But what is the difference between normal and organic cotton? In our article you will learn everything about the advantages and disadvantages of the popular natural fiber, what organic cotton is all about and why it is important to protect people and the environment.

Baumwoll Blüte

Photo by @ dietitian.mama on Unsplash

What are the pros and cons of cotton

Cotton grows in tropical and subtropical areas in over 80 countries. The world's largest producers are India, China, the USA, Brazil and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. In many developing countries, cotton is the main foreign currency source. They are often grown in remote rural regions and can help to integrate rural households into economic cycles. But the cultivation of the soft natural fiber also harbors some problems. Find out everything about the pros and cons here:


  • Natural, skin-friendly and soft
  • Elastic and particularly durable due to the high abrasion resistance
  • Very absorbent
  • Renewable raw material
  • Biodegradable


Obwohl Baumwolle viele Vorteile bietet und daher in rund 50% aller Textilien weltweit eingesetzt wird, steht der Abbau und die Verwendung der wattebauschigen Blüte aufgrund der gefährlichen Arbeitsbedingungen und der schlechten Ökobilanz immer wieder in der Kritik.

  • Pesticides and fertilization:
    Since conventional cotton is often grown in monocultures, the plants are very susceptible to pests and the soil is heavily used. A high use of pesticides should help to counteract these two problems. According to the Umweltinstitut Munich, the cotton plant is exposed to agricultural toxins an average of 20 times per season sprayed of all kinds. However, the use of chemical clubs endangers biodiversity and reduces the nutrient content of the earth. But the poison is not only very dangerous for the plants and the soil, but also for the farmers who come into direct contact with the pesticides.
  • Genetic engineering:
    In the fight against pests, according to the TransGen database, genetically modified seeds are currently used on a total of around two thirds of the world's cotton cultivation area. It is questionable whether this actually increases yields, but what is certain is that genetic manipulation destroys the ecological balance. In addition to the restriction of genetic diversity, the uncontrollable spread and the formation of resistance are favored.
  • Water consumption:
    The cotton plant is grown in sub-tropical areas because it needs a lot of light and sun. But in addition to light and sun, the cotton plant also needs a lot of water and this is particularly rare in the growing areas. Natural irrigation is usually not possible and artificial irrigation must be used.
  • Exploitation:
    The seed prices are determined by large international corporations. The genetic engineering should help the farmers to achieve higher yields. In truth, however, the genetic modification does not increase the yield, but only the farmers' dependence on the large seed corporations. Since the genetically modified plants do not reproduce themselves, the farmers have to buy new, expensive seeds every year. However, this often means the financial ruin of poor farmers.


What is the difference between cotton and organic cotton

As mentioned above, the cultivation of conventional cotton is associated with many risks for people and nature. Farmers with organic certification agree that an independent certification body checks at least once a year whether the strict regulations of organic farming are being adhered to. With this, most of the problems can be eliminated.

You can see why OGNX also uses organic cotton here:

  • No genetic manipulation:
    In organic cotton cultivation, genetic modifications of the seeds are prohibited. In this way, the natural reproduction of plants is promoted and the habitat of nearby plants and animals is protected.
  • Less water consumption:
    Although the organic cotton plants also have to be watered frequently, the consumption is significantly lower than with conventional cultivation. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the soil can store more water due to the crop rotation (changing plants) that is common in organic farming. On the other hand, stored rainwater is mainly used for irrigation on the organic cotton fields.
  • Preservation of biodiversity:
    Instead of chemical pesticides, only natural fertilizers such as manure or compost are used during cultivation. In connection with regular crop rotation, this has a positive effect on the yield of the plants and biodiversity is preserved. In contrast to conventional cultivation, the plants may only be harvested by hand and not with artificial defoliants.
  • Supporting smaller farmers:
    In organic cotton farming, farmers receive better wages. Thanks to the independence from large seed and pesticide companies, smallholder structures are also promoted in this way.

Cotton HArvest

What is GOTS and Oeko-Tex

While the "organic" certification controls the cultivation of cotton, the GOTS and Oeko-Tex seals regulate compliance with ecological and social standards during fiber processing. Quality assurance is carried out along the entire textile supply chain by an independent testing agency

  • The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is one of the best-known and most widely used eco-textile seals. The GOTS standard defines requirements that guarantee the end consumer a high level of product safety with regard to environmentally friendly and socially responsible production of textile products. Textiles must consist of 90% natural fibers (cotton, wool, etc.), of which at least 70% come from controlled organic cultivation or controlled organic animal husbandry. GOTS prohibits all particularly dangerous chemical groups.

  • The Oeko-Tex seal checks the pollutant residues on the end product. It is a globally consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished and finished textile products at all processing levels as well as accessory materials.

Unfortunately, certification with the GOTS and Oeko-Tex seals is very time-consuming and expensive. While our materials and producers are usually all GOTs or Oeko-Tex certified, after intensive considerations we have currently actively decided against having the OGNX brand certified as well. On the one hand, we do not want to pass the high costs associated with certification on to you, the customer, and, on the other hand, we are currently investing our financial and human resources in the sourcing of new and even more sustainable materials. Through close contact with our manufacturers and regular visits to them, we personally ensure compliance with the highest social standards.