17 Eco-Friendly Fabrics

When shopping for clothes, many people shop based on things like comfort or style, but not many people check for clothing’s eco-friendliness.

More and more clothing companies are providing clothes made from eco-friendly fabrics. Demand for these clothes is increasing too. This makes sense given the environmental issues we’re faced with in today’s world.

What Makes a Fabric “Eco-Friendly”?

Eco-friendly fabrics generally have the following characteristics:

  • Minimum use of chemicals and pesticides
  • Best land manangement practices
  • Sustainable farming practices
  • Eco-friendly certification (i.e. EU-Eco label certification)
  • Animal friendly
  • Production adheres to fair trade practices

By purchasing organic, you can be sure that the product was produced without the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides, and is not only healthy for the environment but is also healthy for you.

The Fabrics

Here’s a list of eco-friendly fibers to look out for. Next time you’re shopping for clothes, look out for clothes that are made from the following fibers (or other eco-friendly fibers):

  1. Hemp - An amazing natural fiber. Some say hemp could have 25,000 uses. Hemp provides enormous benefit to the natural environment. This is true when used in products and when growing the hemp plant.
  2. Jute - Similar to hemp, jute is a type of vegetable fiber used for thousands of years, with outstanding potential for the future.
  3. Ingeo - Trademark for a man-made fiber derived from corn.
  4. Calico - Fabric made from unbleached cotton. Also referred to as muslin.
  5. Hessian Cloth - Coarse woven fabric made from jute or hemp.
  6. Organic cotton - Cotton grown organically (without pesticides etc)
  7. Recycled Polyester - Polyester created from used polyester garments.
  8. Bamboo Fiber - Bamboo fabric is very comfortable and 100% biodegradable.
  9. Tencel® - Brand name for a biodegradable fabric made from wood pulp cellulose.
  10. Ramie - Ramie fibers are one of the strongest natural fibers. Ramie can be up to 8 times stronger than cotton, and is even stronger when wet.
  11. Organic Wool - Organic wool is wool that has been produced in a way that is less harmful to the environment than non-organic wool.
  12. Organic Linen - Linen that is made from flax fiber. Could also refer to be linen made from other organically grown plant fibers.
  13. FORTREL EcoSpun - Fiber made from plastic containers
  14. Milk Silk - Silk made from milk
  15. Soy Silk - Silk made from soybeans
  16. Nettle fiber - Made from stinging nettle (commonly known as a weed)
  17. Spider-web fabric - Fabric made from spider webs. Still in the experimental stages.

Eco-Friendly Finishes and Dyes

As well as the fabric used to make clothes, many clothes are dyed and/or have laminate finishes etc. Here are some eco friendly options:

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41 Responses to “17 Eco-Friendly Fabrics”

  1. Raky Says:

    Are any of these fabrics waterproof?
    If not - is there a waterpfoor covering or lamination that is eco-friendly?

  2. Gemma Says:

    Recycled polyester is waterproof (:

  3. Isabelle Says:

    I have heard of wax-coated coats that are eco-friendly. But there is a whole section on “green” rain gear at http://www.thegreenguide.com!

  4. EMILY F. Says:

    Oh em gee Isabelle! You totally saved my life I have been looking for a website like this for forEVER!!!!! Hugs and kisses to you gurrrl!

  5. Heidi Says:

    Is polyester safe with food? What about dyes? Im looking for a eco friendly/recyled fabric 4 snack bags. I have been searching for weeks.

  6. Heidi Says:

    Will u please contact me. Im having a lot of trouble finding someone to talk to about fabric. Know one seems to know anything about this topic.

  7. Bapuji Says:

    will recycled polyster harm our body

  8. Stephanie Says:

    I recently purchased a bra for my daughter and it is made with polyamide and spandex. Can you tell me anything about both of those and the effects they may have on her health? Thanks!

  9. Meg Says:

    Most of the fabrics listed as “environmentally friendly” on this page are exactly the opposite. Soy, bamboo, tencel and milk are all turned into rayon to make it into fiber, one of the most toxic manufacturing processes there is. Rayon production is banned in the U.S. Recycled polyester is a huge consumer of water and energy just to re-extrude it into a usable fiber, not including chemicals needed to dye and finish the fabric. This is issue is very complex and this article is very misleading. Textile manufacturers and scientists are still trying to figure this stuff out. The best advice I can give is that if you go with natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk and hemp these are the best options for the environment. They don’t have fancy names but at least they really are sustainable and biodegradable materials.

  10. Mark Says:

    I always appreciate the people for their efforts towards the eco-friendliness & glad to see your so eco-friendly blog post. I’d like to refer SUPERIOR LIGHTING as they also playing an important role by launching their energy efficient LEDs & soothing light bulbs for eco-friendliness.

  11. Tanya Gibson of Little Village Naturals Says:

    I truly appreciate this article! Thank you! I’ve recently started my own small home based indie craft business and this information is very helpful!

  12. Tanya Gibson of Little Village Naturals Says:

    Thank you Meg for your comment as well. Looks like I need to do a little digging. So far I’ve been using wool but want to use other natural fibers as well, as well natural dyes.

  13. Genevieve Jury Says:

    very nice post dude! great website… will be back soon!

  14. GU10 Says:

    Thanks for this very informative post! I’ve been looking into eco-friendly fabrics recently and this was very helpful.

  15. Judy B. Says:

    I am having difficulty understanding how recycled polyester fabric can be waterproof. Polyester fabric is usually not waterproof in and of itself unless somehow treated. Could you go into this a little more?
    Also I don’t see anyone who claims to have written the above post - no author posted. Ian, was this written by yourself? You may want to look it over again ’cause some of it just doesn’t hang together. I know your blog is a tribute to your love of the earth and this is commendable but I don’t think you want to be putting stuff out there that is not quite right.

  16. Ian Says:

    @Judy B. Can you please indicate where I state that recycled polyester is waterproof? (unless your comment is directed at @Gemma)

    Also, can you please indicate which parts are “not quite right”? I’m always happy to review and amend where appropriate.

  17. electric bike company Says:

    What a super blog!Eco Rocks Thanks

  18. solar water heating company Says:

    I should really be working Thanks a million for giving me a break

  19. Eco-friendly Virtual Private Server Says:

    I would like to say “wow” what a inspiring post. This is really great. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  20. AJ Says:

    Any word on an organic, non-polyester fire retardant textile that will meet NFPA 701 fire codes for commercial buildings? I know there was talk some time ago of a bamboo alternative, but I haven’t heard of any movement in that direction as of late…

  21. SAMIA LOTFY ELSAMAN Says:

    I AM PLEASURE AFTER READ AII RESEASAERSH ABOUT ECO-CLOTHES AND ORGANEC DAYAND NATURAL FAIBER.

  22. John Says:

    Great way of helping save Earth. Thumbs up for this blog.

  23. Candida Says:

    Next year, i need to do personal project and im doing something about eco friendly fabric and designing shoes. So can someone email me if they have a good idea and where i can buy this in England, London. thanks x

  24. How Much Energy Says:

    Genuinely professional piece, I really liked looking through it. It had quite a few superb insight. I’m bookmarking this web site.

  25. Office Furnitures Says:

    Beatiful Blog! the product is eco friendly and you indicate the informations that we need to know the product. Thank you and please post more.

  26. Used Office Furniture Says:

    Great rundown on fabrics. Thanks for all the info.

  27. Nick Says:

    Hello,
    We are 1st ukrainian production company that engaged in growing of industrial hemp in most ecological Poltava region in Ukraine and production of hemp products (fiber, bed cloth, etc)
    Currently we in searching for partner in UK that also working in the same direction to make our common efforts more effective.
    For more details please do not hesitate to visit our website http://www.agrohanf.com or contact us by e-mail export@agrohanf.com
    BR

  28. reshu Says:

    Hello,
    can u able to give me the detail of the excel fiber

  29. jo Says:

    hey awesome website mann, totally rad!

  30. charlotte Says:

    yo man,this websites totally groooovy,peace outtt

  31. chris Says:

    I found a great hemp fabric website. All organic hemp fabric for home furnishings and hemp clothing.
    http://www.hempskinz.com

  32. eco-friendly Says:

    I always appreciate the people for their efforts towards the eco-friendliness.. come visit http://thegreenconnoisseur.com heard that they got eco-friendly products too..

  33. Vaibhav Prakash Says:

    The list is incomplete without Khadi.

  34. Earthstore Says:

    Hi
    We are mnaufacturer of organic and eco friendly fabrics and garments for mens, ladies, kids and babies
    You can check put our online store - http://www.earthstore.in or face book page
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Earth-Store/223706200975226#!/pages/Earth-Store/223706200975226

  35. tarot card meanings Says:

    thank you so much for the information on eco-friendly fabrics. I think everyone should really take this as a first step to a more environmental friendly initiative.

  36. Jenniffer Says:

    I am looking for a mesh material to make a baby item. It was be 100% breathable. Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you

  37. Sara Says:

    Where can one buy these materials? Any advice on suppliers would be great

  38. Nathalie Says:

    Does anyone know of an earth-friendly alternative fabric to Latex for Lingerie applications? Maybe something with a Viscose base? Must have a 100% waterbarrier. Thanks!

  39. Boomerang Used Office Furniture Says:

    Being Eco-Friendly is Boomerang’s business model, that is the reason we recycle as much as possible on a daily basis. The typical life cycle of pre-owned office furniture begins with trucks being unloaded from their former home into our warehouse. At that time 10%-15% of all damaged or unusable product is recycled. Wood product is sent to power plants to burn and metal product is sent to a metal facility for recycling creating as little waste as possible. The remaining product is then recycled within our redistribution process and sold at 90% off new prices to new customers.

  40. Beth Says:

    I think Meg is a little mis-led herself. Even organic cotton isn’t always eco-friendly because of the vast amounts of water and chemicals needed to turn it into usable fibers. And I’m not sure what “milk silk” is, but try looking up QMilch. it was created by scientist and fashion designer Anke Domakse. it is probably one of the most eco-friendly fabrics out there, using sour milk that is otherwise unfit for consumption, other natural items and very little water or energy. It is quick and easy to make (1 hour and 1/2 a gallon of milk make enough for a dress) and it uses very little resources and no chemicals. I’m in the process of building a new line of clothing that is very earth-friendly in every way: I will be examining every aspect of my business from producing the fibers, creating the fabrics, dying methods, shipping, manufacturing the clothing and even to how it is used. I’ll use fabrics like QMilch, hemp and Lyocell/ Tencell. I am creating a line of clothing that has only 10 pieces and can replace their entire wardrobe for a year (other than underwear, socks and accessories) because all of with will be reversible or changeable in some way to make other things. Pants turn into capri’s, jackets become vests…the list goes on. Please look for Bethany Jade designs in the next few years. I can’t wait to show this world what fashion should be, and help curb an industry that encourages so much waste.

  41. chanella jackson Says:

    This article was awesome. It gave more formal information on the fibers and fabrics we touched on in my intro to fashion class. I wish that being eco-friendly was not so expensive. I will definitely look for the labels to see what is actually organic.