If you are always (or at times) concerned about the quality and safety of your clothing and textile products, you're not alone!
In today's world, there is an increased concern about the potential presence of hazardous chemicals and "greenwashing" in the textiles we use daily. As consumers, we want to enjoy our clothes and linens without worrying about any risks of being exposed to items that could harm or cause allergies to use.
This is where Certifications like BCI, OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, bluesign® Approved, Global Recycle Standard, Fair Trade, and many more come in. These certifications reassure us. They tell us something about a product or brand and assure us that they have been verified to be safe and useable by independent, third-party sources.
You've likely heard about OEKO-TEX®, but what exactly is it, and can you rely on its standards?
Let's dive in and explore the significance of this certification.
Discover how Oeko-Tex provides a recognized system of assurance that your product does not contain harmful chemicals often found in textiles. The certification aims at providing peace of mind that the textiles have been produced with minimal environmental impact to guarantee safe use for everyone involved.
- Oeko-Tex Certification provides assurance of safety and environmental friendliness for textile products.
- The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a globally recognized testing system that guarantees textiles are free from potentially harmful substances.
- Oeko-Tex certification promotes transparency, prevents greenwashing, and ensures products are safe for consumers while supporting sustainable production practices. View our sustainable swimwear range and sustainable wetsuit collection.
Understanding Oeko-Tex Certification
Consumers, who are becoming increasingly conscious about the safety of their purchases in a world full of harmful substances, can take comfort from Oeko-Tex Certification.
This globally recognized system offers assurance that textile products have been tested and certified free of hazardous components, thereby protecting both human health as well as the environment.
An Austrian Textile Research Institute created the Oeko Tex certification to ensure transparency across the entire value chain for textiles and leathers concerning consumer welfare. Hence known collectively as the Oeko-Tex Association, which works towards ensuring confidence in every purchase made under its certifications.
The Oeko-Tex Standard 100
The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is the primary certification within the Oeko-Tex system. It outlines the testing criteria and limits for various harmful substances, including illegal substances, regulated chemicals, and known harmful substances. The standard is regularly updated to incorporate the latest scientific knowledge and legal requirements.
Four Product Classes of Oeko-Tex Standard 100
The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 classifies textile products into four categories based on their intended use and expected contact with the human body.
These classes range from Class I, which includes products for babies and toddlers, to Class IV, which covers products with minimal contact with the skin, such as upholstery materials.
Each product class has specific requirements and criteria to ensure the safety and suitability of the textiles for their designated purpose.
Let's explore each product class in more detail:
- Class I: This class is specifically designed for products intended for babies and toddlers up to 36 months old, as they are particularly sensitive to harmful substances. Examples of products in Class I include clothing, bedding, accessories, and toys for infants. The strictest requirements are applied to this class to ensure the highest level of safety.
- Class II: This class covers textile products that have direct contact with the skin, excluding those intended for babies. It includes underwear, shirts, blouses, bedding, towels, socks, and other clothing articles. While the requirements are slightly less stringent compared to Class I, the products in this class still undergo thorough testing to ensure their safety for extended skin contact.
- Class III: Textile products that do not have direct contact with the skin fall into Class III. This class encompasses items such as jackets, coats, outerwear, and other accessories. While these products may not have prolonged contact with the skin, they still undergo testing to ensure that any potentially harmful substances are within acceptable limits.
- Class IV: This class is dedicated to textile products with minimal or no contact with the skin. It includes curtains, table linen, upholstery fabrics, carpets and so on. The requirements for Class IV are less stringent compared to the previous classes, considering the limited contact with the body.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a certification system that works alongside OEKO-TEX.
GOTS specifically emphasizes eco-friendly textile manufacturing processes, recognizing producers' efforts worldwide.
When manufacturers obtain an Oeko-Tex Certificate, it demonstrates their commitment to creating safe materials without harmful chemicals or compounds that can harm both human health and the environment. This ensures that every item meets the necessary standards.
Oeko-Tex vs. Organic: What's the Difference?
The Oeko-Tex and various Organic Certifications promote sustainable production of textile products, with the former (Oeko-Tex) centering on testing for hazardous substances. This certification ensures that the raw materials are not treated with harmful chemicals or dyes.
Conversely, an organic certification evaluates the environmental impact created during fabrication as well as checking that no toxic elements were employed in its making. A product can be both Oeko-Tex certified and organically produced. Thus customers can rest assured their purchase does indeed support responsible textiles while protecting health at the same time.
The Oeko-Tex Certification Process
The OEKO-TEX certification process guarantees that national and international safety requirements are followed throughout production.
To obtain Oeko-Tex Certification, manufacturers need to submit their products for testing. The research and testing covers every production stage, including raw materials, intermediate products, and finished items. If the products meet the strict criteria and do not exceed the maximum allowable limits for harmful substances, they are granted Oeko-Tex Certification.
Random product inspections are conducted periodically to ensure continued compliance with both local and global standards.
When you choose green items certified under Oeko-Tex guidelines, you can be confident that you've made a good decision for your health and the environment. This certification ensures that suppliers follow strict sustainability standards throughout the entire manufacturing process. So, when you buy products with this label, you can have peace of mind knowing that you're supporting a sustainable choice.
Products Eligible for Oeko-Tex Certification
A wide range of textile products can be eligible for Oeko-Tex Certification, including yarns, fabrics and knits in their raw or finished state as well as those made from 100% organic cotton. Items such as zippers, prints, and sewing threads are also eligible for certification under this system to ensure every component of a textile product adheres to its safety regulations regarding hazardous substances.
This certification can be obtained by manufacturers worldwide, regardless of location, allowing consumers access to safe and eco-friendly textile products from various regions.
Oeko-Tex Certified Brands and Products
When a brand proudly displays the Oeko-Tex Certification, it shows its dedication to safety, quality, and sustainability. This certification is highly valued worldwide. In fact, the OEKO-TEX Buying Guide provides consumers with a list of over 21,000 certified suppliers for materials, accessories, and chemicals used in products.
Importance of Oeko-Tex Certification in Supply Chain
The Oeko-Tex Certification system is essential for the supply chain as it works to
- Promote openness, prevent deceptive claims of sustainability, and ensure that goods are free from hazardous substances.
- Companies that adhere to Oeko-Tex standards demonstrate their dedication to social well-being, ecological protection, and transparency in the supply chain.
- Prevents false greenwashing assertions while providing consumers with a greater knowledge to make informed decisions about choosing items free from harmful or toxic components.
- Provides additional guarantee that all materials used to make the product meet security measures and are sourced through responsible environmental production methods.
Oeko-Tex provides assurance of product safety and encourages a greener environment across textile industries, supporting sustainable practices throughout, ultimately benefiting us all.
Allergies, Sensitivities, and Oeko-Tex Certification
Oeko-Tex Certification plays a significant role in addressing allergies and sensitivities. Testing and certifying products for harmful substances helps minimize the risk of allergic reactions caused by chemicals in textiles. However, it's important to note that Oeko-Tex Certification does not guarantee complete allergen-free products, as individual sensitivities can vary.
By selecting only products with Oeko-Tex Certification, you won't have to worry about irritants being included in them. This rigorous process ultimately means no (or very negligible) allergens and irritants are present in the end product.
Verifying Oeko-Tex Labels and Certifications
To ensure the authenticity of Oeko-Tex labels and certifications, consumers can verify them through a product/company search or by checking the unique identification number provided on the label using the OEKO-TEX® Label Check online tool. This helps consumers make informed decisions and trust the products they purchase.
With the world increasingly focused on health and sustainability, Oeko-Tex Certification is a valuable system for ensuring that textile products are safe and eco-friendly. By being aware of how important this certification is, understanding the distinctions between it and organic certifications, and what kind of items can be certified under Oeko Tex’s guidelines, we will all contribute towards achieving a better environment by selecting these certified products when buying textiles.
Below you can see some common questions we get asked.
What is OEKO-TEX material made from?
OEKO-TEX is not a material itself, but rather a certification system that ensures textiles and textile products are free from harmful substances. Oeko-Tex tests and certifies textiles such as clothing, accessories, home textiles, and furniture, among other decor items. This includes
- textiles used in any stage of product processing (from threads to finished goods)
- other related components such as dyes, linings, coatings, buttons, zippers and so on
Any fabric (made from natural fibers like wool or synthetic fibers like polyester) can be Oeko-Tex certified as long as it passes the organization's rigorous testing requirements.
Is OEKO-TEX polyester non toxic?
Yes, OEKO-TEX polyester is considered non-toxic. It has been evaluated and certified to be free from prohibited azo dyes, formaldehyde, nickel, or other noxious compounds. This certification ensures that the polyester fabric is safe for human use.
What is Oeko-Tex Certification?
Oeko-Tex Certification is a globally recognized safety standard for textiles. It's a voluntary process that thoroughly tests and certifies textiles at every production stage, from raw materials to intermediate processes and finished products.
The certification considers various crucial aspects, including chemicals, colourants, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful substances. Its primary goal is to encourage sustainable and safe textile manufacturing by establishing strict limits and requirements for chemical usage during production.
How does Oeko-Tex Certification contribute to alleviating allergies and sensitivities?
The Oeko-Tex Certification helps mitigate the risk of allergies and sensitivities by ensuring that all textile materials are free from toxic chemicals and dyes. This certification provides peace of mind and guarantees safety against hazardous elements such as pesticides or other chemicals.