One of the properties of organic cotton fiber, which makes it suitable for babies’ clothes, is that it has good elongation qualities (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). Mature organic cotton is stronger than immature organic cotton. During the production process, manufacturers separate mature and immature organic cotton in order to ensure that they produce organic cotton fabrics, which have good elongation qualities. Good elongation qualities mean that the fabric does not over stretch after being worn for a reasonable period. Mature organic cotton produces cotton fiber of various lengths. They range between 1 and 6 centimeters (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). In many cases, manufacturers use organic cotton fiber with longer lengths when processing organic cotton fabrics. This ensures that the resulting fabric is of good quality in such a manner that clothes produced from the fabric can last longer without wearing out due to stretching during the cleaning and ironing process.
Organic cotton fiber is known to have good luster characteristics (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). Clothes made from organic cotton fiber retains their nature look for a longer period compared to clothes made from conventional cotton (non-organically grown cotton) and fabrics made of other materials such as animal fiber (wool), fibrous secretion (silk), and polyester. Organic cotton fiber retains its natural sheen even after the manufacturing process. A cross-section observation of organic cotton tissue indicates presence of waxy/fatty substances in its fibers. The waxy/fatty substances make 0.4 percent of the cotton fiber. This waxy/fatty substance is what gives the organic cotton fiber a shinny look after the manufacturing process.
Since the sheen is natural, clothes made of organic cotton fiber retain a luster-look for a long time even after constant washing with warm water and ironing: exposure to relatively high temperatures, compared to clothes made of inorganic cotton fiber. Babies’ clothes are constantly washed (because they require constant change of clothes) and dried (under natural sunlight or machine drying). For these reasons, the luster property of organic cotton fiber makes it suitable for babies’ clothes since it enables the clothes to remain and look new and neat for a long period.
Organic cotton fiber has good permeability properties (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). It is structured in such a manner that it allows free flow of air in and outside the body when being worn. This is why organic cotton fabrics are referred as breathable. The air-permeability property of organic cotton fiber helps an individual to remain fresh for a longer period when wearing a cloth made of organic cotton fabric. This is because as the air flows out of the body through the fabric, it carries with it natural body odors, which sometimes produce bad stenches if they accumulate for a long period on our clothes after being released from the body. Free flow of air is very important for babies especially because their bodies produce natural odors, which are not pleasant, during the first few months after birth. They therefore require breathable clothes to enable them smell fresh for longer periods. Furthermore, organic cotton fiber is appropriate for babies’ nappies and diapers because it allows free flow of air, which prevent accumulation of odor produced by their stool and urine, as well as heat accumulation, which sometimes cause severe skins rashes in babies.
There is high presence of cellulose in organic cotton fiber. Cellulose makes 91.0 percent of organic cotton fiber. High presence of cellulose contributes to the durability quality of fabrics/clothes made of organic cotton fiber. The cellulose is arranged in such a manner that they are closely linked to each other. When a cloth made of organic cotton fiber is dipped in water, its strength increases by 30 percent, thanks to the presence of high amount of closely linked cellulose (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). The additional strength helps organic cotton clothes to hold extra weight when the cloth is hanged to dry after washing (before all the water dries out).
In addition, the chemical component of cellulose is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates absorb and exude water very quickly. Carbohydrates also thicken very quickly when they are mixed with water due to presence of highly hydrated ions (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). Carbohydrates are responsible for the extra strength in organic cotton clothes during the cleaning process. When immersed in water, the carbohydrates inside the cellulose take in water very quickly through the molecular holes found on the cellulose. The spaces between the fibers in a fabric are reduced, thus making the fabric stronger to endure extra weight from water as well as the constant stretching during the cleaning process. The molecular structure of organic cotton fiber also contributes to its strength. The closely linked cellulose enables clothes made of organic cotton fiber to resist damage when exposed to relatively high temperatures (Cotton: Natural Fibers, n.d.). Therefore, clothes made of organic cotton fiber are not damaged by constant ironing or natural heat from the sun during the drying process.
Despite its good qualities, organic cotton fiber is very flammable compared to synthetic cotton fiber and fabrics made of wool. Organic cotton fiber decomposes after being exposed to temperatures above 150o C. In fact, it is easily for an individual wearing a cloth made of organic cotton fiber to catch fire than an individual wearing a woolen cloth (from animal protein fiber). In addition, compared to other fibers such as bamboo and silk, the fibers of organic cotton weakens very fast if exposed to sunlight for a long time. The fibers are also damaged by microorganisms such as mildew, insects such as silverfish, and strong acids. However, compared to other organic and inorganic fibers, organic cotton fiber has been found to the best in production of fabrics in the apparel industry because its advantages overweigh its disadvantages.