Eco Friendly Fabrics

With going green taking front and center stage in home decor and interior design, fabrics are following that decorating trend and more environmentally friendly options are becoming available.   Eco-friendly options include fabrics that are made of sustainable options, finished without chemicals and from fair trade countries.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton should be certified organic by the USDA.  The certification means that the cotton is grown with methods that have a  low impact on the environment and reduce the use of harmful pesticides and fertizers.

What organic cotton does not certify is that the finishing process is also environmentally friendly.  For this certification, a third party is needed to verify that the cottong is finished without formaldehyde and low impact dyes were used.  Look for labels that certify the product as organic.  These are usually provided by third parties and include:

  • Eko – certified by Skal, now known as the Control Union World Group
  • Global Organic Textile Standards; or
  • Oeko-Tex

Look for organic cotton products for bed linens and draperies. 


Hemp is easy to grow in temperate climates and  does not require pesticides nor herbicides.  What makes this product so environmentally friendly is the hemp crop is usually harvested in 120 days after reaching a height of 10-15 feet.  Hemp fibers are known for their strength, durability and rot resistance.  Products made with hemp are also biodegradable.

Look for fabrics made from hemp for drapery uses in particular.  This eco friendly product can slip right into many styles of décor.  Cottage style, Zen, rustic, country and traditional can all handle hemp fabrics with a flourish.

Organic Wool

Organic wool certifies that the wool came from sheep that were not exposed to chemicals like pesticides and are kept in humane farm conditions.  Wool is known for its softness and strength, and with the organic certification, you can rest easy that an animal was not mistreated for your decorating fabric. 

When purchasing organic wool, take it a step further and make sure the finishing process was environmentally friendly as well.
Use wool for carpets and area rugs and, of course, nothing beats wool for warm and softness in blankets.

Bottom Line

More companies are producing environmentally friendly fabrics.  Many of the well known high end fabric makers, such as Robert Allen and Schumacher, have jumped on the bandwagon.  Prices for eco friendly products continue to be higher than their counterparts.  Let’s hope these prices become more reasonable in the future so these products can become more budget friendly.