Non-Organic Cotton: Is Your Bedding Toxic?

Non-organic cotton known for its toxic effects

As a society, we tend to be conscious of what we are putting inside our bodies, but we don’t tend to give that same consideration to what we put onto our bodies. There’s a lot of awareness towards organic food and drink options, but not so much towards fabrics. Unfortunately, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in the cotton industry that the wider public are unaware of.

At Nour Luxury, we firmly believe knowledge and awareness is crucial towards achieving actual change. In order to empower people through their choices, and thus creating positive change, we need to raise awareness of the negatives of conventional cotton use – towards both humans and the planet.

So, is your bedding toxic?

Why should we choose organic cotton?

We spend our lives using and wearing cotton, and spend a large part of it wrapped in cotton bedding when we sleep. The problem is; we don’t seem to question what exactly is touching our skin. Our skin is not only the largest organ our body possesses, but it’s also the most absorbent.

Non-organic cotton is often misrepresented – it’s seen as a clean and natural fibre. Unbeknownst to the public, however, it’s commonly referred to as the world’s dirtiest crop. The soil association reports that non-organic cotton accounts for 23% of the world’s insecticide use, as well as 10% of the world’s pesticide use.

Many of the pesticides commonly used in non-organic cotton were originally engineered as toxic nerve agents during WWII. This nerve agent is fatal to humans. Regardless of the numerous processes the cotton goes through, traces of the chemical still remains in the threads, which our skin continues to absorb.

Here are only a few of the names of the lethal chemicals used to grow and process cotton and their slow side effects on you when your skin absorbs the residues.

Below is a list of some lethal chemicals which are used to grow and process cotton, alongside their slow side effects upon absorption through your skin:


This chemical is often used for growing cotton, but has several side effects. These include hyperpigmentation of the skin, dermatitis, excessive formation of scaly skin, sensory changes, and headaches.


Another common chemical often used on cotton, which causes nose and throat irritation, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains and asthma.


A manufactured chemical often used in the processing and dyeing of cotton, Benzidine has a range of side effects, including major skin irritation, bladder cancer and respiration problems.


An organophosphate pesticide and insecticide used in the production of cotton, Parathion is extremely toxic. The common side effects are nausea, vomiting, depression, respiratory problems, blurry vision, convulsions and skin rashes.


Residues of mercury in cotton can cause side effects including mood swings, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, headaches and muscle twitching.


A very dangerous insecticide, Aldicarb often leaves residue in the fibres. This has several serious side effects which include vomiting, nausea, excess sweating and several skin rashes.

How sleeping in chemicals affects your skin

Having your skin consistently wrapped in chemicals will start to develop an allergic response. The chemical exposure is usually the root cause for most skin allergies, such as dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, impetigo, psoriasis and even skin cancer.

The scary statistic is that these effects aren’t solely a result of direct contact. It’s estimated thousands of people exposed to the chemicals, whether directly or slowly via the residues on the fabrics, have died of cancer and poisoning, while several miscarriages are reported each year. Many have also suffered from heart palpitations, hormonal imbalance, asthma, and birth defects.

Organic cotton reduces your overall chemical exposure, which helps lessen your chances of having any of the previously mentioned skin conditions.

Impact on the environment

Non-organic cotton doesn’t only have negative side effects on the skin, but it also negatively affects the environment, farmers and our planet.

Genetically Modified Seeds (GMO) are utilised when growing non-organic cotton, and can be up to 10 times more expensive than regular cotton seeds. As a result of this, many farmers end up falling into a cycle of debt, especially when they fail to yield enough cotton to make up for the loss of buying the GMO seeds in the first place.

Non-organic cotton also wastes a lot of water. 20,000 litres or more of water is usually required just in the production of 1kg of cotton – this equates to one T-shirt and a pair of jeans. The chemicals and pesticides also often leak into the local rivers, causing the wildlife to die.

Finally, cotton farmers are left to work in less than desirable conditions. They’re regularly exposed to synthetic chemicals, pesticides and insecticides in order to grow the cotton, and end up suffering as a result. Their issues include cell death, cell decay, burning of the skin, and many even end up dying from chemical poisoning.

Therefore, organic cotton is much more sustainable.

Benefits of sleeping on organic bedding

There are several benefits to organic bedding. The one major benefit is the lack of chemical or toxic dye residue trapped in the cotton threads.

While beneficial for everyone, it's particularly helpful for people with allergies, skin conditions or with specific chemical sensitivity. This is why many choose to follow an organic lifestyle.

In general, organic cotton also feels better on your skin. Organic cotton is a lot softer as it is handpicked, so the softness of the fibre remains intact. Whether you suffer from allergies or not, you’ll notice the difference immediately. In addition, most people will even swear on it smelling better.

Organic bedding is also safer as manufacturers adhere to stricter standards. This is not only to minimise the negative impact to the environment but to ensure customer value as well by subscribing to very high ethical standards such as Fairtrade Cotton.

Growing organic cotton also keeps farmers and their families safe. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply.

By choosing Organic cotton, you can obtain all the benefits of cotton's beauty, enjoy its comfort and durability whilst minimising harm to humans and our planet.

All our luxury bedding is made from 100% GOTS Certified and Fair trade certified organic cotton with a traceable supply chain, meaning it is all ethically sourced.

We believe our luxury organic bedding offers the softest feel for a great night's sleep. We do not cut corners, providing you the most ethically sourced range of organic cotton. We go the extra mile by tracing back every step to the origin of our organic cotton.

We want you and your family to feel confident knowing our products are organic, authentic and free from chemicals. This makes our premium bed linen perfect for those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from skin allergies.

Our 100% organic cotton duvet, sheets and pillowcases are luxuriously lightweight and breathable and available both separately and grouped together in our luxury bedding packs.