Quality bedding is not just all about soft, luxurious sheets. The process of making bed linen involves thousands of chemicals, as raw fiber is turned into a final product. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals include heavy metals, bleaches, fixing agents and solvents that are hazardous to our health and to the environment.
This makes safety certifications an important step in selecting the right bed linen. However, there are hundreds of certification labels, each with varying measurement criteria, reliability, and trustworthiness.
In order to help you navigate these certifications, we put together this comprehensive guide, so you can feel confident about the health and quality of your bed linen. Wondering what OEKO-TEX certification really means, the difference between OEKO-TEX and organic, or how credible the certification procedures really are? We answer all these and more in our guide below.
1. What is OEKO-TEX?
OEKO-TEX is an independent certification system that aims to provide consumers with a uniform, reliable way to shop for safe textile products.
When it comes to product safety, OEKO-TEX is one of the most respected certification labels in the industry. The certification process is led by the International OEKO-TEX Association, which operates in over 40 countries. The organization is most well-known for its OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label, indicating that products are free of high levels of over 100 harmful substances known to be dangerous to humans and the environment.
One key factor that elevates OEKO-TEX from other certifications is that every component of the product is tested. That means every button, zipper, lining and special coatings applied to the finished article are separately tested for the same chemicals.
As well, the criteria for OEKO-TEX Standard 100 are reviewed and updated every year. Since it is a global standard, the certification requirements are universal and companies must reapply for the certification every 12 months. This ensures that all products bearing the OEKO-TEX label continue to meet the updated standards.
2. Why is Textile Certification Important for Bed Linen?
Since we spend one third of our day asleep, in direct contact with bed sheets, selecting bed linen with an OEKO-TEX certification is vital to health and wellbeing. Toxic chemicals used to manufacture textiles can affect us through touching them and breathing them in. As skin is permeable, these chemicals can be absorbed into our bodies, causing detrimental effects to our short-term and long-term health – triggering allergies, causing skin conditions such as eczema and creating a constant build-up of toxic chemicals in the body.
This can be especially dangerous for individuals with allergies, and for babies and young children who have especially delicate skin and whose lungs and brains are still developing. By selecting bed linen bearing the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label, you can feel confident that your bed linens are safe for everyone.
3. Which harmful substances does OEKO-TEX test for?
The OEKO-TEX certification process tests products for a list of harmful chemicals and substances by independent laboratories worldwide. The list includes formaldehyde, nickel and azo dyes, arsenic, lead, phthalates, pesticides, and many more substances known to be harmful to human health. For example, OEKO-TEX restricts the toxic formaldehyde treatment used to create wrinkle-free sheets.
In addition, it tests for substances that aren’t legally banned but are suspected to be harmful to humans and the environment. These include allergy-inducing colorants and synthetic softeners (phthalates). Fabrics are also tested to ensure they have a pH that won’t irritate skin.
Textiles made for babies and toddlers are tested even more rigorously, including restrictions on color bleeding tested through sucking and nibbling simulations.
4. Is OEKO-TEX a reliable certification?
The OEKO-TEX Association is the world’s most trusted label for textile safety. The laboratory tests go well beyond a single research and testing facility, receiving backing by eighteen independent research and test institutes throughout Europe and Japan, each with proven expertise.
Additionally, the OEKO-TEX criteria catalog is updated at least once a year and expanded with new scientific knowledge or statutory requirements in order to ensure that products bearing the label continue to meet the highest standards on the market.
5. How does OEKO-TEX compare to GOTS Certification?
While both OEKO-TEX and GOTS relate to the safety and cleanliness of a product, they are not the same. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certifies the organic production of raw materials such as cotton. GOTS uses two labels. The first, “Organic” designates materials with a minimum of 95% organic fibers. The second, “made with organic materials” requires at least 70% organic fibers.
It is important to note that organic certification only considers how raw materials are grown, ensuring there is no use of petroleum-based pesticides or fertilizers. However, this does not mean that natural-based pesticides or fertilizers are not used. As well, it does not mean that the cotton fibers aren’t treated with chemicals in other stages of production.
In contrast, OEKO-TEX certifies finished products and all of their components. Products that carry the Standard 100 label have been tested and proven free of harmful levels of toxic substances. While GOTS certifies the cotton is grown on organically-certified farms, Oeko-Tex certification is broader, strictly regulating how the fabric is processed, and testing for chemicals on every other part of the final end product.
6. Does OEKO-TEX Certification mean High Thread Count?
OEKO-TEX certification indicates that a textile product is free from harmful chemicals, but it doesn’t measure thread count. While the two are unrelated, an OEKO-TEX-certified textile product made from premium cotton typically indicates high quality, and wouldn’t require the types of inflated thread count marketed by companies using inferior materials. Learn more about choosing the right thread count.
7. How can you check the validity of a company’s OEKO-TEX certificate?
You can check the validity of a company’s OEKO-TEX certificate by entering their certificate number found on the label in the Official Authorization Website OEKO-TEX Label Check. The result will produce details of the validity status, the relevant product class, and the articles covered by this certificate number.
8. Where can I purchase OEKO-TEX-Certified Bed Linen?
LT prides itself on our luxury, high-quality, OEKO-TEX-certified bedding selection. We are committed to continuously expanding our OEKO-TEX-certified product line with a goal of 100% certification.
From luxury bedding to duvets, towels, and more, LT offers an unbeatable selection of OEKO-TEX certified products for hotels so you can feel confident that your bed linen meets the safety and sustainability standards you desire.