Day 60 / 365
The same rules of production and fabric awareness one must make themselves conscious of in fashion apply to kitchen textiles (and all other homeware) as well. I’m going to delve deep into the world of eco fabrics in a few weeks with a fashion series which explains, in depth, whole process, but I’d like to give you a little cole’s notes version for now.
Kitchen linens get worn out quicker than most home based fabrics as they tend to encounter more grit and grime. When I was a kid and kitchen linens of any kind had gotten stained, burnt, torn or haggard, my mum would cut them up and use them as cleaning rags which prolongs their lifetime ten fold.
I think it’s also a good idea to make peace with having an imperfect towel, or finding ways to give your less than sexy linens a new lease of life by applying spice dyes, vegetable dyes or applying an (intentional) tea or coffee staining to hide old stains and refresh their appearance. I’ve done this with our tea towels (here) and it works like a gosh dang charm.
There are tons of eco fabrics to choose from for your tea towels, napkins, placemats and runners, so when your next household linen decides it is ready to leave the kitchen and live a new life as a rag, consider some of these options. There are more eco fabrics available than what I’m listing here, but from my hunting it seems your eco kitchen linen options are more plentiful when one focuses on absorbent fabrics like these:
[RECYCLED FABRICS] I can’t express enough how amazing it is when fabrics which have been made from fabrics which were disposed of. If you can find kitchen linens or any items made from recycled fabrics embrace them with your whole damn heart. RIVTAK on etsy makes some pretty tea towels and napkins out of 100% recycled material printed on with low impact eco dye.
[ORGANIC HEMP] Hemp doesn’t require a lot of water or intervention to create. It is strong and holds its shape, plus at the end of its lifecycle it biodegrades. MOTIFEXTILES has some stunning hemp tea towels, napkins and placemats which are printed on with eco friendly water based inks.
[ORGANIC LINEN] Linen is made from flax which doesn’t require as many chemical fertilisers or pesticides as cotton. It can also biodegrade at the end of its lifecycle. BIND AND FOLD has some beautiful bohemian natural indigo dyed linen tea towels and tablecloths on her etsy shop here, and GRANDTDESIGN has some lovely 100% organic linen napkins and tea towels on her etsy shop here as well.
[BAMBOO] Is frequently regarded as an eco fabric. It regenerates swiftly and doesn’t require pesticides or fertilisers making it an excellent eco option for most products when it remains in its true form. The PROBLEM with bamboo as a fabric is many of the extraction processes involve the use of harmful chemicals, which can be counterproductive in the effort to live greener. There’s not a whole lot of choice for bamboo kitchen linens, but ECO KITCHEN has some bamboo dishtowels and linens to choose from here.
[ORGANIC COTTON] Cotton takes a shit ton of water (like 7.5 bathtubs full for one t-shirt) to produce. Organic or otherwise (unless it is monsoon fed). so you can at least ensure you’re not infecting that water and the land on which the cotton is farmed by choosing organic (ideally fair trade certified) cotton linens. If the cotton hasn’t been treated with harsh chemicals (ie// is organic) it can return to the earth at the end of its lifecycle.
Below are some Organic Cotton choices from some more mainstream brands, but I suggest having a nice little window shop through Etsy in advance!