What’s Better, Bamboo or Cotton?

January 28, 2009 12:00 AM by

Bookmark and ShareOK, you’ve settled on nursery colors and you’re ready to shop, but now you’re just plain confused about which organic bedding to get for baby. Organic cotton and bamboo crib sets—two less-toxic options—now can be found all over. So which is the healthiest for your baby and the planet?

Bamboo
Naturally fast-growing and hardy, bamboo regenerates quickly without help from chemicals. The silky fabric wicks away moisture, and it’s often less expensive than organic cotton. But the process of converting the plant into fabric requires nasty chemicals. And there’s very little USDA-certified organic bamboo, so you can’t be 100-percent sure you’re getting what you want without some research. Bamboosa, the company that makes the bamboo sheets pictured here, creates its fabric using certified organic bamboo grown on a farm that’s also certified organic.

Organic Cotton
In cotton’s favor, this fiber doesn’t need industrial processing to turn it into fabric. It’s available in a variety of weaves—sateen, flannel, jersey—as well as endless colors and patterns. On the downside, growing cotton without pesticides and fertilizers is far more labor-intensive than conventional methods, making the end product a bit pricey. When you spot the green USDA-certified organic label, though, you can be assured of the product’s purity.

Which Do You Choose?
Both bamboo and organic cotton fabric will be soft, cuddly, and easy to launder. “There are some good bamboo options out there,” says Sara Snow, author of Sara Snow’s Fresh Living: The Essential Room-By-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home, which comes out in March. “But if you have your choice, go with organic cotton.”

From top to bottom:

Kate Quinn Organics Fitted Crib Sheet in Basil Jersey, $48

Bamboosa BambooBaby Fitted Crib Sheet in Sprout Green, $25

Kate Quinn Organics Fitted Crib Sheet in Ginger Jersey, $48

Bamboosa BambooBaby Fitted Crib Sheet in Tahiti Blue, $25

The Natural Mat Company The Coco Mat Organic Crib Mattress, $375

Alison Aves lovingly created a green nursery for her exhaustively cute 11-month-old daughter. Aves is a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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