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Everything you ever needed to know about OEKO-TEX® textile safety standards

  • October 12th, 2022

It's hard to keep track of all the different standards out there. OEKO-TEX® is a leader in global textile testing, and they have a wide variety of certification programs. We're going to break down some of the most common ones here.

The importance of testing furnishing fabrics for harmful substances and environmental performance

Furnishings like curtains, upholstery and carpets can contain harmful substances that affect your health, such as pesticides or formaldehyde.

In addition, chemicals in furnishings can have an adverse effect on the environment. Furnishings are often disposed of after only a few years; therefore, it is very important to choose furnishings that are environmentally friendly and not harmful to human health.

Manufacturers must test their products according to these criteria:

  • Dyes used in textiles must not release any harmful substances during washing or wearing (dye migration). The dyes used are free from heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic which could be released into water systems.
  • Textile fibres used must not be treated with formaldehyde resins which could release carcinogenic vapours into your home.
  • Textile fibres must have undergone a minimum of mechanical processing so that they can be safely

Who or what is OEKO-TEX®?

OEKO-TEX® is a global certification system for products that are safe for you, your family, and the environment. The foundation itself dates to 1992, with the straightforward aim to use laboratory tests to ensure that textile products are harmless to health. Since then the foundation has grown to become the benchmark for textile manufacturing excellence.

In 2022, we offer a large product portfolio and work together with 17 independent textile and leather testing institutes.

The OEKO-TEX® label means that a product has been tested by an independent, accredited institution to ensure it meets strict human-ecological standards.

What is the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100?

The OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is the standard that defines the requirements and methods for testing of harmful substances in textiles. It also specifies how these harmful substances are to be disclosed on product labels, so consumers can make informed choices about what they buy.

The OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is based on a stringent set of requirements which govern the use of harmful chemicals and other environmentally damaging production processes in textiles and clothing.

The standard also includes requirements for working conditions at factories where these products are manufactured, as well as provisions governing waste disposal from production processes and trade shows where furnishing fabrics are displayed.

FibreGuard fabrics are certified under the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. Our unique STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® number is 0611045.

What is the difference between OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100and STeP by OEKO-TEX®

OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is an independent third-party certification that guarantees the safety of textiles during their entire life cycle. This includes raw materials, manufacturing practices, and end use. It's applicable for all types of textiles, including clothing, shoes, upholstery, carpets, and many more items.

STeP stands for "Safety and Technical Standards" and is a certification that guarantees the safety of textiles. The STeP program covers all stages of production, including raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes and chemicals used, transportation, and end-of-life disposal. Each step of production must meet specific criteria before it can be certified as sustainable by OEKO-TEX®.

The STeP testing process includes the following steps:

  1. A sample is collected from a fabric and tested in a laboratory (this can take up to 6 weeks).
  2. If the fabric passes the test, it will receive a STeP certificate. The certificate must be renewed every 5 years.
  3. The STeP certificate must be displayed on all packaging and labels of products containing this fabric.

What is The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)?

GOTS is an international standard that certifies organic textiles as having been produced with only organic fibres, dyes, and chemicals. It also regulates working conditions, including minimum wage and overtime pay.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a certification that ensures that textiles are manufactured in an environmentally sustainable way. This means that every step of the process—from the raw materials to the dyeing, spinning, and finishing of the fabric—is done in an environmentally friendly manner, with a focus on minimizing air pollution and water use. GOTS also ensures that all workers are treated fairly and ethically and that they have access to education about their rights as employees.

GOTS is designed to be a holistic way of creating textiles that is both environmentally friendly and socially responsible. With this certification comes great responsibility: producers must meet rigorous requirements for every step of the production process, ensuring that every part of production meets these standards.

In addition to the requirements listed above, GOTS also has additional requirements for labelling and traceability. All labels must include a unique serial number so you can trace your garment back to its source.

The label must also contain information about what percentage of the fabric is organic, where it was made, who made it (if applicable), when it was produced, what chemicals were used in production (if applicable), whether or not animals were used during production (i.e., wool-spinning), whether or not any genetically modified organisms were used during production; if applicable), and other relevant information such as whether or not any formaldehyde was used during processing or finishing of the fibre.

Many FibreGuard fabric collections are GRS certified: please refer to our fabric samples to confirm which collections. Our unique GRS number is 1036513.

What is The Global Recycled Standard (GRS)?

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a certification program developed by OEKO-TEX® International to ensure that textiles made from recycled materials meet high environmental standards.

Like GOTS, GRS requires producers to follow strict guidelines during all stages of production, but it focuses specifically on using recycled materials in order to minimize waste and pollution caused by textile manufacturing processes.

GRS ensures that all recycled materials used to produce a product have been collected and processed in an environmentally responsible manner. It also regulates working conditions at recycling facilities.

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international standard that certifies the re-use of post-consumer textile fibres in new textiles. The GRS label lets consumers know that a garment is made from recycled materials, and how much of the fabric is recycled.

The Global Recycled Standard is used by many companies for their recycled apparel, including Patagonia, who says their GRS-labelled products are "made from up to 50% post-consumer recycled content."

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a certification that ensures that your clothes are made with recycled materials. To receive this certification, a garment must be made from at least 70% recycled fibres and materials. The remaining 30% can be new fibres or materials, but only if they meet strict requirements for energy use, process emissions and water use.

This label is regulated by the International Association for Textile & Fibre Research (IATF) and has been in place since 2015. It was created specifically to address the growing need for sustainable clothing production. The GRS aims to ensure that clothing companies are using recycled materials responsibly and sustainably, while also protecting workers' health and safety in the process.

Many FibreGuard fabric collections are GRS certified: please refer to our fabric samples to confirm which collections. Our unique GRS number is 1036513.

All about the Organic Content Standard (OCS)

This certification is awarded to goods that are guaranteed as containing organic content such as organic cotton. Each party involved in the chain of production, from yarn supply through to finished goods, is closely audited, and controlled to ensure the item contains genuine organic content.

Based on their composition, fabric is either awarded the ‘Organic Content Standard 100’ for fabrics containing more than 95% organic fibre, or the ‘OCS Blended – Organic Content Standard’ for fabrics containing between 5% and 95% organic fibre.

More and more FibreGuard fabric collections are OCS certified. Please refer to our fabric samples to confirm which. Our unique OCS number is 1036513.

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What is MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®?

MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is a new label that certifies sustainable production methods for companies who use recycled or natural materials in their manufacturing process.

The certification is recognized as one of the most stringent in the world and is used by more than 30,000 companies worldwide.

MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is a traceable product label for all kinds of textiles (e.g. garments, home textiles) and leather products (e.g. garments, finished and semi-finished leathers) including non-textile/-leather components (e.g. accessories). A MADE IN GREEN product ID proves that the product has been tested for harmful substances. This is achieved by certification according to STANDARD 100or LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®.

It also guarantees that the textile or leather product has been manufactured using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions. This is carried out through certification in accordance with STeP by OEKO-TEX®.

The unique product ID can be used to trace the product. It can thus be shown where the different stages of product manufacturing have taken place.

MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is a certification that ensures that a product has been manufactured with environmentally friendly materials and processes.

It is the only comprehensive third-party certification for textiles that covers all aspects of production and processing, from design to manufacturing and even recycling.

To create a MADE IN GREEN label (product ID), the applicant needs information about their supply chains. Every qualifying company within the supply chain can label its products and product lines with the MADE IN GREEN label.

This applies not only to manufacturers, but also to converters, wholesalers, retailers and brands.

  • Make use of MADE IN GREEN within your sustainability strategy: use the label to communicate that you have committed to the continuous and long-term implementation of sustainability goals within your production facilities.
  • MADE IN GREEN gives you transparent information and enables you to identify, compare and assess supply chains.
  • Enjoy the economic advantages, savings and an optimum position in global competition. As well as ensuring sustainability and social responsibility in production, STeP by OEKO-TEX® certification also forms the basis for more efficient production processes.
  • With the MADE IN GREEN label, you can prove to brands that your products have been tested for harmful substances and that they have been manufactured under sustainable and socially responsible conditions.

Over to you

Textile standards play a vital role in the consumer textile industry. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to ensure product safety for consumers and protect the ecology of natural resources used in manufacturing textiles.

As you can see from our guide, there are many different standards out there, and it's important to know which one is best for your needs.

We hope that we have afforded you with a comprehensive guide about one of the most important aspects: material and textile certification.