Which is more expensive linen or cotton
Why linen is the better cotton
Why is linen more expensive than cotton and why is a cotton product treated with so many chemicals? In a direct comparison, I have put together for you the big differences between the two plant-based natural materials.
In terms of production, linen is much more sustainable than cotton. The flax plant requires significantly less water to produce compared to the same amount of cotton. With flax, the natural rainfall is sufficient for the plants to grow and no additional irrigation is required.
Flax is very undemanding and even thrives on poor soil, whereas cotton requires large cultivation areas with good soil. In addition, 5 times less (or no) pesticides and fertilizers are used in the cultivation of flax than in the cultivation of cotton, because flax is not as susceptible. Flax cultivation is resource and environmentally friendly. A lot of pesticides are usually used in cotton cultivation so as not to endanger the harvest and yield.
Linen is processed mechanically and no chemicals are required, whereas a lot of chemicals are used in the processing of conventional cotton. Here, among other things, formaldehyde-containing synthetic resins are applied to the cotton fibers in order to prevent the fabrics from shrinking and wrinkling. To make the cotton fabrics shiny and stable, they are placed in a lye bath made from baking soda and ammonia. In addition, chemical softeners, dyes with toxic heavy metals or moth repellent are often used. The list of chemicals used in the production of cotton before it is processed into clothing and home textiles is unfortunately very long.
Overall, one can say that the cultivation and processing of linen is much more ecological, sustainable and environmentally friendly than the cultivation and processing of cotton. Healthier for us and our skin, better for our planet.
Linen is much more durable and stable than cotton because the flax fiber itself is extremely tear-resistant. This means that products made from linen are exceptionally durable. Cotton products wear out more and more over the years and lose their shape after several washes. On the other hand, linen products become more beautiful with every wash. At the same time, however, the linen fiber is not very elastic and therefore linen wrinkles faster than cotton. I don't see this as a disadvantage, on the contrary, because the natural creased look gives the linen fabric a casual elegance and liveliness.
In contrast to cotton, linen is antibacterial and dirt-repellent. Thanks to its bacteria-inhibiting and water-binding properties, linen ensures very little moisture and prevents the development of bacteria, so it is naturally germicidal and hygienic. The material even neutralizes odors. Linen is also hypoallergenic, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and sensitive skin. This is a big advantage over cotton, especially when it comes to bed linen.
Linen is also more breathable than cotton and has a very high water absorption capacity. A linen fabric can absorb up to 35% moisture and exchange this very quickly with the environment. This means that we sweat less under linen and the fabric has a pleasantly cool effect. Therefore, linen clothing or linen bed linen is very popular especially in summer.
What is often not considered is that linen can keep you just as warm as cotton in winter because of the low humidity. The density of the fabric influences how warm a fabric is. The heavier the linen material, i.e. the more densely it is woven, the more warm it is. However, a linen fabric that is too heavy can quickly become overwhelming and therefore linen in the home textiles sector should have a medium density in my opinion. So that it is nice and light and yet cozy and warm on cold days. We therefore use linen fabrics with a weight of 160g / sqm.
Another advantage of linen over cotton is that linen has a natural protection against electrostatic energy. The fibers continuously absorb moisture and release it back into the environment, so that electrostatic charging is not possible in principle. This makes the daily use of linen in the form of pillows, tea towels or clothing very pleasant.
The visual difference between linen and cotton is that cotton fabrics are flat, smooth and relatively even in their structure. Linen fabrics, on the other hand, have a striking, irregular structure with a lot of depth and liveliness. Therefore, linen is also used a lot for shootings - the fabric not only impresses with its properties, but is also much more interesting and charming than cotton in terms of appearance.
Linen products are definitely more expensive to buy than cotton products, and it really has to be. It is related to the fact that linen is much more complex to process because all processes and work steps are mechanical and therefore time-consuming and therefore cost-intensive. On the other hand, a product made of linen lasts many times longer than a product made of cotton, so buying linen over the years is also financially worthwhile.
If linen is offered particularly cheaply, then it is usually not a high-quality and durable linen material, but was made from short, inferior linen fibers (tow). In principle, tow is the “waste” that arises when the long flax fibers are combed out. These inferior linen fabrics are by no means as durable and hard-wearing as high-quality linen fabrics made from very long flax fibers (45-90cm long).
Ultimately, it is clear that linen beats cotton on all counts when compared. For me, the material is not only uniquely beautiful, it is also incredibly practical and sustainable. I like to invest a little more in durable and timeless materials because it simply pays off. Gone are the days when I always wanted something new, which is best then as cheap as possible. I now appreciate good things and know that you have to spend a little more for quality, sustainability and fairness, but that it is also worthwhile. Of course, cotton is also a wonderful natural material and is great for knitted sweaters or jeans. But we should try to use organic cotton, as it is treated with fewer chemicals and is generally better for us and our earth.
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