My chemical-free clothing needs

My need to secure chem-free clothing is urgent.

By Linda Sepp.

As I wrote previously, my clothing situation is dire. I have less than a dozen items left that are safe for me to wear, all of them are in shreds and I have been wearing the same ragged outfit, almost 24/7, for about five months. It’s all I have that I can wear, and it is almost unwearable. None of it is suitable to wear in public, or warm enough for winter. All it will need to be thrown out very, very soon.

So, what does a person need re clothing? Is there a socially accepted human rights list of what someone should have? Or how many changes of clothing? Am I still human enough to “deserve” more than one set of safe clothes? Or clothes that are wearable in public?

Here are some thoughts on chemical-free clothing:

Most organic cotton clothing includes either the seed (an irritant) or is processed with chemicals and synthetic dyes. It is often contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals in storage and shipping. I’ve not been able to detox those types of things.

I have had no success with organic cotton goods from India or China, and best success with organic cotton from Peru and Texas/USA. European regulations are also much stronger than elsewhere.

There is only one company with some clothing listed as being completely chemical-free, some made especially for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. If anyone knows of more sources for truly chemical-free clothing and footwear, please send the info.

NOTE: added January 2013

Please see the list of safer alternatives here:

https://lindasepp.wordpress.com/chemical-free-clothing-we-wish/

NOTE: added September 19,2012.

So many people are looking for chemical free clothing. There is a real need for it. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to exist.

I do NOT recommend Rawganique or the things listed below. Their product quality is not good, their customer service is horrid, and their products are NOT chemical free at all. They took just as much effort to detox as some regular clothing. See the post Laundry Decontamination Protocols.

An example of how the Rawganique advertising is misleading, if not completely untruthful: “Made from 100% hemp canvas from organic European hemp. Made in Europe. Sweatshop-free. No harsh chemicals or heavy metals were used in the production of our vegan hemp indoor slippers.”

Black foam inserts are not mentioned anywhere on the description.

I wore them out in less than a year, my feet sweated profusely whenever I did wear them, but my floors here are cold and painful without slippers.

I am going to put together a list of clothing suppliers that people with MCS have had some success with, but since people’s sensitivities vary, there are no sure things, yet…

Anyway, I now return you to the rest of the original post with what was my clothing wish list back in January 2010.

Clothing Brand: Rawganique

Rawganique, home-based in Canada, has listed a number of articles as being completely chemical-free. Chemical-free and undyed clothing has the most chance of success. Even so, numerous washings are required to remove residues from the manufacturing processes.

Suitable items that might work for me are listed below with sizes and colours; I need medium to large, loose fitting, undyed clothing.

RG841 Unisex Certified Organic Cotton Flannel Pajamas
$99.00
Men’s M
2 different kinds:

  • Pecan Brushed Flannel (colorgrown brown — unbleached & undyed)
  • Natural Organic Cotton Paris Sateen Pyjamas — silky & smooth

Chemical-free. No heavy metals or harsh chemicals whatsoever were used in their production. Bleach-free and dye-free. Fabrics: 5.5 oz organic cotton flannel or 230 ct. organic cotton sateen. Certified by IMO of Switzerland.

Hemp Pajamas
$109 for set
Men’s medium
Natural
Designed for the hemp purist, our Unisex Hemp Pajamas are made by Rawganique in Europe from certified organic hemp (with flax linen for structure). Sweatshop-free. Chemical-free. The fabric is a soft 45% hemp/55% linen jersey knit in a light sweater weight. Both hemp and linen fibers are hollow at the core, providing very good insulation in the winter and breathability in the warmer months. They are sustainably and mindfully made our fragile planet in mind.

Organic Cotton Fleece Thermal Long Johns
$135.00 for top & bottom set (or $69.00 each)
M (men’s M; women’s L)
Ecru Natural
Our Organic Cotton Fleece Thermal Long Johns are made from a specially spun 100% organic cotton fleece that’s brushed on both sides to a cashmere-like softness without the itchiness. It’s made from 100% organic cotton yarns (no polyester or latex or lycra). And as such, it’s the only truly pure and sustainable organic cotton fleece thermal underwear on the market for using as long johns or for the great outdoors. The fleece breathes and insulates well; its plushness will surprise you. The top doubles up as a cozy organic cotton fleece sweatshirt. There is no outgassing like recycled plastic fleece (recycling is good, but plastic is still plastic and petroleum-based). We started making these organic fleece undies when many customers asked us for pure thermals after suffering from severe allergies when wearing recycled plastic fleece clothing. The 100% certified organic cotton performance fleece is perfect under work clothes and overalls and/or ski suits, etc. as well.

Unisex Organic Linen Terry Jackets and Sweat Pants
RG745 Organic Linen Zippered Terry Jacket: $139.00
RG755 Organic Linen Terry Pants: $89.00
M (men’s M; women’s L) = M
Evening Sand Dunes (natural color of flax linen yarn)
Organic linen (65%) & organic cotton (35%) terry.
Our exclusive organic linen terry fabric truly exemplifies the legendary virtues of hollow-core baste fibers such as hemp and flax linen: they are breathable and very good insulators (they trap your own body heat to keep you warm and toasty even in very cold climates; in warmer climates, they wick away moisture at a fast clip, keeping you cozy without being trapped in perspiration).
They are warm, cozy, fuzzy, and incredibly comfortable to wear when the chill factor goes up in late summer/early fall all the way through to early spring. They are one of our warmest jackets: practical, handsome, and sustainable. The Organic Linen Terry Jackets have just enough of a collar to keep you warm when zipped up but not too much to be in the way. The collar of our organic linen jackets are lined with a soft, unbleached, & undyed 100% organic flax linen fabric where the jacket touches the skin on your neck.

Organic Cotton Fleece Sweatshirt
$69 each
Unisex M
Ecru Natural
Our Organic Cotton Fleece Sweatshirts are made from a proprietary fabric that’s especially spun for the occasion. It’s cotton-candy soft and cozy: the fleece is brushed on both sides to a plush, silky softness. It’s made from 100% organic cotton yarns (no polyester or latex or lycra in the fabric at all). There is no outgassing like recycled plastic fleece (recycling is good, but plastic is still plastic and petroleum-based). We started making these organic fleece sweaters when many customers asked us for pure thermals after suffering from severe allergies when wearing recycled plastic fleece clothing they’d bought elsewhere.

Certified Organic Cotton Yoga Flares made in USA
$59.00
Size L
Natural
These Organic Cotton Yoga Flares – Pants are a must-have: contemporary, comfortable and oh-so-versatile. The cctton/lycra stretch fabric waistband sits softly just below your waist. The straight legs are mid calf length with a 4″ slit on the inside seam. Light and fliud in our 100% Cotton Cashmere. Latex Free.

Organic Hemp Flax Linen Knit T-shirts
$34.00
Sml. Med.
Natural
This mindful cotton-free Organic Hemp & Flax Knit T-shirt is made specifically for the purist who will settle for nothing less than truly sustainable products in their wardrobe. From the raw, untreated 45% hemp and 55% flax fibers (both organically grown and processed without chemicals or pesticides of any kind in Romania) to the finished T-shirt that is cozy, comfy, & slitheringly soft, the whole manufacturing process is done in-house to make sure that every step of the way leaves as light a footprint as possible on this fragile planet of ours. Only water and mechanical combing were used to process the fibers; no chemicals, caustic sodas, or acids were used at any stage of production (not all hemp fibers are equal in purity: find out why).

Organic Long-sleeve Hemp Tee Top
$75.00
Large
Ivory (non-bleach hydr0gen-peroxide whitening)
It is made from the world’s first and only 100% organic European hemp knit, made especially for us by famed Danish knitter.
Made in Europe. Sweatshop-free, sustainable, and as pure as can be. Absolutely no heavy metals or chemicals were used in the production of our Organic Hemp Long-sleeve Top.

Long-sleeve Light Hemp Flax Linen Pullover
$49.00
Large
Natural
Boat neck. This versatile cotton-free hemp top is made from a lush 42% certified organic European hemp/58% flax linen jersey knit for true purity and ecological sustainability. The Hemp-Linen Pullover features a soft jersey knit that is completely elastic-free, Lycra-free, and Spandex-free, and natural as can be.

Colorgrown Organic Cotton Flannel Shirt
$74.00
Med
Colorgrown Pecan Brown. Unbleached, undyed.
Colorgrown Pecan means the cotton is grown in the brown color, completely unbleached & undyed. Absolutely no heavy metals or harsh chemicals were used in the production of our organic cotton shirts. We aim for true purity and environmental sustainability: even the buttons are made from natural shells or tagua nut; no plastic buttons for us. Our Organic Cotton Flannel Shirts are made from certified organic colorgrown flannel fabric that’s certified by IMO of Switzerland, a prestigious third-party organic certifier.

Unisex “Allergy Crew” Organic Cotton Socks
$9.50 (1 pair) or $27 (3-pack)
Large
Color: Natural (unbleached & undyed)
99.98% certified organic cotton; 0.2% Lycra (at the top only).
We are happy to carry the world’s highest percentage of organic cotton socks per our customers’ request. Since there isn’t much elastic to hold up these rare and unique organic cotton socks, we offer them in four sizes to accommodate different foot sizes. Designed specifically for chemically sensitive customers, the Allergy Crew Organic Cotton socks aren’t as hugging as the other organic cotton socks on this page, but for many, that’s just a small price to pay for having really pure organic cotton socks. Designed especially for people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities.

Vegan Organic Hemp & Flax Linen Socks
$10.00
Medium
Natural
Made from a very special 42% hemp and 58% flax linen knit blend with just a hint of elastic at the cuffs for a snug wrap-around, our cozy hemp | flax socks (shown above) are your best bet if you are looking for the most natural, pure, and ecologically sustainable socks. The certified organic hemp and flax are grown and processed without chemicals or pesticides of any kind in Romania.
These beautiful hemp/flax socks are very popular with customers who are chemically-sensitive or chemically-averse as well as customers who are looking for socks that are vegan and as synthetic- and chemical-free as can be. More info at bottom of page. Please scroll down to buy. … You won’t find a more eco-friendly pair of socks anywhere.

Hemp Household Slippers
$38.00
Size 8
Natural
Chemically sensitive customers have also reported great results with these low-impact hemp slippers, so much so that many use them outdoors as well as these hemp slippers are the only ones many multiple chemical sensitivities customers can tolerate. Slippers feature a free hemp zippered storage pouch which is very handy for storage and travel. Made from 100% hemp canvas from organic European hemp. Made in Europe. Sweatshop-free. No harsh chemicals or heavy metals were used in the production of our vegan hemp indoor slippers.

Bathrobes
(I’m not sure which one to choose)

Bathrobe 1A:
$189
Unisize
Organic Hemp Bathrobe 35% organic hemp/65% organic cotton

BArobe 1B:
$199
Unisize
Organic Linen Bathrobe 35% organic linen/65% organic cotton

Bathrobe 1C
$179
Unisize

Cannot be compared to terry products made in some other countries which are normally of a much lesser purity and quality.Our organic bath robes are also free from all chemicals at all stages of production: cultivation, processing, and manufacturing (all too often, factories producing organic products regrettably use formaldehyde and other highly toxic chemicals to wrinkle-proof organic cotton fabrics, thereby defeating the purpose of organic certification in the first place — our organic products are triple-certified, meaning that they are made from organically grown, processed, and manufactured cotton). Sweatshop-free. GMO-free. Chemical-free. Unbleached & undyed.

~~~

Any help that you might like to give me in securing any of these items would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your concern about my health, safety, and welfare.

Namaste,

Linda Sepp

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69 responses to “My chemical-free clothing needs

  1. Hi,

    I found your blog through the greenspiration list and I can relate to a lot of what you are experiencing–I have multiple food sensitivities as well as sensitivities to light and sound thanks to pharmaceutical drugs. A lot of what you describe (leaden feelings, cog fog for example ) are part of my life now too.

    I don’t know if you can wear wool? but there is a small business in Inverhuron, Ontario called Philosopher’s Wool. The owners make their own wool and apparently they do make wool that is not chemically treated. Here is a little blurb from their site:

    “In 1986 Eugene Bourgeois, a sheep farmer and mystical philosopher started Philosopher’s Wool so that he could buy fleece from Ontario farmers at a decent price. By profit sharing, he has been able to pay them over $2 a pound instead of the pennies that they were able to get on the open market.

    This meant that he had to develop a special market to attract knitters to Philosopher’s Wool and he did so by producing a wool that has not been treated with the usual chemical processes and retains a percentage of the natural lanolin. Philosopher’s Wool has been described as non-allergenic; it certainly is wonderfully comfortable both to knit with and to wear.”

    (and their site:
    http://www.philosopherswool.com/Pages/ShortStory.htm )

    I hope this helps. 🙂

    Warm wishes,

    Jenny

  2. Linda, I’d like to purchase something for you from Rawganique. What is your priority?

    Would you kindly respond to me at my email address directly, and I will watch for your communication.

    solidarity,
    Varda

  3. Jenny, thank you. I’ve been looking for local(ish) chem free wool so I could try to crochet some slippers and a hat. The organic wool I bought a couple of years ago had been washed in something extremely fragranced. I will contact these people to see exactly what they process with, fingers crossed.
    Varda, thank you. Until I have a way to wash clothes (safe water and machine) I cannot detox even these, the safest of clothes, from the little residues.

  4. Just found this blog post, sorry that the clothing I have won’t fit 😦

  5. Thanks for being willing to share Judie.

  6. http://janices.com/
    http://www.cottonique.com/

    I purchased chemical-free sheets from janices, and when they arrived I couldn’t detect any odor on them at all. I still washed them three times, that being my normal habit. It was heavenly to slip between them the first time (and has been every time since).

    I just started ordering from cottonique. When that order came in, I thought I could detect a slight odor, but it could have simply been from the boxes that they were packaged in. Again, washed three times. I had ordered underwear, and it was very pleasant to put them on in the evening when I got home. They were undies and bra with drawstrings rather than elastic. That is taking me a while to get used to. Not elegant looking, but very comfortable (and non itchy).

    Most of the clothes these companies sell is leisure clothing. However, I often see people in jogging suits at the store, which some of the items at Janices look like. Another avenue would be to wear leisure clothing underneath something that is almost, but not quite, chemical free. I have sometimes done that with pants and shirts that take dozens of washings before I can place them right on my skin.

    From my local store, I am able to get the Columbia brand of cotton shirts and pants. I wear mens shirts and pants because they seem to have a little less stuff on them, and they last longer than womens clothes. Even though the shirts and pants are unwearable before a dozen washings, they do become wearable after that. Small price to pay for having normal looking clothes.

  7. Hi Janice, thanks for your suggestions. The Cottonique things I received were saturated in pesticides.
    The purest Rawganique things I chose seem like they’ll be good once I have access to safe water to wash them in a number of times.

    • Hello,
      I just read your comment RE: Cottonique A big AMEN!! to you.
      I too ordered from cottonique. VERY unhappy+ nothing fit+they won’t refund your $$. Have to get a store credit for more unhappy items. This is bad business & their advertising does not live up to any standards they represent.
      Don’t order from them I say.

      • Hi Kila,
        It is really disappointing about Cottonique. Their advertising makes the stuff sound wonderful, when in fact: it isn’t chemical free (it could be from shipment containers heavy with pesticides), it doesn’t fit properly and then loses shape even more, their boxes came dusty (they didn’t even bother to wipe them down before shipping) … and yes, lousy customer service to boot. So sad when people take advantage of those who are vulnerable.

  8. Hi Linda. I hope you are able to find a place to live. It must be very difficult. I often joke that I think it is the preservatives keeping me alive!

    Good luck to you.
    Charlene

  9. We received this feedback from a few of our customers and have done some investigation. The findings were that the shipping company that the products had been shipped through had been fumigated, we use a 3rd Party shipment company. We have made adjustments to our packaging and logistics, for example, we now use biodegradable plastic instead of paper boxes (plastic is less environmentally friendly but plastic works better to keep the garments free from pesticides). We also spoke to our shipping company and got them to keep our products in a pesticide-free area.
    As for the Fit of garment, we have been taking our customer feedback and applying it to our garments fit. The garments we produce are always improving with your comments. Yes, we do put a lot into marketing, and we do put a lot into research and development. Its not easy selling products to a niche market. We try our best. I hope you will reconsider Cottonique again. I would actually like to send some of you on the comment list some free product so you can see how our products have improved. Please email us at customerservice@cottonique.com and mention this article to receive a free product.

    • Thanks very much for responding here.
      I have sent you an email and look forward to seeing the improvements.

    • Just a thought re customer service… maybe answering emails would be a good place to start… again, just a thought…

    • Suresh Brady

      I know my comments are a few years later than this post. I have 2 Cottonique items, a short and long sleeve t-shirt. Both are great. The packaging is as described by Cottonique above, very well sealed in an air tight package. The fit for me is great and I don’t react to the garments as they are both unbleached and undyed.

  10. June 1st, and still no response from Cottonique re my email sent 2 weeks ago. I don’t understand why they’d make a comment here and then not respond. Did anyone else contact them and get a response?

    • They have finally replied and are sending me something to try. I chose the string bikini bottoms as they seem most adjustable. The other briefs aren’t quite tight enough. I’ll keep you posted : )

  11. Aloha Linda,

    I am very grateful to run across your blog. I came across it because I have very strong ethics around earth-centric living, and made the resolution this year that I only want to purchase clothing that I can literally compost into our organic (we’re eventually going for certification) farm. I found, however, that we have much more in common – I also have a lot of food sensitivities, and sensitivities to light, sound, chemical and airborne pollutants, and quite strongly with EMF and EMR, resulting in EHS as well. I’ve had quite a lot of health issues, immune dysfunction, as well as major sleep and menstrual issues…also, muscles pull more easily due to adrenal fatigue and elevated cortisol. I found out a year and a half ago that I have heavy metals in high levels – mercury, lead, and then radioactives: cesium, barium, thallium…

    I imagine you have, but have you ever done a comprehensive testing from a lab that cross-references blood, hair, and urine? Doctor’s Data does a Toxic Metals test, and Quicksilver Labs, out of CO (you mail-in 🙂 does a cross-reference of hair/urine/blood to see your excretion ability (I’m not able to secrete on my own, so I just have a ton of them in here that have probably been building up my whole life). I am currently pussyfooting around chelation, as I’ve gotten violently ill every time I’ve attempted. I’m working with a great doctor here in Hawai’i, Dr. Alan Thal, at drthal.com . He sees quite a lot of patients like us…especially because of the volcanic pollution here (which has tons of metals – likely how I picked some of it up), there are many with a lot of health problems like chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia. From the research I’ve done, and all the doctors I’ve seen over the past 10 years in my healing journey, I strongly relate metal poisoning to all of the things you listed above – chemical and environmental sensitivities, Fibro, and a EHS.

    I’m also wondering if you know of Vitamineral Green by HealthForce Nutritionals – they have the most rigid standards of any food company that I have found so far, and their products are a god/dess send. But watch out – I took the intestinal detox formula recently – the smaller recommended amount – and it spun me into such intense detox I had the worst flu-like symptoms I remember having – especially the joint pain – for 18 hours.

    Through all this, I’ve become even more of an environmentalist, an avid naturalist, and have come to grips that in my heart, I’m a Luddite (I’m on a computer, but won’t use a cellphone or cordless phone and am, morally, opposed to technology and our obsession with it) and want us to return to living in harmony with the earth – and I am gaining knowledge and learning skills to make my life as local and sustainable as possible. Even with chronic fatigue and health issues. I care deeply for our planet and ALL the beings on it, not just the humans…and through all of this I have gained far greater (and ever deepening) clarity into the ways that our modern life and culture simply DO NOT work, and how we keep perpetuating a model that we are already paying for – and will pay much more greatly for before we return to harmony – perhaps the harmony that will arise from extinction.

    I am very interested to hear more of your healing journey, and hope that some benefit can result from our dialogue, for ourselves, for others, for the planet.

    With Warm Aloha,
    Jenna

  12. Hi Jenna,
    So sorry to hear that you too have been so negatively impacted by the modern greed and petrochemical version of progress…
    It does teach us a lot though, doesn’t it?
    Healing requires fresh air, filtered water, and being away from toxic “consumer” products. It also requires good quality supplements and organic foods.
    Depending on what pathways in our bodies have been damaged, there are other things we may need to do, but avoidance of the substances that harm us is numero uno.
    I have been improving at the cabin because the outdoor air is so much better here (except for weekends when the city folk come up, even though they are mostly several acres away, they still manage to poison the air).
    I haven’t been able to go for testing to tweak the supplements I’m using, as I simply can’t afford to. Maybe some day after I get settled into a new home.

    : )

  13. It was recently brought to my attention that someone else had lousy customer service and incomplete product descriptions from Rawganique, and it reminded me of the trouble I had with them last year (it’s not all resolved, but I haven’t had the ability to deal with it all)

    They short ordered my shipment, didn’t include a packing slip, over-billed me, took months to respond to the packing slip issues, and caused major grief with my credit card…

    Their sizing is really off with some products.

    I ordered medium in the fleece sweatsuit/ longjohns and the top is extra (extra?) large and the pants are way too small, plus they have huge knit cuffs and an uncovered elastic waistband, not mentioned in the description.

    I ordered 2 flannel shirts, they came separately, and one has synthetic interfacing in the cuffs and collar, also not mentioned.

    I ordered drawstring pj’s. They came with a sewed-in elastic, and a drawstring too short to stay out when pulling the pants up and down, or to tie properly when up. The quality of flannel isn’t very good either. I had to manually remove the elastic, and resew the waistband for just the drawstring.

    A pair of fisherman’s pants (I think that’s what they call them) came saturated with patchouli oil.

    Several of the things I’d wanted to order weren’t in stock.

    The things I did receive still required at least 2 weeks of soaking and washing and several sessions of boil, rinse, boil, rinse, boil, rinse… over a few more days.

    I think there were other issues too, but I don’t remember where I wrote them down.

    It’s really disappointing when a company with so much potential blows it with lack of proper descriptions, sizing and quality issues, and really bad customer service.

    On the other hand, I also ordered some clothing from Janice’s, and their customer service was great. They listened, and they got it right. Unfortunately the things reached me (via Toronto) only when the lake water pump was shut off last year, so I haven’t been able to wash/detox them so don’t know how long it will take, if it’s any easier. I asked for them to pre-wash them a couple of times (a service they use mostly for the textiles they sell) but I knew it wouldn’t be enough. Some of the things are hanging on the line in the sun and rain… waiting for better access to water… one of the tshirts fell and got tromped on by the bear, so I’ll have a memory imprint there…

    The $5 cotton items from Thailand that I picked up at Bwana Jones (while in a complete daze) last summer, got put through the laundry protocol too, requiring only marginally more time and effort than the rawganique things in order to remove traces of incense and a lot of the dye, and they are fine, what I managed to process anyway. I had several enamelled canning pots, enamelled and SS bowls with things soaking in them OUTSIDE, and spent about a month and a half of hard labour working to get something to wear, as I was down to almost nothing, and they were disintegrating too. I kept notes as to keep track of what I was doing, because otherwise I wouldn’t remember…

    I look forward to seeing if the things from Cottonique are now free of shipping container pesticide residues, which would make their things easier to detox for severe MCS.

    I sure do miss the days I could browse around in 2nd hand and outlet shops… I would have never imagined it could be this difficult to clothe oneself safely.

  14. Products I’ve purchased from Cottonique over the last two months vary: one took two washings and most require about eight. My order that arrived last week was the most potent. Customer service? Some people should not be allowed to deal with the public.

  15. Thanks for your comment A.

    Cottonique’s customer service does leave a lot to be desired, if you expect customer service to be fast and efficient. They are VERY slow to respond to anything. I finally received the gift/sample from 2 weeks ago (Aug 2), so that took over 3 months!

    I put them hanging outside for a week, but haven’t been up to washing them (which would require me to carry a lot of water outside, as I don’t have a laundry sink here in the laundry room, and can’t “stink” up the kitchen or bathroom, as I got sick trying to detox things inside these spaces). All that to say I’m not yet sure how safe or toxic they are, and how many washes they’ll require.

    One thing that popped out was a little card saying they include the cotton seed. I don’t know if they always did, or if this is a new and cheaper way for them to do business. While it sounds like a sustainable thing to do, the seed and oil irritate a lot of people with sensitive skin, so there’s another strike against them.

    I really wish their quality, fit (previous undergarments lost shape and fit horribly, and are too flimsy), as well as service and responses were better, as they do provide products that are much needed (the no elastic, drawstring undergarments).

    I’ll keep y’all posted on how well these last things I got detox and fit. Apparently they are discontinuing the ones I ordered, which may be a shame, since they have the potential to fit better than the others, and look to be much less flimsy, more sturdy (is that the right word? probably not).

  16. Hi linda, any success with the cottonique gift yet? Im thinking about trying them myself cause ive been without anything to wear for a few months now.

    Im glad i was able to find your blog and get some much needed info on some of these products.

    Im lucky enough not to have any skin reactions like some people do but i cant find anything in any stores that wont make my mouth, throat and the inside of my nose swell up, burn and itch.

  17. Im also curious if youve tried mamasearth.com and what you think of them. I found them through the list at http://www.princesstigerlily.com/mcs/cotton.html

  18. Hi Dennis, I just got your comments now or would have responded earlier. I was going to comment on the Cottonique gift this week anyway, as I finally was able to do the detox on them last week.

    The ones I chose were their string bikinis (probably not suitable for men) because they looked most adjustable size wise. They came direct from Malaysia and were wrapped in foil too (as per my request).

    I boiled them 3 times and soaked and washed them as many times, and they were safe to wear!!! That is the least amount of detoxing I’ve had to do on anything in a long, long while. I also like the quality of the cotton, it is much thicker than their other products. I’m very happy with these. They fit great too! Sadly, they told me when I ordered them, that they were discontinuing this item. I don’t know why, it’s the best quality thing they have, in my opinion.

    Last week I also boiled, soaked and washed the same amount of times some of their regular drawstring products that my daughter had sent me last fall. They arrived in dusty boxes, so had been sitting around somewhere for who knows how long. I put them on a clothesline for a couple of weeks then, and at least a month, probably 2, earlier this year, so it’s something that doesn’t just air out. They are no-where near ready to wear after the same amount of detoxing I did on the string bikinis, I can still detect a chemical pesticide? residue on them.

    Perhaps the changes they’ve made now mean the fit and contamination issues are taken care of for new orders. Hopefully someone will let us know.

    ps. no I haven’t tried the other company you mentioned

  19. Linda, what size do you wear? I have a few items I could spare, but they are petite small and extra small sizes.

    • Thank you Anya for your kind offer.
      I wear med-large, or around a size 12, depending on the product, so I’m not going to fit into those!

  20. Hello Linda:

    I also have MCS and cannot wear new things unless they are aired out and washed for a long time. Its good to read all these organic clothing suggestions. It would be nice if there were more stylish items to choose from but for you just getting the basics is essential now. My question to you is. What type of detergent do you use to clean your items? I have been using Armon Hammers Baking Soda liquid scent free, dye free detergent which is so far the only thing tolerable but I still have a little reaction from it. This would be helpful.

    Thank you
    Heidi Taylor

    • Hi Heidi,

      I haven’t been able to use any commercial products in years. Even the soap flakes available here ended up affecting me due to some kind of chemical contamination in them, and I found them to be very inconsistent re what they were made from.

      I now use Arm and Hammer baking soda that I buy in 50lb bags to avoid retail contamination (altho it has had a slight fragrance contamination for the last year or more that it never had before, and it’s in the product, not from the bags, but A&H claims there’s no changes in their processing)

      The baking soda I used before that developed a diesel like contamination in late 2009, and just yesterday I tried it again, and it’s still there, so it seems it’s a manufacturing process issue /change, and not an accidental spill of some sort.

      Most people wouldn’t notice these amounts of contamination, but lucky me, I do…

      Thankfully, I can still use the A&H bs but I’m not soaking things to detox them anymore so I don’t know how that would work, because I don’t have laundry machines or a laundry sink in the laundry room here or an extract fan in the bathroom, so soaking things where I have water would affect the air quality too much. I can also use a bit of borax if it gets well washed out after, and can add food grade hydrogen peroxide to either the bs or borax if I need a bit of extra cleaning power.

      For detoxing new things, even things from Rawganique, I had to soak them overnight in a combination of those things, many times, and then boil them a couple to a few times. Perhaps a washing machine would have cut down on the number of soaks, I don’t know. Some kind of soap most likely definitely would, but then the question would remain if I could get the soap residues out… So far I haven’t had the opportunity to check that out.

      Next on my list of things to try are soap nuts. They seem quite promising.

      • Hi, Linda:

        So sorry to hear about your situation!

        I suggest HessNatur and Blue Canoe. I’ve had good luck with them. I’ve never ordered from Rawganique, but I’ve read that their customer service can be very bad.

        I may have some old clothes that you could use. Please write to me at (edited out)and let me know what’s possible for you to try on. Can you, for example, tolerate Lycra (spandex) in something made mostly out of organic cotton? Can you tolerate any dyes? Or is your situation very much hit or miss?

        Best,

        Kathy

        • Thank you Kathy, I’ll look into those places when I have a better way to wash/detox clothing.
          I don’t tolerate lycra now… the dyes in the clothes I’m wearing were washed and boiled out before I could wear them.
          I hope that by next year I have more options, as I’ll possibly have worn through the things I’ve been wearing since autumn 2010!
          Everything’s still difficult because I don’t have a laundry sink or W&D in the laundry room, and with my back and frozen shoulder it means I can’t be carrying pots of water outside to soak things that need detoxing there. Or boil things… The water from the hose outside isn’t filtered so I can’t use that either.
          Until I have either a better functioning body so I can haul the pots of water outside, or laundry facilities in the laundry room, I can’t think of getting new (or used things) because I can’t do anything with them now if they aren’t safe enough right off the bat.
          I’ve just had a 2nd carbon put into the whole house system inside (instead of a prefilter) and that means I can at least wash my safe things in the kitchen sink instead of bent and twisted over the bathtub. That will make keeping these clothes cleaner much easier on me.
          So, for now, I seem to be managing with what I have… It would be a problem only if I had to go anywhere…
          ps, I’m going to edit your email addie from your comment

  21. Okay, Linda. I’ll check back for updates. Best wishes.

  22. German company that produces chemical-free clothing:
    http://www.natur-co.de/

  23. Thanks for the post Linda! I can really relate to your disability in handling foreign particles. If you’ve found any other toxic-free things thus far, I’d like to know about them.

    • I wish you luck! I don’t think there’s such a thing in the world we live in now though…

      There’s a whole list of things some people have found to be safer at the tab at the top – https://lindasepp.wordpress.com/chemical-free-clothing-we-wish/

      I personally still don’t have a washer or dryer and this housing is not set up in a way that I can detox things safely by hand (no filtered water outside, no ventilation in the kitchen or bathroom, etc) so I have not been able to search out and test new things myself, except for a few things I tried from Dharma Trading that still need more detox than I’ve been physically able to cope with in my present circumstances.

      We need more manufacturers making non-toxic clothing, I get so many hits on the blog from people searching for it.

      Hope you are able to find things that work for you!

      A washer and dryer would make things infinitely easier on me, and allow me to prepare some other clothing before the ones I’ve been wearing day in, day out for 3 years disintegrate…

  24. Hello,
    My name is Jane. I am an eco-designer from San Francisco. Found you blog and it’s very interesting to read the researches about green life and green clothes. Now I do have a project with Peruvian organic cotton. Not much items but you can check it out. All clothes made from handmade textile, non-allergic and undyed cotton. if you’re interested ping me on my fb page:
    https://www.facebook.com/#!/LaTurtlet

    • Hi Jane! You have some really nice things there.
      Can I ask if you are fragrance free from beginning to end?
      A lot of my readers need clothing that doesn’t have any fragrance residues.
      Detoxing these to remove fragrance residues (with countless washes) would probably destroy them.

  25. Why is it so hard to find unbleached/undyed clothes, just simple things like t-shirts, socks, underwear? And why are they ten times more expensive, if the bleaching and dyeing processes are eliminated? I don’t understand it. Where can I order a ten pack of unbleached cotton t-shirts that isn’t $100??

    • Good questions!!!
      Did you look through the Chemical-Free (we wish) tab at the top of the blog?

      I don’t know if the Dharma Trading tshirts could work for you. They are white (maybe non-chlorine bleached, I don’t remember) and don’t have sizing chemicals as they are sold primarily to people who want to dye them, meaning there are less chemicals added to them.

  26. I hope to start my own linen business soon, but for now, check out http://www.lifegivinglinen.com Maybe what you need.

  27. Hi Wendy,
    When I win the lottery, I’m placing some orders with you!
    Ontario Disability Support Program doesn’t cover investment pieces, even if they are required to function, so these things are out of my range now.
    Hopefully there are people who recognize the value and can afford it too!
    I wish you success!
    I have a question regarding the fabrics, can you send out sample pieces for people to test?
    Perhaps little 3″ squares, as a way for severely “sensitive” people to see if something might work for them before investing?

    • Hi, I would be happy to mail out a fabric sample, with thread around the edges to test out. Just send an email to extramileclothing@gmail.com
      I’m really sorry about the cost, I know ODSP doesn’t allow much for living on. Using the best materials is the only way to ensure the cleanest possible garments, and I don’t want to compromise on that.

    • Hello Linda,
      Sorry for the delay in replying to your original response. I thought I signed up for notifications but didn’t, only checked back after a few weeks. I saw your post about Dr Molot’s book and got it from the library yesterday. Now I’ve connected the dots that you are the blog author and also in Toronto.
      I have seen your posts about clothing many times and kept in mind as I work on starting my business making “non-toxic” clothes. With everything else I’m doing, including de-toxing my own environment, travelling to endless specialist appointments, researching, all with few resources, my attention to detail and communication is never quite up to speed.
      I’ve just liked your facebook pages but would be interested in connecting with you on email. I would be happy to send you a garment to try out- some undies, an undershirt or camisole. I’d need your size.
      I am also on OW, doing the self-employment program. I know what that system is like. I also have a history of trauma and am in therapy for that too. So I’ve got all the angles covered ?
      Wouldn’t it be nice to get special clothing covered by ODSP. Is there any chance? Molot’s book is a good basis to make a case.
      Instead of fighting to get on ODSP, the time, effort and misery involved, I chose to go on OW and try this business. I have faith, because I know the need is there. I know what it’s like for a garment to be unwearable because of one tiny component, like thread, elastic, or buttons. I know how painful it is and how life becomes impossible and very dark when you’re allergic to things that everyone else takes for granted.
      Best regards

      Wendy

      • Sincere apologies for the delay in responding.

        My modem died and I was offline for a week and a half, then my old computer crashed too many times when I got the toxic modem replacement hooked up, so I had to transfer things to the new and not off-gassed computer, have a severely infected tooth extracted, and other stuff, all while having severe brain fog… so I missed some emails that had piled up and couldn’t respond to these until you pointed out I hadn’t responded.

        I have to decline your very kind and generous offer of a sample item as I am currently unable to detox/wash any new clothing (for too many reasons to list), and I don’t know when circumstances will change to allow me to get to it, it could take months, and you’d likely get impatient wanting to know how it was going.

        I wish you well with your business, as there is definitely a need for it.

  28. Hello Linda, I have been meaning to leave a message for you from many months ago in regards to your problem which I can definitely relate to as I have the same problem with being able to find new clothes. It is so frustrating and depressing I don’t know how you cope as sometimes I feel like giving up.
    I have a lot of health problems and inbalances in my immune system and suffer with severe endometriosis which is extremely painful at times to say the least. I am 37 yrs and have had this skin problem for around 17 yrs which worsens as I get older. I can’t even find bed sheets or a matress to sleep on so I have to sleep on just my divan base which gives me back problems and pains.
    I don’t know where to shop so I just give up most times. Then I also have the added problem of my skin suddenly rejecting certain clothes that I have been able to wear for many years. However I have more clothes than you that I can still wear which are mainly old ones. Washing new clothes loads of times also doesn’t help, so I don’t even bother with that. I get all sorts of skin irritation from clothes-prickliness, itching and mainly severe burning like my skin is on fire or being burnt with acid or some strong chemical.
    I have also tried some organic clothes but have had no luck there either. I have also tried people tree, minimum,selected femme-all of which are supposed to be curative clothing, but still no luck.
    Alot of my clothes are getting holes. Last year after months and months I found some skirts which I bought in batch then it turned out that some were ok to wear whilst some were not. Maybe some were dye using different dyes even though they were all in the same style and colour-who knows. I have the same trouble with shoes too-I am allergic to everything. I can’t even sit on chairs or on the bus without my skin burning me or sleep at friends or family. It is so annoying and soul destroying-how on earth are we supposed to live a decent life and function without being able to wear clothes?- I really do need some new clothes for work!!!!
    Oh how I miss the days when I could wear anything when I was younger. I now feel like I am living a nightmare that I can’t escape from. Can you recommend any worthwhile companies that are truly safe for people like us? I live in London.
    To anyone else other than Linda Sepp that can relate to this-can you recommend any clothe shops in London that I could try-I am desperate for some help in this as I am going crazy.
    When I have more time I wlll write some more.

    • Hi Caroline,
      So sorry to hear you’re having so many challenges too.

      I wonder if you have tried using filtered water or spring water with your laundry (at least for a couple of final rinses)
      The chemicals in unfiltered tap water really affected my skin (and body) even after I was able to detox the textile chemicals.

      Regarding what is truly safe, there is no one answer. We could each be having issues with different chemical combinations.

      There’s a whole list of things some people have found to be safer at the tab at the top
      (they are probably mostly US based, but would ship all over, I imagine… HessNature is only in Germany now, they don’t have a US office anymore, but I don’t know how safe they are for severe sensitivities.)

      https://lindasepp.wordpress.com/chemical-free-clothing-we-wish/

      The laundry decontamination protocols have helped many people (altho it’s a long and arduous process, and sometimes it’s hard to know if we should give up or keep trying)

      https://lindasepp.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/laundry-decontamination-protocols/

      MCS Aware is in the UK, they might know the best local sources for safer things.
      If you are on facebook, there are a couple of UK based pages and groups there too.

  29. Caroline Taylor

    Hello Linda, it’s Caroline Taylor again here from London. Omg!, I have just now seen your reply to my post and I am extremely greatful that you took the time out to respond to me..I can’t stop smiling inside!!

    There is sooo much I want to say to you and ask. Firstly I will start by saying that I was sooo happy to see from an old story of yours from years ago on the internet that you finally managed to find somewhere to live that was manageable for you. Do you still live in that secluded place which is more suitable for people with your (our) condition? Did you manage to get a suitable washing machine to make it easier to wash and detox your clothes? Do you have similiar allergy problems to food aswell and how long have you suffered with this debilitating condition? Have you developed any new symptoms over the years?

    Have you tried severely changing your diet to improve your immune system and detoxing-especially your liver?? to see if you can improve any of your symptoms other than just avoiding things? (I read some interesting articles from dr Mercola who says that water distillers and certain filtered water can be bad for your health in other ways and can absorb toxins from the air even more so than normal because of the way it is processed when filtered?-I can’t remember everything the article said but as you like to acquire knowledge where you can maybe you could google it to read it for yourself if you are interested, he also said that reverse osmosis water is safer apparently)..He writes alot of other useful info on health and has written info on mcs aswell.

    At least you have been able to tolerate filtered water when detoxing your clothes. I don’t seem to have a problem when washing my clothes in normal water and only some detergents I have noticed a reaction with. However sometimes my skin will itch when I soak in the bath-probably from the water’s toxins. They say soda bicarbonate is good to put in your bath to detox radiation from the body and bentonite clay is good to use in the bath or consume to draw out toxins and heavy metals from the body. I tried washing my clothes with bicarbonate soda to soften the water which is hard in my area and also because I wanted to use a healthier option, but it leaves a white residue in my machine and white marks on my clothes.

    I am curious to know if you are able to use a regular computer/lap top without getting any symptoms when you write on your website? I was wondering if you may also suffer from electromagnetic sensitvity or get problems with the radiation exposure from them? I find that when I use any type of mobile it immediately starts to hurt my hand and gives me an earache and headache and I can’t use lap tops either.

    I can only use computers as they are corded and therefore use a weaker signal strength to work which doesn’t noticibly affect me. I actually want to buy a computer for home but a lot of them are contaminated with lead and mercury or other things and I was wondering if you know of any safer types of computers for people like us to use that we can at least tolerate?

    Anyway, I will give your poor brain a rest for now from all my questions but I look forward to hearing from you again and best of luck to you in all your endeavours and I hope you are doing okay despite everything you are going through.

    Best wishes always,

    Caroline.

    • Hi Caroline,
      I am not able to respond to everything now, and hope I will be eventually… but briefly, the place I live is NOT secluded, it’s suburban and the neigbours use toxic laundry products, pesticides, and burn wood… Inside is safe but ventilation is problematic… I don’t have a W&D yet… and I use wired technology (no wireless at all)… my current (new and newish) set-up is not totally safe for me (still offgassing) but my old modem died and my old computer kept crashing. I have no useful, fast answers for safer tech except to ask the providers and manufacturers, and get reading boxes built (see a recent post) and air purifiers… (I’d like to be able to bill the toxic manufacturers for them)…

  30. Hi Linda

    I have spent the last 2 years creating a line of 100% chemical free clothing. The dyes and mordants are 100% chemical free and the cotton is 100% organic. The techniques used are from the ancient science of Ayurveda. The herbs/roots are all sourced from the forest tribes and the dyeing is done by hand. This ancient knowledge is not known to everyone and due to the lack of awareness these techniques are slowly disappearing as the younger generations do not find it profitable to continue the art.

    My aim is to ensure that this knowledge does not fade away like all other good things in this world.

    I’d be happy to send you a sample tshirt for you to use. Most of the people I have given them to, absolutely love sleeping in them.

    Rgds
    Thriv

    • Sounds absolutely fantastic Thriv! I love what you are doing. People from all over the world land on this site searching for chemical-free clothing, so there is obviously a global need for it (and caring for the earth in the process). Thank you!

    • I would love to try a sample tshirt! Finding clothing to sleep in is always a problem…

      • I received some samples, and the dyeing process has potential, but unfortunately whoever manufactured the shirts had serged strips of plastic into the shoulder seams in a way that they could not be removed 😦
        I had to recommended full control of the supply chain, as using shirts that didn’t comply would negate the point of safe dyes.

        I’d love to have safe cotton and linen shirts (not knits), in weaves or thicknesses that can be worn without bras.

        • It’s so frustrating, I was excited to find some 100% cotton shirts this summer then realized after one wearing that there was plastic in the shoulder seams….I can’t wear them!

          • Yes, but they were just a cheap shirt from a local department store.

          • These were supposedly organic t-shirts, probably also got on sale, they must have been from the same manufacturing batch!!! Someone really messed up and then unloaded them without making it known why they were so cheap. It wasn’t easy to discover, I’d washed them (by hand, outside) several times (as the shirt material wasn’t great for me)… I hadn’t turned them inside out until after about 5 days, and then the sun caught on the plastic…

          • I wear them inside out around the house:)

          • I have to wear most things inside out because even with organic clothing, the thread often isn’t… As for these shirts, I couldn’t detox them due to the original organic tshirt being conventional (and not having machines). I need to process conventional organic (when the processing isn’t certified) things too many times (and by hand, outside) to be safe to wear, just not possible with plastic in the product! Hey, if I find where I put them, and if you are ever in the area, you can have them for indoor wear 😉

  31. Your thoughts are great and I would like to get involved in the work you are doing. Please let me know a way to reach you so we can talk offline. Thank you !

  32. Vicki Tyndall

    Have any of you read the Doctoral Thesis from the Stockholm University Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry 2015 by Giovanna Luongo “Chemicals in textiles”. I found it well worth the read and very depressing as she also included some organics in her study and found chemicals in some of them. I sent a letter and have heard nothing back.

  33. I’m so happy to come across this blog! I’m have always had sensitive skin & chemical perfume allergies. I’m having a real problem with bras & shirts causing my back to break out. So far in Ontario I’ve only found online sources of cotton clothing/ bras (a lot which contain spandex!). I hesitate to order items that cannot be shipped back as they tend to be expensive. Any ideas or thoughts as to where it can shop, or tri d & true products I can order? At this point going braless all the time is not an option;)

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