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- The Textile Exchange named bedding startup Boll & Branch as the largest consumer of Organic Fair Trade Certified cotton, ahead of companies like Patagonia and Nike, in 2018.
- Boll & Branch only uses 100% organic cotton and has an entirely organic manufacturing process (GOTS certified).
- Customers pay a premium for sheets (typically $160-$305 depending on size) but get better-but-not-perfect alternatives in a high-impact industry.
- If you're looking for more sheets, check out our buying guide to the best sheets here.
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Bedding startup Boll & Branch only uses 100% organic cotton to make its sheets. Its luxury sheets are soft-to-the-touch, look and feel high-end, and come from a chemical-free supply chain.
We tested its best-selling Classic Hemmed Sheet Set ($160-$305; $240 for a Queen) and appreciated how soft the sheets were, as well as their 17-inch-deep pocket, color range (10 colors currently), and the expansive size range (which includes things like a split king). However, we did think they were slightly less breathable than other options in the guide.
Unsurprisingly, nice organic cotton sheets resonated with shoppers online. We called the company one of the biggest viral-marketing successes of the past several years in 2016 and, in 2018, the company was named the world's largest consumer of Organic Fair Trade Certified cotton by volume in the annual Textile Exchange Preferred Fibre and Materials Benchmark, ahead of giants like Patagonia and Nike.
Organic materials are a more environmentally friendly choice than traditional cotton in general. Organic materials minimize the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides, require far less water and water pollution, and their organic growing systems emphasize soil fertility and biologically diverse agriculture. (Based on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) findings, organic cotton production saved 1,982 gallons of water on average globally from 2008-2013 when compared to chemically grown cotton when making an average-sized t-shirt). It also minimizes workers' exposure to chemicals and pesticides, as well as to their local land.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, approximately half of all textiles in the world are made of cotton, and cotton growing's pollution and diversion of water have had severe impacts on major ecosystems already, so switching from traditional cotton to organic is an ecological priority.
But, despite its positive environmental and social impact, the choice is, for many companies, just as much about prioritizing overall comfort. According to the Textile Exchange, cotton quality comes down to staple (read: fiber) length, and "longer staples produce softer, smoother, stronger fabrics with higher luster." Because organic cotton is handpicked and not machine-picked, its fibers are said to be damaged less often, and thereby longer and softer. It's also hypoallergenic, so it may be preferred by those who have allergies or sensitive skin.
Boll & Branch's sheets are made from 300-thread-count long-staple organic cotton, and they're both GOTS certified (the whole manufacturing process is considered organic) and Fair Trade certified, which means they meet standards for ethical wages and working conditions.
Boll & Branch sheets are a great option if you're looking to purchase an organic cotton set: "Luxurious in every sense of the word — soft to the touch, thoughtfully designed, and premium in looks" as Executive Editor Ellen Hoffman wrote in her 2017 review. And that's why the company has experienced such rapid and continued success.
Boll & Branch customers have also been willing to spend $200 and up on sheet sets in part because they're a luxury, like diamonds made in labs with solar energy, that they can feel better owning and know it didn't include undue ecological and social damage in the price tag. But, if your primary concern is sustainability, there are alternatives that may reduce your footprint more drastically, like linen. Our favorite is the MagicLinen sheet set ($221-$362; queen $270) which our tester said ages beautifully.
But, if your bedding could use an organic cotton upgrade — and you can afford the premium — Boll & Branch may be a good bet. To skip the browsing, we recommend heading straight to the company's bestseller: the Classic Hemmed Sheet Set ($160-$305).