Cotton is currently the center of the life of almost every household of the tropical and subtropical region around the world. In fact, among them, India has become one of the largest consumers of cotton with about 23% of the World’s Cotton Consumption. On the other hand, hemp, which has been used as a resource for generations, is today struggling to stand at its deserved position in front of cotton.
Undoubtedly, cotton is more popular than hemp. If we try to trace the reasons for this popularity back in history, the facts are quite referential in themselves. From the times of the Industrial Revolution, cotton has been the top name in the list of big countries like England and the US, who were the acclaimed but unacknowledged rulers of approximately the whole world. Moreover, other reasons like the fabric’s high production, its compatibility, comfort, availability, etc. adds to its popularity.
However, there are many sides that are still unexplored by the consumers and need some attention before choosing more popular options like cotton. It would not be wrong to say that the standards to which a product is chosen have been revised according to the changing times. It’s not anymore just about cost or popularity. Factors like ethics and sustainability have now procured priority in the list.
Hemp is an eco-friendly fabric. In the current situation, where the ecological balance is immensely disturbed, so much so that many developed countries are ready to spend any amount in order to find alternatives that can restore or at least preserve this balance, hemp fabric no longer stays as a preference but becomes a priority. This aspect in the path cannot be ignored anymore. Cotton and hemp, when compared, give us some significantly notable differences.
- Hemp requires very less water to grow, whereas cotton requires twice and even more water than hemp to grow. Like many other crops, cotton depletes the soil on which it grows. In this case, hemp is bliss to nature as it enriches the soil on which it is grown.
- The major reason for hemp being more nature friendly is its anti-microbial quality. The hemp plant in itself is naturally repellent to harmful plants and microbes. Thus, it does not require any artificial or chemical fertilizers to protect itself. On the other hand, it’s quite divaricating and noteworthy that cotton is the biggest consumer of pesticides.
- Considering the area required, hemp produces twice as much fabric per acre as cotton. This means that cotton requires twice as much land as hemp.
- When it comes to strength, hemp is already standing beyond the winning line. Hemp is the strongest fibre. Moreover, it is also a completely natural and vegan fibre. Whereas, cotton fabric tends to break down considerably very quickly.
- Due to the strength factor, the durability of hemp also becomes more than cotton. It is true that both the fabrics get softer with every wash, but when cotton fabric reaches that softest phase, the fibers are already broken giving a rugged and worn out feel to the fabric. Whereas, repeated washes don’t affect hemp as much as it affects cotton making hemp a stronger fabric with the same level of comfort.
- Hemp has antibacterial properties that cotton does not have. This means that cotton entertains the growth of microbes like molds, fungi, etc. more easily than hemp.
- Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth so can be grown in multiple cycles. Cotton takes around 9 months to grow while hemp only takes around 3 to 4 months to grow around 12 feet.
- Hemp is also a very diverse and versatile crop and fabric. It can be easily blended with other fabrics in order to obtain a better texture. Hemp has a relatively large surface area and is very water absorbent. This also allows the fibre to dye well and retain its colour better than any other fabric including cotton or linen.
It is true that both cotton and hemp have their own pros and cons. However, from the above comparison it is also clear that hemp is indeed a better choice when it comes to sustainability. It is clear that hemp is eco-friendly, durable, sustainable and extremely versatile in comparison to cotton and it can replace a lot of materials that ruin our planet. Hemp may not be as comfortable as cotton, but eventually, it will become over the years, and not only will it last longer, but will also give a great contribution to our planet.