The Oeko-Tex certification is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. It certifies high product safety and is widely used in the global apparel and footwear industry.

The Oeko-Tex certification guarantees that products are harmless to the human environment. It takes into account many regulated and non-regulated substances, which may be harmful to human health.

The Oeko-Tex certification also ensures in some cases that textile products have been manufactured in sustainable processes under environmentally friendly and socially responsible working conditions.

Oeko-Tex is a widely recognized textile standard around the globe. It's a great label ensuring the safety of fabrics, clothing, garments, accessories, and more.

Certification standards and quality marks are important, especially in the global textile and apparel industry, to guarantee that clothes have been produced with sustainable processes.

When shopping for textile products, choose items that have been audited externally and verified according to the highest standards such as the Oeko-Tex certification.

When it comes to clothing, the Oeko-Tex certification confirms the absence of harmful chemicals in the final garment, including dyes and finishes. It verifies that clothes are safe for people, animals, and the planet.

Here is everything you need to know about the Oeko-Tex certification, one of the best certification standards for textiles.

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Oeko-Tex certification in short

oeko tex certification labels standards

The Oeko-Tex certification guarantees the following:

  • free of harmful substances
  • safe from a human-ecological perspective

The Oeko-Tex certification applies to the following textile products:

  • garments, clothes, and final textile products
  • decorative materials
  • home textiles
  • fabrics
  • yarns
  • fibers
  • coatings
  • linings
  • components
  • accessories
  • labels
  • prints
  • trims

The Oeko-Tex certification applies to the following supply chain sites:

  • first processor
  • manufacturing
  • packaging and labeling
  • storage
  • handling
  • shipping

The Oeko-Tex certification is voluntary and not required by law.

Oeko-Tex offers the following certifications:

  1. Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex (product-related)
  2. Made in Green by Oeko-Tex (product-related)
  3. Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex (product-related)
  4. STeP by Oeko-Tex (production facility)
  5. Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex (chemicals)
  6. Detox to Zero analysis by Oeko-Tex (status report)

Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • free of harmful substances
  • safe from a human-ecological perspective

Made in Green by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • free of harmful substances
  • safe from a human-ecological perspective
  • sustainable and socially responsible working conditions

Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • free of harmful substances for leather products
  • safe from a human-ecological perspective

STeP by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • sustainable production conditions for facilities

Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • free of harmful substances for colorants, chemicals, and auxiliaries
  • environmentally friendly and safe from a human-ecological perspective

Detox to Zero analysis by Oeko-Tex guarantees the following:

  • chemical management and wastewater quality for companies
  • optimization and monitoring of resources

What is Oeko-Tex certification?

oeko tex certified clothing women

The Oeko-Tex certification is an internationally recognized standard that provides companies with a tool to test for harmful substances and verify product safety.

Oeko-Tex is maintained by the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology with headquarters in Zürich, Switzerland.

The Oeko-Tex Association consists of 18 independent research and test institutes in Europe and Japan, responsible for the joint development of test methods and limit values which form the basis for the Oeko-Tex standards.

The first version of the Oeko-Tex certification was released in April 1992, Standard 100, a label for textiles tested for harmful substances offering consumers a reliable way of identifying harmless all types of textile products.

Oeko-Tex, with its portfolio of independent certifications and product labels, enables all textile companies and consumers to make responsible decisions.

It encourages the development of textile products that are harmless to human health, environmentally friendly, and fairly manufactured.

Oeko-Tex partners with independent institutes to test textiles and leather for harmful substances at all processing levels.

They are authorized to certify the environmentally and socially responsible production conditions of production facilities.

The Oeko-Tex certification tests materials in the whole supply chain, from the first processor to the final product. Each organization along the value chain is required to ensure statutory conformity in consumer and environmental protection.

Oeko-Tex partner institutes and their offices can be found in more than 60 countries, including Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Japan, Austria, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Slovakia.

The Oeko-Tex label has strict guidelines and certification processes. It verifies the chemical content of textile and leather products.

The Oeko-Tex certification applies to raw materials, intermediates, and textile products of all processing steps, from the thread to the end product, to fabrics and finished clothing.

It's performed uniformly around the world and ensures a decisive competitive advantage for manufacturers.

In the case of final products, every part of a garment is tested for harmful chemicals and certified safe for human use.

The certification system includes important legal regulations and tests for environmentally relevant substance classes as well as numerous harmful chemicals that aren't yet legally regulated.

The Oeko-Tex certification is a simple and reliable way for all companies and consumers to ensure the highest safety standards for the textile products they buy and sell.

The aim of the Oeko-Tex certification

oeko tex certification textile goal

The Oeko-Tex certification aims to help you act responsibly and make sustainable purchasing decisions. It offers practical solutions to make consumers feel safe.

Its labels guarantee effective protection against harmful substances in textiles and leather products. It also assists companies along the supply chain in making responsible choices.

Oeko-Tex supports the implementation of product stewardship and all matters relating to sustainable economic activity. It enables consumers to make responsible decisions that protect our planet for future generations.

It provides a tool for companies to validate and communicate the use of harmless chemicals in sustainable textile production.

The raw material level has one of the biggest impacts in the global textile and apparel industry. It's also the farthest way away from the consumer.

The Oeko-Tex certification verifies environmentally-friendly production and socially acceptable working conditions, as well as transparent supply chains.

It tests the very beginning of the supply chain and offers brand protection, confidence in sourcing, and greater credibility. It provides certifications to successfully meet the growing demand for pollutant-inspected products.

Oeko-Tex also creates trust in textiles and leather and their production. It improves product safety and sustainable production.

It provides transparent, consistent, and comprehensive independent evaluation and verification of harmless chemical claims on products.

Oeko-Tex ensures that sustainability commitments lead to meaningful and positive change. It uses an independent third-party certification process to ensure that products adhere to chemical requirements.

By verifying the claims made to consumers, the Oeko-Tex certification provides a credible voice for suppliers and brands leading to higher confidence with a system of standards recognized internationally.

The Oeko-Tex certification guarantees risk management, consumer and environmental protection, as well as legal conformity.

It also drives innovation within the textile and leather industry to progress on sustainability goals through a wide range of activities and core competencies.

Oeko-Tex defines globally recognized requirements that ensure the safety of textiles, from raw material harvesting to the final product.

This standard provides a credible assurance to the end consumer. It allows textile processors and manufacturers to export their fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets.

Oeko-Tex is an active contributor to sustainable development. It pushes the development of high-quality textile and leather products, enhancing people’s lives and the environment.

Certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex

standard 100 by oeko tex

Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances.

More than 14,000 companies have had products certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.

It's a group of testing methods and limit values for potentially harmful chemicals.

If a textile product bears the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex certification, customers can be sure that all components, zips, studs, threads, labels, prints, buttons, and other accessories have been tested for harmful substances.

All textile articles in every stage of processing can be certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex. The certification applies to every single component and ingredient before the final article.

Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex takes into account many regulated and non-regulated substances potentially harmful to human health. The test criteria are globally standardized.

Updates of the criteria catalog take place at least once a year to keep an overview of scientific knowledge, statutory requirements, and the legal situation concerning harmful substances.

Testing takes place for pesticides for textiles made of natural fibers, carcinogenic and allergy-inducing colorants, banned azo dyes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates softeners, chlorinated phenols, PFOS, PFOA, surfactant wetting agent residues (APEOs), and more.

Tests for harmful substances include the following extensive measures:

  • regulations regarding prohibited azo dyes, formaldehyde, nickel, etc.
  • not yet statutorily regulated chemicals harmful to health
  • requirements of Annexes XVII and XIV of the REACH Directive, and the ECHA-SVHC Candidate List
  • around 100 test parameters with strict limit values depending on the intended use of the textiles

Textiles products are classified according to skin contact intensity:

  1. Product class I: Products for babies and toddlers (up to 3 years of age, underwear, rompers, bed linen)
  2. Product class II: Products with direct skin contact (underwear, bed linen, shirts, blouses)
  3. Product class III: Products without direct skin contact (jackets, coats, outerwear)
  4. Product class IV: Home textiles (table linen, curtains, upholstery fabrics)

Products can be labeled Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex for 12 months. Requests for an extension are possible at any time.

Regular audits are mandatory and visits take place in a 3-year cycle.

License fees are charged for the certification, as well as laboratory costs and costs for visits.

The Oeko-Tex certification process

oeko tex certification application process

The Oeko-Tex certification relies on independent third-party verification to confirm whether a product includes harmful substances.

Oeko-Tex is often used as a business-to-business tool. It's a means for companies to ensure that they are selling and buy safe products.

Organizations that wish to have a textile or leather product certified by Oeko-Tex must supply samples of all components for analysis to a laboratory at one of the authorized Oeko-Tex member institutes.

To become Oeko-Tex certified, entities are requested to comply with the test criteria. They must participate in a quality audit conducted by an independent Oeko-Tex institute and demonstrate regular quality assurance measures.

Here is how the Oeko-Tex certification process looks like step-by-step:

  1. Choose an Oeko-Tex institute and fill out the application form.
  2. Provide contact details and information about the certificate.
  3. Apply to more than one institute to compare price and timing.
  4. Sign a contract with the institute of your choice.
  5. Sign the General Terms of Use.
  6. Read the standard and prepare relevant documents.
  7. Meet the auditor after good preparation to reduce certification costs.
  8. Review documents and procedures against the Oeko-Tex requirements.
  9. Wait for the audit and test results, and subsequent certification decision.
  10. Submit the conformity declaration.
  11. Receive a certificate when all requirements are met.
  12. Prepare for unannounced inspections that verify standard compliance.
  13. Renew the Oeko-Tex certificate in time.

Oeko-Tex approved certifiers

approved oeko tex laboratory institutes

Each applicant may choose its certification body. And all Oeko-Tex approved certifiers are entitled to offer related inspection and certification services worldwide.

All companies participating in the Oeko-Tex certification scheme need to work in compliance with all criteria of the standard.

18 independent institutes in Europe and Japan and their contact offices all over the world are at your disposal for textile and leather tests or other technological tasks.

Some of the Oeko-Tex approved institutes are:

  1. AITEX Textile Research Institute (SP)
  2. CENTEXBEL Belgian Textile Research Centre (BE)
  3. Centrocot Centro Tessile Cotoniero e Abbigliamento (IT)
  4. CITEVE Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industry of Portugal (PT)
  5. DTI Danish Technological Institute (DK)
  6. FILK Research Institute for Leather and Plastic Sheeting (DE)
  7. Hohenstein Textile Testing Institute (DE)
  8. IFTH Institut Français du Textile et de l'Habillement (FR)
  9. INNOVATEXT Textile Engineering and Testing Institute (HU)
  10. IW Textile Research Institute (PL)
  11. MIRTEC Materials Industrial Research & Technology Center (GR)
  12. Nissenken Quality Evaluation Center (JP)
  13. OETI Institute for Ecology, Technology, and Innovation (AT)
  14. PFI Test and Research Institute Pirmasens (DE)
  15. RISE IVF Research Institutes of Sweden (SE)
  16. Shirley Technologies (UK)
  17. Testex Swiss Textile Testing Institute (CH)
  18. VÚTCH-CHEMITEX spol. s.r.o. (SK)

Oeko-Tex certified sustainable fashion brands

oeko tex certified fashion brands

Conscious consumers shopping for healthy, safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly clothing choose Oeko-Tex certified fashion.

Unfortunately, only a few fashion brands and retailers sell clothes certified by Oeko-Tex.

To help you make conscious purchasing decisions as an informed consumer, here are some of the best sustainable fashion brands that offer Oeko-Tex certified clothing:

  • Wolven, an American activewear and swimwear brand that creates patterns inspired by nature to make sustainability sexy.
  • Hanna Andersson, an American clothing brand that sells original and organic children's clothing based on Scandinavian principles.
  • Nudie Jeans, a Swedish denim brand making high-quality jeans sustainably and ethically.
  • TALA, a British activewear brand that creates environmentally friendly, on-trend, inclusive, innovative, sustainable, and affordable sportswear.
  • Emilia George, American maternity and nursing wear brand that creates sustainable and beautiful clothing.
  • Kowtow, a New Zealand-based fashion brand that creates sustainable, ethical, elegant, and timeless womenswear.
  • Kuyichi, a Dutch style-conscious brand that inspires younger generations to wear organic jeans.

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About the Author: Alex Assoune

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