8

For example, most cotton is chemically altered. How would I know whether animal products have been used or not?

Are there any special production references or standards to be aware of while shopping?

3

Cotton is definitely vegan, and you're completely safe using it.

Cotton is made from the cotton plants, it's fibers plucked off of the plant. After being plucked, the cotton is put into bales, and then sent to a mill for cleaning and weaving into fabric.
The machines "card" the cotton, which just involves running a (generally metal) card over the cotton fibers to try to straighten the fibers, then retwist them a bit. Another twist after this makes the cotton into yarn. Then, machines weave the cotton into a fabric which is then sold.

As you can see, no animals products are used in this process.


Do note that though the process of turning cotton into a fabric is vegan, and the process of growing it most likely is, it's common for forced labor and/or chemical fertilizers to be used. This is still vegan, but whether you support it is your choice and outside the bounds of veganism.

  • But can be grown with large amounts of agrochemicals and then picked with forced labour, so not necessarily ethical even if vegan – Richard Telford Feb 9 '17 at 20:52
  • @RichardTelford that's not the question though, but I'll certainly add that. – Riker Feb 9 '17 at 20:53

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