allergy preparedness

4 Top Petroleum-Based Fabrics You Should Avoid

4 Top Petroleum-Based Fabrics You Should Avoid

Just like their different styles, clothes nowadays are made from a variety of different materials due to advancements in technology. However, while innovation remains important for the industry, the environmental impacts of these inventive processes are not something to be celebrated. 

In simplest terms, petrochemicals are chemically-treated products that have been developed using petroleum such as acrylic, nylon, polyester, and spandex

These synthetic fabrics are known for being some of the most toxic fabrics in the environment for they require huge energy, water, oil, chemicals, and other natural resources to be produced. 

Aside from that, the production of these petroleum-based clothing leaks waste and toxic substances into waterways, soil beds, groundwater, landfills, and deep into our skin. 

Here are four of the most common petroleum-based fibers that you can find in clothing stores. While they may look good and stylish, these fabrics are still not environmentally friendly compared to traditional organic fabrics. 


While this fabric resembles the softness and bulkiness of wool, Acrylic does not provide the same comfort and warmth as the real thing. 

This polymer fiber resists shrinkage, stains, and wrinkles. It is also affordable and easy to take care of. However, acrylic has its disadvantages as acrylic offers poor insulation, melts, and burns. Acrylic may also build up static electricity and repel moisture and water, leading to bacteria growth and irritation on people who suffer from skin allergies like eczema, 

What makes acrylic dangerous is the fact that they are made from a flammable, colorless liquid called polymer polyacrylonitrile. Exposure to the said chemical through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation may cause problems as polyacrylonitrile remains a potential cancer hazard.



Known as one of the most widely used fibers manufactured in the US, Nylon is a synthetic material made from combining coal, water, petroleum, and other natural resources. 

Nylon is mostly used for swimsuits, hosiery, activewear, and jackets for its water-repelling property, durability, and multi-purpose usage. However, the production of nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more polluting than carbon dioxide, making nylon a harmful fabric for the environment.

Moreover, clothes made from nylon do not absorb sweat and moisture well, causing bad odors and irritations when worn. Nylon is usually present in socks, lingerie, underwear, pantyhose, and other garments you might have in your rotation.


Polyester is a manufactured synthetic fiber derived from carbon-intensive, non-renewable, and non-biodegradable resources.

People used this fabric for its benefits like high durability, versatility, good sunlight resistance, lightweight, resistance to wrinkles, stains, and quick-drying ability. 

However, the production, use, and disposal of polyester have major negative environmental impact on the environment. Although polyester works best for outdoor apparel, recent studies show that the said fabric sheds microplastics with every wash, endangering rivers, oceans, and marine life. 

Moreover, it also contains antimony, a highly toxic substance that can have detrimental effects on the heart, lungs, liver, and skin. If you have textile dermatitis, we recommend veering away from polyester as it causes a variety of problems such as irritations, redness, rashes, and flare-ups. 


After having been invented in 1959, Spandex has made its way to everyone's drawers and closets. Commonly used in sports bras, leggings, t-shirts, tights, bikinis, and undergarments, this fabric has excellent stretch, durability, and shape-retaining ability. 

The disadvantages of using spandex include sticking to your body, not allowing the skin to breathe freely. It also tends to become brittle and yellowish over time. Aside from that, spandex is made from harmful chemical substances like polyurethane, a considered carcinogen. 

If you're keen on collecting durable workout clothes or swimwear, you might consider spandex. However, prolonged contact with this fabric may cause skin irritations and flare-ups to people with skin allergies and sensitive skin. Always check the labels before buying garments. 

TAKEAWAY: While it goes commonly unnoticed, clothing contains many different skin allergies and cancer-causing chemicals. It has become standard industry practice for manufacturers over the years to use fabric enhancers like parabens, dyes, bleaches, latex, and other non-organic materials to create garments. 

And since most brands are not taking measures to avoid irritants and harmful ingredients, we decided to turn the tides to develop an entirely natural 100% organic cotton clothing that allows people to live easily without the use of synthetics.

If you're looking for clothes made from organic materials and safe processes that don't give the skin irritations and flare-ups, check out our 100% allergy-free clothes

Read why it's crucial to wear organic cotton clothes here: Why Wear Organic?

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. 

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health providers with any questions they may have regarding a medical condition.

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In the seventies I started getting itchy red rashes on my legs. I figured out it was the pantyhose I was wearing. I also had the same problem with polyester. I took chemistry and my instructor told me both products were petroleum based. I thought AHA! ( I wish it was out there in the news.-And why isn’t it? ) This should be common knowledge. Why are we not trying to protect ourselves and environment? I am going to call my news agencies. If I have this many issues with it, what about babies and small children? Now they are making microfiber. Its all over the place! That is polyester. Cotton is organic and safer. Spread the word. Print this article and send to friends and family. Lets keep the cotton farming industry alive and well. I say boycott these petroleum products. I do not think people are aware.



I am having such a hard time finding any clothes that don’t make me break out in a blistering rash. Lately it’s usually caused by the tags which are stickers instead of the sewn on ones I used to be able to cut off. I am having to wear my shirts inside out now. It’s making me crazy. I had no idea our clothes were made with such toxic materials either no wonder I’m constantly full of itchy skin rashes.



These textiles have been pushed on us for decades. Read about Agenda 30.

Marcia Wibeto

Marcia Wibeto

My clothes are irritating my skin and I do have eczema. Why are they making clothes that cause cancer. Are you kidding me. All about petroleum companies making money, no matter if it kills people or not. Shame on you. Why isn’t our elected officials protecting us.

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