T-shirts are easy to toss on for a casual day at the beach or to dress up for a night out with friends. They come in a wide range of colors and designs and are one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing for many people.

Unfortunately, t-shirts are typically made using cotton. Despite cotton being extremely useful, comfortable and common, the way it’s grown, harvested and produced creates some pretty large and nasty effects on both people and the planet.

Organic cotton t-shirts are made without using the harmful chemicals that negatively impact the environment.

For sustainable and ethical organic cotton t-shirts, every option below is a great one.

The Best Organic Cotton T-shirts in 2020

1. Women’s Short Sleeve V-Neck Tee

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This super-lightweight V-neck tee is made from 100% organic Pima cotton, providing you with the ultimate comfort without compromising a great fit. Stylish enough for various occasions, the t-shirt features a curved hem and is longer in the back than the front and its loose fit looks great tucked in or hanging out.

Ethically sourced and sustainable, you will feel and look good in it.

2. Long Sleeve Crew Neck T-Shirt

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This women’s long sleeve organic cotton t-shirt is produced using 100% certified organic cotton that is fairly traded. Designed with a basic crewneck cut, it can be styled numerous ways and comes in 12 color options.

The organic cotton feels good against the skin and is the perfect fit for people who can’t bare tight things on their arms. Well-constructed, it doesn’t lose its softness, shape or bleed in the wash.

3. Slim Fit Short Sleeve Crew Neck Tee

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This short sleeve women’s slim fit tee is made using 100% organic cotton from India. The perfect slim fit crew neck tee, it flatters all body types, is super-soft and heavyweight, increasing its versatility.

Produced by Soizzi, a company that creates their clothing using the Global Organic Textile Standard, you can be sure that no harmful chemicals were used and the tee was produced sustainably.

4. Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Tee

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Crafted from 100% organic cotton, this shirt is highly breathable and soft to the touch. This ultra-casual tee for yoga class or lunch with friends, it features a round scoop neck and straight bottom hem that give it a relaxed, almost flowy fit and feel.

Made in the USA (Los Angeles to be exact), this short sleeve tee is a great buy, particularly if you want to support small businesses.

5. Men’s Short Sleeve V Neck T-Shirt

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Manufactured entirely out of organic Pima cotton, this men’s V-neck tee may feel more like cashmere than cotton. The soft jersey is smooth enough to dress up and comfortable enough for a hangout with friends. The neck and sleeves are reinforced for added durability and it’s tagless for even more of that luxury feel.

Available in gray, blue, black and white, you may want a staple piece like this in multiple colors.

6. Long Sleeve Crew Neck

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Designed for both men and women, you’ll love the relaxed fit of this heavyweight shirt, which is constructed from 100% organic cotton. High quality, the neck, bottom hem and armholes are double-needle stitched and supremely soft.

There are over 20 color options so you’re sure to find a flattering color. When you pull this tee over your head, you’ll instantly have a put together look – at least half of one anyway.

7. Short Sleeve Crew Neck

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The organic cotton basic tee every man needs, this crew neck shirt features side-seam construction, double-needle cover-stitched seams and a relaxed slim fit.

With a premium feel and added comfort thanks to a tear-away label, this is one of the most affordable organic cotton t-shirts for men. Manufactured in the USA using 100% certified organic ringspun cotton, it is available in black and olive. 

A Guide to Organic Cotton T-shirts

Producing conventional cotton clothing takes a toll on human lives and the environment.

If you want to be a more eco-conscious consumer and support companies that put people and the planet first, here’s why organic cotton t-shirts are a great way to go.

What is an organic cotton t-shirt?

T-shirts made with organic cotton are produced and certified to specific organic agricultural standards.

Similar to organic food, t-shirts that are 100% organic cotton:

Contain no chemical pesticides or insecticides

Non-organic cotton requires the use of a lot of pesticides, more than any other crop. These chemicals end up the air, but runoff can easily contaminate food and water supplies as well, causing illness, disease and birth defects. Organic cotton uses no harmful chemicals, ensuring safe drinking water for animals and people.

Use sustainable farming practices

The pesticides used in cotton production change soil’s composition, increasing soil erosion. Organic farming practices, however, significantly decrease soil erosion, replenish and maintain soil fertility and preserves beneficial bacteria that support diverse agriculture.

As the thirstiest crop on earth, it takes a lot of water to make a cotton t-shirt, 713 gallons actually. Organic cotton production aims to use water more effectively, requiring 88% less water than conventional cotton production.

Are non-GMO

Most cotton is made from genetically modified seeds that are resistant to pesticides and herbicides. Organic cotton uses non-GMO seeds allowing farmers to safely provide for their family without exposing anyone to toxic chemicals.

Organic cotton certifications

The word “organic” means different things depending on the country, strain or certification being applied for.

Knowing what the certifications mean will be useful when shopping for organic cotton t-shirts.

Organic Content Standard (OCS)

Managed and controlled in the USA, this label certifies a t-shirt has been made with cotton free from chemicals and GMOs. This standard does not take into account whether environmental or social issues are addressed or if chemically-intensive processes and dying were used to make your favorite color t-shirt. 

An OCS 100 label means the product contains at least 95% organic cotton and OCS blended labels display the amount of organic cotton in a product.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

GOTS is all-inclusive, covering everything from the processing of cotton to its distribution, ensuring environmental and social standards are respected. It is the best certification for textiles; when you see it, you can be confident you are getting exactly what you pay for.

Add Eco-Friendly T-Shirts to Your Wardrobe

Supporting the responsible and sustainable production of t-shirts makes an impact on you as well as the environment.

Buying any of these organic cotton t-shirts will create an effect that positively influences factory workers, farmers and their families.

Note: Giving Assistant shoppers can really make a difference by donating their free cash back to an environmental nonprofit of their choice.