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Hemp Fabric Care

Hemp Fabric Care: Wash and Dry Instructions


Most of our customers use and recommend washing rather than dry cleaning for hemp garments, bed and table linens. (However; dry cleaning is recommended for cleaning slip-covers, draperies and other home furnishing item, due to potential for shrinkage in long pieces). Be gentle when laundering hemp: use a gentle wash cycle or hand wash and use just a little gentle soap. We like Ivory Snow (powder), but some people swear by Woolite, some people like Orvus Quilt Soap, and some even use their favorite shampoo! Whatever you use, follow the package directions. Place delicate hemp articles in a lingerie bag before putting them into a washing machine. Use cold to warm, not hot, water. Wash colored hemp in cold water. One cup of white vinegar in the rinse water removes all traces of soap and leaves fabrics smelling fresh. Launder stains when fresh. If allowed to set, stains may be permanent. We recommend that you don't use bleach, but if you do, use oxygen bleaches (hydrogen peroxide) for bleached or semi-bleached hemp. Chlorine bleaches can cause yellowing and damage the fabric and should be avoided.

If hand washing, rinse very thoroughly. Removal of all soap will help prevent large brown spots on hemp, which are caused by oxidation of cellulose by residual soap.


Several drying methods are recommended for hemp - line drying, drying flat, machine drying, rolling in terry towels, or drying on the lawn! Line drying in the sun is best, yet impractical in many instances. When machine drying - watch the time! Over drying will result in broken fibers and threads. When Line drying or drying flat, be sure spread or stretch the fabric to avoid wrinkles as the fabric dries. Tumble dry on low heat setting until slightly damp. Remove immediately and press smooth with warm iron. Whatever method you use, bring the hemp in while it is still damp. If hemp dries thoroughly, it may become brittle, taking several hours to recover its natural moisture and flexibility. Don't wring wet or damp hemp before drying, it breaks the yarn fibers down and creates unnecessary wrinkles.


Ironing is often optional when dried flat or tumbled at low heat. Ironing hemp is a great deal easier if you do it when the hemp is damp. And if hemp is removed from drying while still damp and ironed immediately, it is easier still. If ironing the fabric when completely dry, dampen the fabric thoroughly and iron on medium to high heat. Steam ironing dry hemp is less effective and requires more effort. Use spray starch (if desired) and iron with lots of steam at a medium-to-hot setting.

Starch provides extra crispness - for a softer look for garments, use fabric sizing instead.

Iron on the wrong side first, then on the right side to bring out the sheen, especially in light-colored hemp. Iron darker hemps on the wrong side only. Heavier fabrics may need a slightly higher temperature setting. Hemp can withstand the highest temperature setting on your iron. Iron hemp until smooth but not dry. Once wrinkles are gone, hang the hemp item until it is bone dry. When ironing embroidered hemp, keep the embroidery stitches rounded and dimensional by pressing item on the wrong side atop a soft towel. Use a press cloth to safeguard delicate lace and cutwork. A press cloth also helps to avoid press marks over seams, hems and pockets. Place a table next to the ironing board when ironing large tablecloths. Roll finished sections of the cloth over the table rather than letting it pile up under the ironing board. Minimize creasing ironed tablecloths by rolling them around a tube or hanging them. When traveling, do not try to steam out wrinkles; wrinkles must be pressed out with an iron. Dampen the hemp first.

Dry Cleaning

is recommended for cleaning slip-covers, draperies and other home furnishing item, due to potential for shrinkage in long pieces and custom cut and sewn pieces Dry cleaning solvents do not swell natural fibers such as hemp, linen, wool, silk cotton or jute so there is very little shrinkage, pilling or wrinkling in those fabrics when dry cleaned. Water penetrates these fibers readily causing swelling and thus produces dimensional changes and pilling which are in some cases are irreversible. If dry cleaning is the method of cleaning used, it is important to point out spots so the dry cleaner can pre-treat the stain correctly. Ask whether solvents are regularly changed. If white linens turn gray or yellow, it may be an indication that the solvents need to be replaced.