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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > How do you wash burlap? ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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How do you wash burlap?
washing burlap
Lety

Lety  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/15/07 2:23 PM

I bought some burlap to use for curtains(rustic), it said machine wash, I looked on the internet and found only one place that said you could wash in the machine if it was zigzagged or if fray check was put on the ends. I put fray check on the ends, but I'm still scared to wash it, has anyone washed it before? Thanks.

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 2:34 PM

Is this a pre-wash? Do you have enough that you could test a 3 in square to see if it shrinks. Just, swish in soapy, then clear water and dry in the dryer.

After the curtains are sewn, you could use dry cleaning sheets for the clothes dryer. I do for my curtains that I do not want to wash.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Lety

Lety  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/15/07 3:13 PM

I basically want to wash it because I want it softer and also because it sheds, and little burlap pieces are flying into my nose and probably into my lungs. I read not to put it in the dryer because it might start the dryer on fire since it's made out of jute. I just want to machine wash it because it is a big piece. Thank you.

Rustybobn
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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 5:44 PM

I washed some for a bag a couple of years ago. It came out much softer and kind of "brushed" and wrinkley. The wrinkles were hard to press out.

You might cut a 4" square, wash it, and see how yours reacts. I could tell no difference in color or size on mine.

Good luck!

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Beth H in Georgia
Blog: http://www.rustybobbin.com/blog/

Sport

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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 5:48 PM

I've experimented with machine washing burlap. It produced massive amounts of burlap lint in the machine, in the lint screen, everywhere. It did shrink. It did get softer. It did not eliminate shedding. I did not put it in the dryer.

It's my understanding that formaldehyde is used in producing burlap. The formaldehyde can cause respiratory irritation and skin irritation. It can negatively affect pets, if you have them. Moisture, such as humidity, can trigger some nasty fumes. Sunlight deteriorates burlap and it can stink when it gets warm. In spite of this, it is used in home decorating, so maybe there are different types of burlap available?

I'd recommend cutting off a reasonable sized square, handwashing it in the sink, and hanging it to dry in a well ventilated space, outdoors would be best. This will give you the opportunity to observe how it responds to washing and how you respond to it. If you decide it's a keeper, only you can decide whether your washing machine can handle the copious lint or whether you'd do better to wash it in the bathtub or a large sink (without clogging your plumbing). If you sew it on your sewing machine, even after washing, you'll probably need to thoroughly clean the machine interior and exterior afterwards.

Good luck!

Em's Summer
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Em's Summer
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Date: 12/15/07 9:21 PM

Hmm...after reading everyone's responses, I'm wondering if you really want to make burlap curtains. Formaldehyde, oh, you might want to rethink that.

Em

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From what others have said, the nasty message came from Fitting Woes, NOT Misc Hot Topics or the Civility thread.

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 9:31 PM

Sport made a good point about looking for a home dec fabric that looks like burlap.

Others responded with good points also, like the lint, chemicals and fire hazard.

Don't take my suggestion of putting it in the dryer! ........ .......

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Lety

Lety  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/15/07 9:57 PM

Thanks for all your suggestions, I did wash it a while ago with plenty of softener. It is very wrinkly and it has this smell that I've smelled before, a very sweet smell, but something from nature, the outdoors. It doesn't smell like what I remembered the hallway of my high school when frogs were being dissected (formaldehyde) of course that was 20+ years ago. There isn't a lot of moisture in the air I live in, but there is a lot of sun, so I'll leave it out in the sun to see what it smells like.

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 10:12 PM

Maybe the burlap is made from hemp - I found this at wikipedia: "Hemp requires little to no pesticides, replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen, controls erosion of the topsoil, and converts CO2 to oxygen very well, considering how fast it grows."

There is a connection between hemp and cannibis sativa, which (I have heard) when smoked has a sweet smell.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Sport

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Posts: 94
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In reply to Lety


Date: 12/15/07 10:54 PM

Glad to hear the washing was a success!

I'm curious about your experience with washing this. Did you have a lot of lint in your washer? I'm going to do some research and explore the possibility of different types of burlap available to home sewers. Is it okay to ask where you purchased your burlap?

The formaldehyde treated fabrics that I've encountered (also used in some satins) don't smell like those dreaded biology classes. But it is definately a chemical, as opposed to natural, smell.

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