Burlap – History & Care Instructions
An Asian native, the jute plant has long been the workhorse of the textile industry. Ancient Indian and Chinese civilizations relied on cloth woven from jute fibers for clothing, household goods and farm chores.
In Europe, Jute was woven into Burlap, also called Hessian cloth, and was used for wrapping bales of cotton or hay and for stitching grain sacks for transporting wheat, barley and rye from farm to mill. In rural homes, Burlap did double duty as curtains and chair covers.
Today, the quest for ecologically sustainable natural fibers has sparked a renewed interest in this humble cloth. The popularity of simple country style decorating has transformed burlap into a coveted choice for home furnishings. In addition, the trend for rustic themed special events has put burlap on the top of savvy wedding planners’ Must Have lists.
Whether for your front hall, banquet hall, resort function or your local reception hall/barn dance, Burlap is ideal. It is a strong, durable, color and light fast. It’s biodegradable and carbon neutral (meaning it balances the carbon dioxide required for it’s production and transport with the carbon dioxide the Jute plant removes from the air we breathe.) Burlap is the ultimate eco friendly fabric and the most fashionable table linen fabric today.
(Photo courtesy of blog.sussexpromotions.co.uk )
How To Eliminate Burlap’s Odor
Being Eco-friendly, however, doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely perfect in every way. There’s no getting around it… fresh burlap — while a thing of unparalleled beauty — has a earthy scent. The odor’s strength depends on how the cloth was finished, how it was stored and a variety of other factors. Our Burlap is refined and contains no additive or Formaldehyde which is found in many other Burlap fabrics being sold that are inferior quality or imported.
Unless I need to use my Burlap right away, I simply place my new Burlap tablecloths and table runners in my screened in porch (in fair weather) or the garage (during the rainy season.) It takes about a week to notice a big difference. Those with sensitive noses sometimes say that a trace of ‘eau de Burlap’ can still be detected, but I don’t find this bothersome.
If you are in a hurry to recover that old chair frame or use your new Burlap table linens, simply take a slightly damp washcloth and rub it over the fabric’s surface. Flip the cloth to the other side and repeat. The Burlap will need to dry off, but this usually only takes the better part of an afternoon. Dissolving a bit of baking soda in warm water before dipping in your washcloth is also helpful. Just be sure not to add too much baking soda as this can leave a white residue.
How To Clean Burlap
Although nearly carefree, there are times when your burlap may need laundering. Whether a wedding guest drips chocolate sauce on your burlap tablecloth or your curtains seem a bit dusty, the first step in cleaning Burlap is to give it a good shake and let it air out on a sunny day. Sometimes this
is all it takes.
Tougher stains can be removed by gently dabbing the surface with a washcloth dipped in a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Rinse with plain water.
When all else fails, wash the Burlap in a sink or bathtub using a small amount of gentle liquid detergent. Feel free to swish around the water but resist active agitation. Agitation can cause the fabric to release fuzz (short fibers) or fray at the edges (which is why you WON’T want to put your Burlap into the washing machine in the first place!)
Creases and Curling
Burlap is an unfussy fabric and I personally think minor wrinkles add to its homespun appearance. If my Burlap linens need freshening up, I hang them on a clothesline and mist lightly with clean water. When dry, they look better than ever. Not only are the results beautifully crease-free, but line drying always makes me feel ecological virtuous.
To prevent creasing, I usually roll my table runners around a paper towel tube before storing them. Since this isn’t practical for larger items, occasionally I find myself with an iron in hand. For best results, set the iron at the maximum steam setting but a medium heat, and iron both sides across the crease.
For stubborn creases, choose a low heat setting and cover the area with cheesecloth. Press along the crease line on both sides, using the iron’s mister. Be patient, this really works!
For those that need a Burlap that can be machine washed, Premier Table Linens also offer the Havana Faux Burlap which is 100% Polyester but yet looks like Jute Burlap. For more information on the Havana Faux Burlap, click here.