How to Wash Burlap Tote Bags and Items: A Full Maintenance Guide
Jute is a sustainable, beautiful source we use to make plenty of homeware and fashion items. Just like canvas and cotton, burlap is versatile and increasingly present in our lives. But you surely wondered what to do with burlap tote bags, tablecloths, and even soft burlap drapery when they get dusty or dirty. Cleaning jute is a bit more difficult than maintaining canvas for instance, but it is not impossible. Today, we will learn together how to wash burlap and enjoy your beautiful items for years to come!
How to Wash Burlap: The Fabric’s Basics
Burlap is a rough and durable fabric made from jute. In the last years, it became trendy in the accessories industry (as burlap purses are trendy items to wear in summer) and in the packaging industry (gift/favor jute tote bags and seasonal Christmas jute socks being all the rage right now).
With their natural, neutral, and rustic look, burlap items are reusable and sustainable. In other words, it is essential to learn how to wash burlap and how to maintain our favorite tote bags, homeware, and accessories.
Burlap Cleaning Guide: Handwashing
Some burlap (also called hessian) pieces fare better if you wash them by hand. You have to pick them carefully, however, as handwashing goes best with small finished pieces (tote bags, jute sacks, pillowcases, and more). It is how you should wash burlap by hand:
- Fill a sink or basin with cold water. Make sure you do not use hot water as it may lead to the fabric’s shrinking;
- Add a small amount of mild detergent. You should use a liquid variety to avoid deposits;
- Leave the burlap item in the basin for five Watch out the fabric to make sure it does not fray or come apart;
- Stir the material with your hands gently;
- Rinse the burlap item in the sink under running cold water, making sure you do not twist or squeeze the cloth;
- When you take the burlap item out of the basin, make sure you do not wring it – it may cause damages to the structure, together with creases. You can gently haul the excess water.
Just as we presented a while ago when we discussed canvas tote bags’ cleaning, you should remove stains and spots before you begin the handwashing process.
- Use a wet sponge to blot the stain away (do not rub) and remove excess moisture with the help of a dry towel.
- If you have to deal with difficult stains, you can use an oxygen-based stain remover; be gently and test the product on the inside of the tote bag to see how the fabric behaves in the presence of the substance. If everything goes well, you can leave the oxy stain remover to do its job for a few minutes. Rinse with a wet towel the excess substance and then proceed to handwash the burlap item as we presented earlier.
- Use a mixture of soda and water to remove stains. Apply a layer of paste made of baking soda and water on the stain and leave it a few minutes.
Baking soda is also a useful ally when you want to remove odors from your burlap shopping bags and other items. Here is what you need to do in case your jute shopping tote bag caught some unpleasant smell due to heavy wear:
- Fill a spray bottle water and dissolve baking soda in it;
- Take the burlap item outside (your apartment balcony should work just fine) and spray the tote bag or tablecloth with the mix; leave the purse to aerate for a few hours, then turn it inside out and spray again. The best strategy is to remove odors and stains with baking soda when the outside air is warm, and the sun can dry the burlap bag fast;
- In case you have some stubborn odors to deal with, treat the burlap product with lemon juice (spray the fabric with lemon juice and let the product outside in fresh air to dry); you should not exaggerate with acidic treatments, however, as you risk damaging the fabric.
- Let the burlap bag dry in fresh warm air to avoid the development of mildew; lay the product on a flat surface; you can also remove excess moisture by placing your burlap fashion bag in between two thick towels.
When it comes to using stain removers and other cleaning products with your burlap bags, tablecloths, Santa sacks or pillowcases, make sure you read the products’ labels. If the manufacturer offered specific instructions on cleaning and maintenance, make sure you follow them to a tee.
Hand-washed burlap items need to dry carefully to avoid unpleasant odors, mildew, or even mold. You should not tumble dry your burlap items. Here are some suggestions:
- The best drying method is leaving the burlap product dry on a flat surface while it benefits from fresh warm air. The sun does wonders to preventing mold development; nevertheless, you should be careful, as sun overexposure can bleach the fabric.
- You should dry large burlap purses with gusset, handles, interior cotton lining, zippers, and or hard bottoms on a flat surface and make sure they are standing and preserving their original shape.
Burlap Cleaning Guide: Machine Washing
Since the machine wash is rougher than handwashing, you should put in the machine only the burlap items you are confident will preserve their integrity and structure. In other words, wash only large, heavy, and durable burlap pieces. If you want to learn how to wash burlap, bags and other non-delicate products in the washing machine (tablecloths, burlap upholstery or heavy-duty jute items), here are some expert suggestions to consider:
- Use cold water and a short program dedicated to delicate fabrics;
- Do not use a wring program; haul the item to remove excess moisture and dry outside, in the fresh
Specialists do not recommend the machine-washing of small and delicate burlap items because the products can shrink, disintegrate, or accumulate large amounts of lint. However, if you program the load carefully and you do not mix your jute items with other clothes, the outcome should be great.
Before we end this guide on how to wash burlap, we promised a few maintenance tips and tricks:
- If you want to iron a burlap tablecloth, upholstery, or drapery, you should iron while damp;
- For your burlap tote bags to preserve their original shape and structure, insert a cardboard box, some sheets, or tube inside the bag to help it keep its form;
- Store all your burlap tote bags and items in places that benefit from fresh air flow to avoid mold and mildew; unfortunately, burlap is susceptible to odors, so you should not store your burlap tote bags or other items together with odor-emitting products.
We hope this guide on how to wash burlap tote bags and items was useful to you and you will enjoy your sustainable, reusable fashion items for many years! Don’t forget to ask us for more information and details in case you still need help with burlap/jute maintenance!