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How to Wash Burlap Tote Bags and Items: A Full Maintenance Guide

Ally Nelson |

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You may have seen that jute bags and other jute goods are all the rage right now. As a general rule, burlap bags are useful. Environmentally conscious trendsetters looking for a long-term solution to the issue of single-use plastic bags and other accessories are a major driving force behind this. 

The term "golden fibre" is often used to refer to jute tote bags because of the high monetary value of these bags and the bright yellow tint they possess. Jute, which is also known as hessian, is a natural fabric that is very durable and stands the test of time. Due to the fact that it takes so little in the way of water or fertiliser to thrive, ecologists are quite enthusiastic about it. In spite of the fact that they give the impression of being made completely of natural materials, the vast majority of jute bags are really made up of a mixture of natural and synthetic fibres. Consequently, jute products should never be cleaned because of this. It is now necessary for us to learn how to clean jute bags. For your convenience, we have collected a list of useful points that you may use.

How to Wash Burlap: The Fabric’s Basics

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Hessian, a fabric known for its resilience, is made mostly from jute, a strong and long-lasting fibre. This multipurpose material has recently seen a meteoric rise in demand from the packaging and accessory sectors. In the world of accessories, burlap purses are all the rage right now, especially for summer, and in the packaging sector, gift jute tote bags for presents and favours and colourful jute stockings for Christmas are all the rage too.

The recyclable aspect of hessian makes it stand out as a sustainable option, which goes beyond its trendy status. Natural, neutral, and rustic are the adjectives that best describe the visual attractiveness of hessian-made objects. Aside from knowing how to keep hessian looking good, knowing the basics of cleaning and maintaining it is also important. Tote bags, homeware, and accessories that we love will last a long time and help us live sustainably while looking good, so it's important that we're conscious of this.

Burlap Cleaning Guide: Handwashing

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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 (jute tote bags, jute sacks, pillowcases, and more). It is how you should wash burlap tote bags 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.

Stain Removal

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.

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Odor Removal

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 reusable burlap bag in between two thick towels.

When it comes to using stain removers and other cleaning products with your burlap tote 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:

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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.

Burlap Maintenance

Before we end this guide on how to wash burlap bags, 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.

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Our sincere hope is that you found this full tutorial on how to wash burlap tote bags and related items to be quite useful and beneficial. Our major objective is to give you with the knowledge you need to ensure that your sustainable and reusable clothing lasts and that you can enjoy it for a long time. If you follow these maintenance instructions, your hessian items will keep their beauty and eco-friendliness for years to come.

We will be there for you every step of the way as you make these ecologically friendly choices. Please contact ToteBagFactory at any time for clarification, more information, or assistance with the care of hessian or jute items. To ensure that your experience with these unique and eco-friendly fashion items is as joyful as possible, our dedicated team is available 24/7 to answer any questions and give any support you may need. We want to be a continuing resource for you on your journey to sustainable fashion, and we care greatly that you are happy and safe in your hessian possessions.