Burlap is a popular choice for its resilience, durability, breathability, and versatility. It has secured a tremendous appeal for its simple rustic look by featuring natural golden color.
It is undoubtedly one of the most significant things in craft fabrics. However, since it has a folding and creasing tendency, you will have to iron it. Yeah, you can iron your burlap! Do not get confused to see its touchiness.
However, its handling is a bit tricky. The task of ironing needs your special attention. The iron settings must be correct. And you will have to prepare your burlap appropriately.
Anyway, before diving into the main discussion, we thought it would help if you learned about burlap adequately.
Burlap is also known as Guncloth or Hessian. It derives from the jute plant. This coarse woven fiber is adorable to home crafters for giving a countryside vibe. They use for sewing various items such as –
- gift bags
- wall art
- chair covers
- sleeves for potted plants
Apart from these, it has plenty of uses, and those are not even related to sewing and crafting! In the agriculture and textile industries, it is a staple. In order to store fruits, grains, grass, and different processed food, burlap is a name of reliance. It also helps curb soil erosion!
Its tensile strength is the reason for such versatility. At the same time, you will find it pretty long-lasting, breathable, and tear-resistant. It features moisture-wicking properties.
Most importantly, the use of burlap perfectly aligns with the ecological system. Aside from being natural, it is biodegradable. So it can undoubtedly be a green choice for us. Moreover, you can expect a faster production of burlap as it grows up within a short period.
However, it has some drawbacks as well. It is brittle in some specific conditions and highly flammable. And for the same reason, many people dare not to iron burlap! They are also not accustomed to watching burlap in laundry piles.
You will find it sensitive to heat and water and very delicate in nature. If you fail to handle it properly while dealing with heat and water, you will destroy your burlap. The mismanagement of heat and water can compel it to pill, shrink, shed, and get seriously brittle! For the same reason, it cannot endure washing machine agitation or tumble dry cycle.
No worries, it is possible to remove creases from your burlap craft by ironing. You can even place permanent pleats in that after this guide. And you should also note that there are variations in making burlap. For example, a version of burlap is ‘faux burlap’ which is a creation of synthetic fiber polyester. It’s a bit different than natural burlap.
You will find some significant advantages of this. It can deal with heat and water smoothly. And it is less fussy than natural burlap. Despite being softer, it possesses an increased capability to face shrinkage, wrinkling, heat damage, and shedding.
Is It Possible to Iron Burlap?
However, here in this write-up, we will be discussing the ironing process of natural burlap. No matter if the burlap is deeply creased and folded in several places, you can make it smooth and flawless with the help of ironing. Anyways, the equipment you will need is as follows:
- Distilled water
- Cheesecloth, muslin or white cotton pillowcase, or rag
- Spray bottle
- Iron and
- Ironing board
Remember, you have to be very cautious while ironing burlap. Otherwise, you will either ruin your iron plate or scorch the fabric. So would you mind following the steps below?
- Before all, make sure that your burlap is damp, which means slightly wet. It would be best to iron it immediately after washing, and it must not be fully dry. The ideal state is between crispy dry stage and wet because too much drying makes the creases difficult to remove.
Else, you can dampen your burlap with a spray bottle and some distilled water if it is too dry. Please note that the sprayed water should be free from any mineral salts that may leave a white residue on the fabric when moisture is no more. Who loves a patchy whitish look? That’s the reason the experts suggest using distilled water.
- You have to iron the wrong side first. So turn over the burlap, and let the backside face up.
- You need to use a protective cloth such as muslin, cheesecloth, or cotton sheet on the area you want to iron. Lay down your burlap on the ironing board.
- Dampen your protective cloth using the spray bottle. Let it soak through your burlap.
- Now keep up ironing at a medium heat setting. Until the creases get clear, continue ironing. Yeah, you can check while ironing if the selected portion is okay. Then move to another part.
- If you want a quickened result, then iron across the creases. You may go with the linen setting if they are obstinate.
- Say ‘no’ to lingering on the same spot for too long. Experts recommend a constant motion while ironing.
- This time, you have to iron the opposite side, the right side. Turn over and follow the same steps we mentioned above.
Despite a stable looking, your burlap may fray and break up into small parts while washing. So unless you remain very careful, you will spoil everything. Both hot and warm water can compel your burlap to shrink.
As a jute fabric, burlap has a significant tendency to lose strength by the touch of water. In spite of that, you can wash your burlap following what we are going to state below. Just remember to blot out any stained area with a mixture of warm water plus vinegar before that.
Here’s how to wash burlap:
Experts recommend this method to wash burlap. So please follow the steps:
- Go to your washtub and get some warm or cold water along with a mild detergent.
- Sink your burlap and let it be there for a few minutes. Please don’t soak for too long. You will risk fraying on that case.
Image Source: wikiHow
- Besides, without any active agitation, rinse the burlap. It will remove the dirt void of fuzzing and fraying at the edges.
- Then have some cold water to rinse it.
- Finally, air dry in a well-ventilated room or towel dry it.
As burlap tends to disintegrate and is not suitable for a machine wash, no one recommends this. Moreover, it leaves so many tiny lint fibers that stick to any other fabric in a hard wash. It can thwart even the washing machine! Nevertheless, if you have no other way, you can use a washing machine. Please follow the tips below!
- Go for the delicate setting. It will save you from unraveling and fraying, hopefully.
- Let your burlap accomplish a cycle in the washing machine.
- Load the burlap solely so that its lint fibers can’t bother your other fabric.
- Get a normal detergent and use only half the amount.
Before sewing, having a wash is essential when you are unsure that you are the maiden user. Someone could have reserved anything. There might be remnants of pesticides too. Who knows! So we recommend sewing a clean burlap fabric, and cleaning is hygienic.
Even if your burlap is store-bought, you can wash it. generally, a new burlap is stiff. A wash will make it suitable for sewing and some craft projects. Aside from this, washing will remove any unpleasant smells from that for sure.
Let’s talk about an alternative. You might prefer a clothes steamer instead of an iron when you know it is also workable. Not merely workable, you can expect to have a good result from steaming burlap! Here is how!
Get a hanger or simple hanging rod. Hang the burlap. Notice the wrinkles and hover the steamer around them. It knows its job.
You may employ a steam iron instead of a steamer too! In that case, make sure that there is a low heat setting and full steam. Mark the creased areas to dampen them. Use a spray bottle or an iron mister for that. Then let the steam iron creep over the burlap. That’s it!
You will find steaming as the ideal method to get rid of wrinkles. This approach is free from the risk of scorching since it is a no-contact method. Allow us to explain!
The generated steam penetrates the creased area and softens your burlap fabric. As a result, you get your stuff wrinkle-free faster and more effectively.
And if you are unable to manage clothes steamer, you can embrace steam iron. However, there are variations. Not all the irons have steam settings. So it would help best if you followed the steps we mentioned above!
In order to get protection against mold and bad odors, you have to dry your washed burlap as soon as possible. Now the question is whether you can dry it with help of a dryer.
You see, a dryer can put a negative impact on your burlap. So if you want the best outcome, you may go for line dry or air dry. In that case, it would help best if you could dry the burlap out of direct sunlight. Hopefully, any of the techniques below will pave the way for you!
- As soon as you rinse the burlap, you better put it between two towels and let it dry. However, be careful not to twist the burlap fabric beforehand. It will weaken the fabric seriously.
- Secure a well-ventilated room and hang your burlap. Let it take some hours to dry completely.
- Dry your washed burlap by placing it on a dry flat surface. Let the fresh warm air do its magic!
Now the choice is yours. Whatever you choose, just don’t forget to avoid direct sunlight. It will save your fabric from bleaching. Otherwise, your burlap will turn yellow over time.
At the same time, you should pay heed to burlap accessories like purses, handles, and totes. Ensure a flat dry surface to dry them. And position them properly so that you keep their original shape intact.
The chances are high that a store-bought burlap will be unwrinkled and stiff. But after a wash and dry, it will not remain the same. And wrinkled burlap is like an old, unimpressive guy. So you have to remove wrinkles and rely on ironing or steaming for that. And after that comes the necessity of storing on which we will dwell now!
Please go through the short clip to feed your head!
As your burlap tends to develop wrinkles, you need to store them with care. Only proper storage can provide you with a crease-free, mold-free burlap. Otherwise, all your ironing or steaming effort will be in vain. However, complete cleaning and drying are a must for storing.
Mold and mildew grow in a damp platform, while your stored burlap can easily be damp over time. Or let’s say you do reside in a low-humidity area. In that condition, your burlap is under a high risk of molding too!
Else, dare not store the burlap in harsh, direct sunlight. It will cause bleaching of your burlap. Apart from that, direct sunlight will make your burlap brittle and fragile. So it would help if you manage a well-ventilated area for perfect storage management.
Another technique for building resistance against creases and wrinkles is- rolling. On the contrary, folding helps develop crease lines on the fabric. So better refrain from folding. Or, you may get an empty paper towel tube to roll the burlap fabric around it. The biggest benefit of rolling is that it takes minimal space for storage. So no worries if you have a small storage area.
And even if you are bound to fold the fabric, folding that along existing seams will be wise.
You may have burlap accessories such as bags to store. Here preserving their shape and structure is urgent. In that case, to keep their forms okay, you better insert cardboard boxes or sheets inside them. And please, keep all sorts of odor-emitting products away from them.
This is also crucial. Getting unpleasant odors from bought burlap is very common. Or, it may get unwanted smells from any other object as well. If you fail to remove it by washing, you can apply any of the techniques below! And yes, you can do it at home!
A. Let us talk about the natural smell of bought burlap first. You can quickly banish it through an air dry. For this, choose an open space that would be void of any direct harsh sunlight or rain and well-ventilated. At the same time, the place must not be humid because such a space can give birth to mold or mildew.
On the contrary, it takes a long time to dry and eliminate odor from a piece of burlap fabric in an indoor setting.
B. You can apply baking soda to eliminate odors. Get some water to dissolve the baking soda in it. Then fill up a spray bottle with that. Now, get your burlap in an outdoor setting. Before you let it aerate for some time, spray the dissolved soda on one side.
It would be best to leave it that way for a few hours. Then spray the opposite side of the burlap. You will be lucky if the outdoor weather is warm. It will help your burlap piece dry faster.
C. The odors might be stubborn in nature. Then it would be best to go for acidic treatments. Please bear in mind- that unless you remain cautious, you will risk damaging your burlap fabric. Anyways, fill your spray bottle with lemon juice and spray over the burlap. Then let it dry outdoors.
Else, you can come up with a diluted vinegar solution alternatively. In that case, sink your burlap in it for a few minutes. Then get some cold water to rinse the fabric in it. Finally, let it dry, just don’t try to twist or wring it!
D. Let’s say all the techniques mentioned above have become ineffective for you. Then we would like to suggest using a fabric deodorizer.
Whatever you use, use it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. It would help best if you abided by every washing and maintenance-related specific instruction.
You may like its cheapness, but simultaneously you should remember its fraying tendency. Despite being careful, burlap edges get frayed and fuzzed in different ways such as agitation, machine wash, tumble drying, wringing, twisting, etc. In that case, sealing is the only way to save from embarrassment. Even if you want to iron this, you will have to seal the edges first.
Here we will provide you with some solutions one by one. Please have a look!
Is your burlap’s weave already visible? Are you going to give a straight cut into that? Then it would help best if you followed a thread and cut gently.
In the opposite case, if the weave is vague and you are in need of a more precise cut, use a pin to pick one of the burlap threads from the edge. Pull it to compel the burlap to the bunch. Bring the thread out of the fabric by pulling. The missing thread must have left a line. Follow that!
It is indeed a brilliant method to skip fraying. Employ a sewing machine. Stitch at around one inch from the burlap’s edges. Determine what will be the decisive look. The sewn edges can either be folded or unfolded. And it will depend on the determination.
You can make your burlap a bit aesthetic by applying decorative stitches. And if you want to make the sewing invisible, use a matching thread color.
Fray check is a glue-type thing. It will prevent your burlap from fraying by sealing the thread ends. Since it’s a clear substance, it won’t look odd at all! Moreover, it dries up shortly.
It is the quickest means to seal the burlap edges. Go to the back part of the burlap and better use a similar tape shade. Else, you will find some stores selling burlaps featuring binding tape on them too! Go and purchase!
Have some heavy starch to spray the edges of the burlap. Then iron it. You don’t need to sew. The starch will seal the edges.
Question: Can you iron burlap material?
Answer: Definitely! However, cleaning and damping are the preconditions to ironing burlap stuff. And while ironing, it would help best if you ensured a low-heat and maximum steam setting.
Question: Can you put burlap in the dryer?
Answer: Yes, you can, but it will be too harsh on the fabric, as we said in the article. Instead, you had better go for an air-dry in a well-ventilated where there is no direct sunlight.
Question: Should you wear a mask when working with burlap?
Answer: There is no such compulsion since burlap does not contain any pernicious elements. However, you may feel free to wear a mask as you might be dealing with dust, heavy starch, vinegar, and so on.
Question: Can you sew burlap with a sewing machine?
Answer: To sew burlap with a sewing machine, you need to have a heavy-duty needle. And you have to set that machine to a short stitch length. It will help the stitch strengthen the seam and catch all the fibers.
Question: Can you heat press burlap?
Answer: Keep your heat press closed on your burlap. Ensure HTV for around 20 seconds. Peel up the HTV carrier sheet with care while removing the burlap from the heat. A heat between 305-325 along with lots of pressure is the key to putting HTV on the burlap.
Question: What is the difference between jute and burlap?
Answer: Jute is a fiber that we use to create paper, mats, gunny cloth, etc. On the other hand, burlap is a coarse cloth made from jute. Burlap can also derive from flax or hemp.
Question: Can burlap be softened?
Answer: You can add fabric softener to the rinse cycle of your burlap. In that case, you have to lower the spin cycle to medium.
Question: How do you keep poly burlap from fraying?
Answer: Hemming the poly burlap edges can save it from fraying. Here in this technique, you will cut edges and seal them with glue. It will stop fraying consequently.
Question: Can you breathe through burlap?
Answer: Burlap is breathable, and therefore we use it on plants. It helps the air circulate and let the heat transfer.
Question: Are burlap and hessian the same thing?
Answer: Burlap and hessian are the same things. However, across the Atlantic in America and Canada, the word ”burlap” is more common. Roughly, the use of the word ‘burlap’ began in the 17th century. It came from the word ‘Borel’, which means coarse cloth.
From this long discussion, you know about burlap and whether can you iron burlap. Apart from that, some other relevant things you secured like sewing, washing, drying, cutting, sealing, storing, and so on.
Days are gone when burlap was confined to the agricultural and coarse apparel arena. Today, from shopping bags to landscaping and craft projects, you will see the wide application of burlap. Such an eco-friendly product deserves our friendship.