Hemp is one of the most durable fabrics and can last you for years— if you know how to take care of it, that is.
Handling hemp fabric requires patience, perseverance, and a lot of trial and error. This is because you will have to abandon some of your routine practices regarding washing, drying, ironing, and storing.
Luckily, we have curated an extensive guide on caring for your hemp clothes so that you can bypass the trial and error phases altogether.
How to Wash Hemp Fabrics
Just like with regular fabrics, you can choose to wash hemp clothes in the washing machine or through handwashing—it’s entirely a matter of your preference.
Of course, handwashing is always more gentle on any fabric. However, hemp is considerably more durable than the other types of fabrics, so you can stick to the washing machine without potentially damaging the fibers.
Washing hemp clothes actually improves their comfort and overall quality. This is because hemp fibers tend to retain moisture and will feel considerably softer after a few washes.
However, there are some things that you should do differently from your regular washing routine:
- Always cold water unless the clothes have heavy stains.
- Never use chlorinated bleach since it can easily stain the hemp.
- For heavily-stained presoak the clothes in warm (not hot) water and spot treat with soft detergents.
- Always wash colored hemp fabrics in cold water to preserve the color. Occasional warm water treatment is okay since hemp retains color better than regular fabrics.
How to Dry Hemp Fabrics
Washing hemp clothes is a cakewalk. The real challenge comes when you have to dry the clothes post-wash.
Your best bet is to stay away from heat as much as possible. Hence, using high heat settings on your dryer is a complete no-no.
Instead, line drying the clothes is your best bet. Yes, line drying isn’t always the most efficient method, but it can be if you stick to the following steps:
- Place your line rack in a relatively shaded area. You want to protect the clothes from direct sunlight but not from the air. If you don’t have a lot of clothes, you can even place the rack indoors under a fan.
- Wring the wet clothes to the point where they are no longer dripping wet.
- Hang the clothes on a line rack. Make sure that the clothes are stretched out to lessen wrinkles.
- Take the clothes off the drying rack when they are still a little damp. The dampness will make the ironing process much easier.
But what about those times when you’re in a hurry?
The good news is that hemp fabric is very resistant to harsh conditions. So the occasional tumble-drying won’t compromise the integrity of the fabrics nor the intensity of the color.
How to Iron Hemp Fabrics
All that washing and wringing is sure to crease your clothes— nothing good old ironing can’t fix. But while hemp fibers can technically handle high heat, the wrong ironing technique can compromise the look and finish of the fabric.
To avoid such mishaps, pay heed to the following pointers:
- Iron your hemp clothes while they are still damp. The slight moisture helps iron out the wrinkles faster.
- Stretch out the fabric to its natural shape to avoid additional wrinkles.
- Turn the clothes inside out and use high heat on the underside first. This should take out most of the wrinkles.
- If wrinkles still persist, iron the right side (or the outer side) of the shirt on low heat.
- If the clothes are colored, iron the underside only. Using direct heat on the outer side can cause the color to fade. Additionally, excess heat can create an unwanted and patchy sheen on the fabric.
How to Store Hemp Fabrics
Washing, drying, and ironing— the hardest parts are over. Now, all you have to do is put away your fresh laundry.
Luckily, hemp is naturally resistant to moths and other pesky pests that like to nibble on your clothes.
Of course, if you iron your clothes immediately after washing them (which we highly suggest you do), then you should hang them on plastic hangers. Otherwise, you can fold up your laundry and store it as you would, usually.
The only thing to steer clear of is cedar-lined chests and shelves with heat pipes running through. Unfortunately, both these things can easily discolor the fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Hemp Fabrics Shrink When Washed?
Hemp fabrics will not shrink if you use cold water while washing them. Similarly, you can avoid shrinkage by air-drying the clothes instead of tumble-drying or line-drying in the direct sun.
If you must use hot water for a tough stain, be extra vigilant about the cycle time. Moreover, do not follow up a hot water wash cycle with a heat-based drying process.
Do Hemp Fabrics Fade?
Clothes usually fade as a result of UV radiation, i.e., sunlight. However, hemp fabric has a high resistance to UV radiation. Therefore, the color of the clothes will not fade.
Which Detergent Is the Best For Hemp Clothes?
You can use any soft detergents to wash your hemp clothes. Some tried and tested favorites include Ivory Snow, Woolite, and Orvus Quilt.
Additionally, you do not need to use fabric softeners. Hemp fabrics naturally soften with each wash without the help of a conditioner or softener.
Should You Dry Clean Hemp Clothes?
Dry cleaning hemp clothes is not only ineffective but can also cause shrinkage. So whether it’s garments, accessories, or bed and table sheets, you should always stick to handwashing or machine washing your hemp fabrics.
Taking care of hemp fabrics can seem daunting at first. However, you can ease your mind with the knowledge that hemp fabric is much more hard-wearing than its conventional counterparts.
That being said, there’s no harm in taking a few extra steps to further reinforce the longevity of your hemp clothes.
Moreover, keep in mind that while hemp is a durable fabric, it is not indestructible. Remember that things like high heat and chlorine can decrease the lifespan of your favorite hemp garments.