Hemp linen, as the name suggests, comes from hemp; a material that has been cultivated and used by humans for thousands of years since being one of the earliest plants to be spun into a fibre. Industrial hemp, grown from a cousin of the cannabis sativa plant, has been favoured over the millennia to make a wide range of products due to its incredible qualities. At one point the choice material for ropes and sails (including on Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas), hemp has been a misunderstood fabric in the past century, even being forbidden for a time due to the stigma attached to its botanical relative. But today, this sustainable natural fibre continues to prove its worth and versatility in a plethora of different forms, and this blog will explore just why anyone would benefit from owning items crafted from hemp fabric.
With anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, hemp fabric keeps harmful organisms at bay, maintaining its cleanliness. Hemp gives linen a run for its money in terms of absorbency, yet this by no means makes it easy to get damp. Despite being able to hold large amounts of moisture, hemp fabric is extremely breathable, giving it natural resistance to mould and mildew. This high level of breathability also helps to prevent unpleasant odours and keeps the material fresh.
As with its textile counterpart linen, hemp is an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin. As well as being naturally hypoallergenic, hemp fabric is kept free of chemicals during the production process, resulting in a 100% organic fabric which is suitable and comfortable for all skin types.
Low ecological footprint
Hemp fabric’s sustainability is another factor which should put it top of your list when selecting an ethical material. Unlike so many farmed products, the entire hemp plant is used; its stalk processed into fabric yarn and its seed sold as a health food. Therefore, despite being a plant which is harvested frequently, hemp produces very little waste.
Not only does hemp cultivation result in low amounts of crop wastage, but it is far more sustainable than many fabrics in terms of water usage too. Due to not needing heavy irrigation, the production of hemp fabric requires around twenty times less water than cotton (which needs around 10,000 litres per kilogram). At a time when we are more aware than ever of the need to use the world’s natural resources wisely, hemp is an obvious choice.
Good for the Earth
In addition to having a low impact on the planet in a wider sense, the planting and growth of hemp is actively good for the ecosystem in its immediate vicinity. The hemp plant is resistant to many diseases and insects, which means that hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides, chemical substances which can contaminate the soil or run into nearby streams and cause harm to the wildlife within them. From top to bottom, hemp protects its turf, eliminating weeds with its enormous canopy and preventing ground erosion with its long roots, all the while regenerating the soil with the nutrients from its falling leaves.
Even once it has been carefully woven into fabric, hemp continues to be environmentally friendly. Being recyclable, even the most loved pieces of hemp fabric can still be put to use, while any discarded fabric is biodegradable – a fact made even more appealing by the far fewer microplastics that can be found in this textile.
While hemp can be easily blended with other fibres if needed, hemp fabric itself is as strong as it is versatile. Fabric made from hemp has three times the tensile strength of cotton, which makes it ideal for hard-wearing pieces of homeware such as tablecloths, but also for clothing and upholstery. When buying items that you intend to last you decades, hemp fabric provides the assurance of longevity that makes your purchase a true investment.
If you still needed another reason to marvel at this fabric, you can do so in the knowledge that fabric woven from hemp is extremely easy to care for. Possessing a natural resistance to ultraviolet rays, this textile can be used or worn outdoors without risk of its colour or design fading.
Of course, despite its aforementioned hygienic properties, the fabric will still need cleaning to remove marks or stains, but this is made almost effortless by the fact that all hemp fabric is machine washable. In the same way that you need not worry about it deteriorating with exposure to sunlight, laundering the fabric is no cause for concern as it softens with every wash and therefore actually becomes more comfortable over time.
So, whether you are selecting artisanal pieces for your dining area, kitchen or living room, these are just some of the reasons why opting for hemp fabric is a decision you will not regret. Take a look at our hemp linen and vintage hemp linen ranges and discover homeware that is not only stylish, but eco-friendly, durable, pleasantly soft to the touch, sustainable and organic. We’re sure you will be as enchanted by this exquisite textile as we are.