Ellen H
Ellen H
  • Hometalker
  • Cullman, AL
Asked on Nov 21, 2012

Question for crafters about washing burlap

StaceyEllen HSharron W
+13

Answered

I bought a burlap bag like coffee (I guess) is shipped in. I want to use it decoratively, but I think it needs to be washed. But it has a cool turquoise stripe on one side and lettering on the other and I want to preserve that for my project. Has anyone washed one of these bags? Did the color and letters survive? Any special instructions?
16 answers
  • 3po3
    on Nov 21, 2012

    How are you using it? Could you just quickly hand wash it? You could spot wash an inconspicuous area with the stripe just to check for colorfast.

  • Mary Insana
    on Nov 21, 2012

    Is it really dirty or do you just feel the need to wash it? No matter what route you take I would turn it inside out before you proceed. You could just throw it in the dryer with some damp towels to freshen it up. OR You could fill the washer with cold water and something like Woolite and let the bag soak for just a few minutes and spin the water out. You could swish it around by hand a little in the washer but don't let the washer agitate it.Throw it in the dryer with some towels for just a few minutes to get some more of the moisture out then hang to finish the drying.I agree with Steve about checking about colorfastness before you proceed with anything.

  • Ellen H
    on Nov 21, 2012

    Thanks. I will test for colorfastness and I can handwash it. I will be using it as the covering on a pinboard.

  • Sharron W
    on Nov 21, 2012

    I would simply sew around the edges of the piece first Ellen so it would unravel on you while you're handwashing.Burlap is notorious for unraveling.

  • Gail Salminen
    on Nov 22, 2012

    @Ellen H - SheilaG is right burlap unravels very easily. If you can wash a larger piece than you need, you could use masking tape on the edges then cut it off later or untape it - which would cause some loss of fabric - and cut off the unraveled parts. Masking tape goes through the wash quite well.

  • Sharron W
    on Nov 22, 2012

    Well, I did wash a piece of tapestry once and all I did was sew a tight stitch around the perimeter first....but I thought she was handwashing....and if she does stiching around the perimeter should stabilize it enough for that....then pressing with a warm iron will return any size loss.....

  • Ellen H
    on Nov 22, 2012

    Actually the bag is still sewn together, so that part is taken care of. I just wouldn't cut it up until after I washed it. It just has some areas that are much darker than others which is why I wanted to wash it. Also since it is a recycled item, it just seems that I SHOULD wash it. I just didn't want to lose the color and the lettering. I'll dampen a small area of the stripe to see if the color runs - if not, I'll handwash. If it does run, I guess I can live with possibly dirty burlap.

  • Mary Insana
    on Nov 22, 2012

    If the color does run or fade off just throw the burlap sack in the dryer with a damp towel just to freshen it up.

  • Marg C
    on Nov 25, 2012

    I'm thinking that the burlap will get out of shape if you wash it...even by hand. Does anyone know if it keeps it's stiffness after getting it wet? If it does then I can see ironing it after handwashing to reshape it. Did you wash it yet @Ellen H ?

  • Sharron W
    on Nov 25, 2012

    It won't be as stiff Marg, but it it will still be "rough" and on the pinboard it doesn't have to be stiff just taunt.

  • Ellen H
    on Nov 25, 2012

    No I haven't done anything with it yet. At the rate I move, it might be a while. My mother used to say I was born in slow motion.

  • Marg C
    on Nov 25, 2012

    and then there's always starch added to the rinse water :) Your Mom must have labored for many hours when you were born @Ellen H slo-mo hehe My daughter was 23 hrs of labor...sheeeesh!

  • Sharron W
    on Nov 25, 2012

    I drank Rasberry leaf tea for two months before mine were born, they were almost born at home....apparently I was in labor about an hour...and no pain....one 'expansion' and the boys were crowned at 9cm when I got to th hospital....the Dr barely made it for the event..LOL

  • Stacey
    on Nov 26, 2012

    I felt the same about my burlap coffee sack from Germany, I washed it after i made a pillow cover out of it! REALLY BAD idea, all of the printing came off and it practically disintegrated in the wash. You can see pictures here: http://flickerwhips.blogspot.com/2012/04/back-to-drawing-boardepic-fails.html

  • Ellen H
    on Nov 26, 2012

    @Stacey Thank you for responding - I was hoping to hear from somone who had done it and could tell me the results. I will live with the dark spots and proceed with my pinboard plans. The bag is quite large so I think I will have plenty of fabric for what I need to do. Now I just need to figure out exactly what it is I want to do.:)

  • Stacey
    on Nov 26, 2012

    You are welcome!! At least something good came out of my disaster!!! LOL

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