What Makes Hemp Fabric Good for You and the Environment?

Hemp fabric is a highly durable and comfortable natural fibre obtained from the stalks of the cannabis sativa plant. Recently hemp has been recognised as a legal industrial crop after its long history of being restricted across states. Hemp is grown using completely natural processes without any chemicals. It is a very healthy choice for people and the environment. Hemp fabric is an excellent option for environmentally conscious people. The plant is also known for providing durable and high-quality fibres with relatively lesser concentrations of psychoactive cannabinoids.

Why Choose Hemp Fabric?

After processing the plant into the fabric, the texture of hemp is similar to that of cotton. The material feels somewhat identical to canvas. Hemp fabric does not shrink and is highly durable against a piling. The fibres are long and sturdy, but the fabric feels very soft. For example, if a cotton shirt lasts for 10 years, a hemp shirt will last for at least three decades. Studies suggest that hemp fibre is three times stronger than conventional cotton.

Unfortunately, countries around the world don't have separate regulations for marijuana and hemp. In reality, hemp is entirely devoid of THC, but the global economy is still not promoting the use of hemp fibre. However, nations are gradually accepting the cultivation of industrial hemp. It indicates the rise of hemp fabric for mainstream purposes.

Moreover, hemp is a very lightweight fabric that makes a highly breathable fabric. It is an ideal choice for warm and humid climates. The dying process of hemp fabric is straightforward, and the material is resistant to mildew, mould, and other harmful microbes.

Manufacturing Process of Hemp Fabric

Hemp plants grow well in moderate climates with high humidity. Usually, the type of plants is ready for harvesting in August. Cultivators use special machines for harvesting hemp plants. After that, farmers leave the plants to rest for around 6 weeks. The elements of nature help eliminate pectin from the hemp plant.

Next, the stalks are made into bales and passed through a hammer mill to separate the outer fiber. The fibers are then carded and cleaned to remove dust and debris. After this process, the raw material is sent to manufacturers to make different products. In some facilities, hemp fiber is used to make paper-based products, while others make fleeces and mats. Then the threads are woven into a textile. After this stage, the processes are the same as those used for making other types of textile fibers. The yarn transforms into the woven fabric to make a wide range of consumer products.

Different Uses of Hemp Fabric

  • Hemp fabric is gradually becoming a common material for making apparel. In ancient times such a kind of fabric was considered a priced item for enthusiastic individuals. Even today, hemp fabric is usually popular among the cannabis subculture. On the other hand, communities worldwide prefer to use this material for its durability and comfort.
  • Garments made from hemp fiber include skirts, pants, dresses, t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, and other clothing items. Hemp fiber is prevalent for t-shirts due to its durability. T-shirts usually start to shrink or warp after a few washes. However, hemp t-shirts can retain their structure and appearance for several decades.
  • Besides, this fabric is a common material for making a wide range of hemp textiles. As discussed before, homemade materials made from hemp fiber are usually prevalent among marijuana enthusiasts. Recently manufacturers have started developing upholstery, table cloths, and towels using hemp fiber. 
  • Hemp is a popular material for manufacturing towels because of its high absorbency and durability. Consumers also like hemp bed sheets due to their softness and comfort. The durable nature of hemp fabric also makes it suitable for duvets and blankets.
  • Some people look for 100% hemp textile products, but manufacturers combine this fabric with other textiles to blend uniqueness. A mix of hemp with different textile fabrics makes it softer while retaining durability.

Why is Hemp Considered a Sustainable Fabric?

The production of hemp fabric is environmentally sustainable. Hemp fabric is a lot stronger than cotton but is equally soft and comfortable. It is also very durable and can last for decades. Humans have produced hemp fabrics for thousands of years without causing any significant damage to the ecological balance.

Cotton is a natural fabric, but it requires powerful insecticides and pesticides in the cultivation process. Chemicals eventually leach into the soil and affect the surrounding ecosystem. Besides, cotton cultivation requires large volumes of water which takes a toll on the underground water level. On the other hand, hemp cultivation does not require any chemical substance. It also requires less water and can be produced twice every year. All these factors collectively make hemp a sustainable fabric for the environment. 

Advantages of Hemp Clothing

  • Hemp is a very durable fiber which makes it an excellent choice for making a wide range of organic textiles.
  • Hemp is mold and microbe-resistant; hence it can last for an extended period.
  • Even after regular washing, hemp fabric shows minimal wear and tear.
  • Hemp fabric never requires dry cleaning; also, there are not many creases seen on the material.
  • Hemp fabric is a suitable material for making anti UV clothing.

Benefits of Hemp Clothing for the Environment

There are times when people use clothes so much that they degrade entirely. In such cases, throwing away hemp clothing is much safer as it is 100% biodegradable. Fabrics like nylon and polyester are non-biodegradable and sit in landfills for several years. Using hemp clothing is their environmental consciousness and using organic materials is the responsibility of every consumer.

  • On the same amount of land, cultivators can grow 3 times more hemp fiber than cotton. It also requires less water and chemical substances, making it suitable for the ecosystem.
  • Extensive use of insecticides and pesticides is a common agricultural practice. However, the chemicals leech and linger in the soil and eventually mix with the groundwater. It causes contamination of surrounding water bodies. Cultivation of chemical-free hemp is a significant advantage for the environment.
  • At present, the world is facing an acute shortage of resources. Hemp fabric is categorized as sustainable clothing, and it also has a wide variety of uses.
  • Hemp seeds are known for their medicinal and antioxidant properties. The hemp plant has several uses in its entirety.
  • Another notable feature of hemp is that it grows very quickly. According to cultivators, hemp grows twice as fast as cotton. As a result, it requires fewer resources and water before harvesting. Moreover, hemp plants can be harvested twice every year, which makes them sustainable plants. It is also beneficial for the farmers.
  • Even though hemp grows well in moderate climates with high moisture, it can be cultivated almost anywhere in the world. It makes hemp fiber locally available to people belonging to various regions.
  • The hemp plant replenishes the soil in which it grows. Besides, it also helps in protecting the top layer of the earth from erosion. The replenishing property of the hemp plant eliminates the need for soil rotation. It saves a lot of money, time, and effort for the cultivator.
  • Another notable characteristic of the hemp plant is that it removes all toxic materials from the soil. It naturally cleanses the soil and eliminates unwanted contaminants and pollutants from the soil. 

What is the Cost of Hemp Fabric?

The cost of manufacturing a fabric is roughly the same as cotton. Several market factors have increased the prices of this fabric. For example, cotton is produced in a much larger quantity than hemp. As a result, it is much cheaper per volume. Also, there is a novelty associated with hemp fabric, and some retailers charge a premium for hemp-based textile.

On the other hand, producing hemp fiber is much simpler and more efficient than cotton cultivation. These factors would likely lower the cost of hemp fabric. However, until the regulatory constraints for hemp cultivation are relaxed, it will not be widely accepted as cotton. Retailers will continue to charge unreasonable prices for hemp textiles.

Different Types of Hemp Fabric

According to studies conducted in the year, 1998 researchers found that the production of hemp requires lesser water and resources. Hemp is categorised as a carbon-negative raw material as it absorbs more carbon than it releases. Production of this crop requires no chemical pesticides or herbicides. Cultivation of hemp requires more nitrogen than cotton.

Hemp can be combined with other composite materials for making various items. It is used for making skateboards, fast food containers, and even the body of a stealth fighter. Hemp provides four times more pulp in every acre than trees. The hemp fabric’s cellulose level is almost three times that of wood, making it a perfect choice for manufacturing on paper. Besides, it also requires a lesser amount of chemicals to process the pulp into paper. The by-product obtained in the process is also less harmful to the environment. Hemp-based paper is free from chlorinated compounds.

Researchers have found that growing hemp fibre is relatively cheaper than wood. Since hemp is a very durable fibere, it can be recycled almost 7 times. On the other hand, conventional paper can be recycled only three times. The best part is hemp-based paper is naturally acid-free and can last for 1500 years. Wood-based paper only lasts for 100 years.

Hemp’s low lignin content is beneficial for making acid-free paper. The bleaching process requires hydrogen peroxide, which is less harmful to the environment. Chlorine used in bleaching wood-based paper poses a serious health risk to fishes in the surrounding water bodies.

The Takeaway

There are several reasons to promote the production and use of hemp clothing. Most importantly, it is an eco-friendly fabric that causes minimal damage to the environment. Hemp is not only good for the consumers but also the earth. By accepting the use of hemp fabric, one can become part of a sustainable movement to better the world. Hemp is rightly called a magic crop. Shop for Hemp fabric and more responsible fashion at Amala Earth.