Hemp is not the “perfect” material, despite having many wonderful uses. We examine the pros and cons of hemp in this article.
The world’s greenest fiber is hemp, which is one of the few. It works well for producing lovely clothing and soft textiles. It has a few shortcomings in addition to its amazing qualities.
Hemp is a natural material that produces eco-friendly clothing that is soft, breathable, light, and long-lasting. Unfortunately, hemp fabric is very prone to wrinkles. Furthermore, cotton dominates the market and is more expensive to produce and dye than wool.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of hemp fabric in more detail.
Pros of Hemp Fabric
Few Pests/diseases So Fewer Pesticides Needed
Hemp is a crop with few diseases and pests. Weeds are swiftly suppressed under the assumption that the crop emerges quickly and has a high plant density. It is important to ensure that the seed is sufficiently covered when sowing to prevent bird damage.
Greenhouse Gases & CO2 Storage in the Soil
Hemp is a CO2-negative material, it stores more CO2 than it emits. Its production requires few pesticides and herbicides and it releases few toxins into the soil and the wider ecosystem.
Additionally, it raises soil quality. The drawback is that cotton production uses less nitrogen than hemp production does. The structure of the soil is enhanced.
Little Water and Land Required
According to the Higg Index, a database that calculates the environmental impact of materials, 4.23 liters of H2Oe are required to produce hemp and 57.1 liters of H2Oe for the same amount of cotton.
However, almost half as much land is needed to grow that kilo of hemp because the plants grow so close together. In comparison to cotton, which produces 300–1100 kilos per ha, hemp produces 1200–2000 kilos of fiber per ha.
Can Grow in Different Climates
Hemp can grow in both hot and cold climates and because it also thrives in dry areas, where other crops have difficulty growing, it can be considered a robust alternative crop in the context of climate change.
Hemp is a Biodegradable Fibre
In terms of circularity, it is good that hemp is biodegradable, but it is more difficult to recycle. The textile fibers are challenging to separate from one another and recycle when hemp is blended with other materials, like cotton, for a softer fabric.
Hemp Fabric is Weather Resistant
Everyone is aware of the risks posed by the sun’s UV rays by this point. We are advised to use sunscreen when outside in the sun for this reason. Although hemp clothing provides an additional layer of protection, sunscreen is still required.
The extremely high thread count of hemp indicates that it is tightly woven. The material is therefore impermeable to the sun’s rays. According to best estimates, hemp can block up to 95% of UV rays.
Hemp Fabric is Extremely Durable
The absorbency and lightness of hemp clothing are astounding. Its tensile strength is much greater than cotton’s. Ancient cultures were aware of this, we can be sure of that. Considering that at least 10,000 years ago, they started spinning it into fiber!
Generally speaking, hemp clothing will outlast synthetic clothing. At first, wearing it might be uncomfortable for you. You will learn to appreciate the sensation, though, with time.
Hemp t-shirts are one example of clothing that is perspiration-absorbing and breathable. If you follow washing instructions, it doesn’t deteriorate quickly after a few washes. Additionally, it gradually becomes softer and gentler.
You Can Blend Hemp Fabric With Other Materials
It can be combined with other fibers to maximize the advantages of other materials. Examples of notable combinations are hemp and silk or hemp and cotton.
The combination might still be biodegradable if combined with another natural substance. Without harming the environment, you can enjoy the advantages of durability and added comfort.
Cons of Hemp Fabric
Hemp Fabric is Expensive
At present, hemp clothing is expensive compared to nylon, cotton, linen, or other commonly used materials. Production is increasing, but it is still far behind its competitors. For instance, the world produced about 60,000 tons of hemp fibers in 2018. As an alternative, we generated over 30 million tons of cotton!
Price increases occur whenever a product is new and there is a small amount available. The price will eventually decline, though, as demand rises and production expands. Although it is unlikely that hemp fabric will ever be as inexpensive as cotton, its cost will eventually decline.
Hemp Fabric Tends to Crease
Hemp wrinkles and creases easily, just like most natural fabric does. It is also scratchy, so for the time being you might want to buy hemp that has been combined with other materials.
You will need to apply chemical treatments to pure hemp clothing in order to keep it strong and elastic. Overnight, hang the item up to let the wrinkles disappear. The item might also need to be ironed.
Hemp Fabric Requires Extra Care
People nowadays prefer to throw their dirty laundry in the washer, turn it on, and move on with their lives. Cotton and nylon fabrics allow them this luxury, while hemp does not. When worn for the first time, clothing made of this material frequently sheds a little bit.
Make sure to wash hemp fabrics in cold water and stay away from chlorine bleaches. You should let the hemp air dry ideally. The act of drying the item of clothing could result in wrinkles and shrinkage. Hemp clothing can, however, be dry-cleaned.
Hemp Fabric Lacks Color
Due to the fact that it is made of natural materials, it lacks the color richness of its synthetic counterparts. As a result, it might not appear as “stylish,” but rather it will have a genuine organic appearance.
Additionally, hemp is not chemically altered or dyed with substances that harm the environment. In fact, dyeing hemp fabric is extremely difficult in the first place. Washing dark colors separately is a good idea because hemp isn’t colorfast. A dye catcher sheet might be a better alternative.
Hemp Fabric Has a Bad Reputation
Despite the fact that hemp cultivation is legal in the US, many people still have trouble telling hemp from marijuana. Law enforcement is a part of this. Because of this, it is still challenging to advocate for or promote hemp clothing for fear that it will be mistaken for a prohibited substance. The word “hemp” is still forbidden in some forums for advertising.’
This will eventually alter as more “chic” brands start promoting and offering it for sale.
How to Recognise Truly Sustainable and Ethical Hemp?
The use of plant protection products and fertilizers in hemp cultivation is limited, making the crop very suitable for organic cultivation. Hemp grown organically and non-organically has identical fiber quality.
Regulations in Europe specify the requirements for the production of organic natural fibers. In the cultivation, no synthetic crop protection agents, genetically modified organisms, or artificial fertilizers are permitted.
Using a (green) leaf-shaped logo, you can identify hemp that has received EU organic certification. The most important certificate for organic hemp to look out for is the GOTS or Global Organic Textile Standard.
The GOTS establishes environmental requirements for the conversion of textiles into apparel and also takes into account fair labor practices and working conditions during the production stage.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Hemp Fabric
In general, hemp is a natural product made from the hemp plant, a renewable resource. Hemp is used by many global fashion companies and designers to create and produce cozy clothing and footwear.
The environmental and social effects of consumers’ wardrobe choices need to be more widely considered. Additionally, the textile sector needs to take significant steps to cut back on waste, pollution, and carbon emissions.
Does Hemp Wrinkle?
Yes, hemp does crease like linen. Both hemp and linen crease more quickly than cotton, though linen tends to do so more so. However, there are methods to prevent wrinkling. Keeping hemp fabrics almost wrinkle-free shouldn’t be a problem as long as you take care when washing and drying them.
Can I Put Hemp in Dryer?
Avoid putting your hemp clothing in the dryer at all times due to the risk of possible shrinkage and misshaping – instead, opt for line drying. Because hemp is so absorbent and heavy when wet, it is best to dry it flat to prevent the garment from expanding or changing shape.
Does Hemp Shrink in Dryer?
Natural fabrics, like hemp fabric, can become slightly misshaped when washed in hot water and dried. When compared to other natural fabrics, hemp cloth is likely to shrink considerably less.
Does Hemp Get Softer over Time?
Like a baseball glove you’ve had for ten years, hemp fabric becomes softer with use. Hemp also quickly wicks away moisture, keeping your skin dry. Hemp isn’t going anywhere for a long time unless it leaves the country because it is one of the strongest materials on earth.