Learn more about jute by reading about its uses and characteristics.
We’ve all used burlap bags, bags with a country-style aesthetic, curtains, and a number of other pieces of furniture or accessories with a coarse, lattice-like weave. These items most likely contained jute in their construction. But how many people actually understand what jute is?
The bark of the jute vegetable plant is where jute, a natural fiber, is derived. The second most produced natural fiber after cotton, this long, soft, and shiny fiber has a high truensile strength.
So let’s jump right in and examine all of the jute’s features to learn what it is specifically used for and why it is regarded as an eco-friendly material.
What is Jute?
Jute, an edible leafy vegetable, also known as “the golden fiber”, is a long, soft, and shiny fiber made from the cellulose and lignin material from the jute plant.
The majority of jute fabric is made from Corchorus capsularis (white jute), despite the fact that there are several different jute species. Another species of jute that is used to make materials is called the Tossa jute (Corchorus olitorius). It is more valuable than white jute but more difficult to grow.
Jute fiber can be processed to make rope, bags, carpets, and many other things. Are any burlap bags, rustic-style baskets, or picnic baskets lying around the house? If you do, chances are that those products are made of jute.
Advantages of Jute
- Can be easily blended with synthetic fibers
Disadvantages of Jute
- Prone to creasing
- Not drapey enough
- Color can be affected if exposed to sunlight
- Loses strength if exposed to water
Where Does Jute Come From?
Most jute comes from the bark of the white Jute plant or Corchorus capsularis. Jute is only harvested once a year, following a four-month growing period (roughly 120 days).
Being golden-hued, it’s sometimes called the Golden Fibre. It is flexible and springy, lighter than other fibers, and has a shimmery sheen to it.
In countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar, jute grows best in tropical regions with medium to high humidity. Pakistan also processes jute, utilizing a sizable quantity of imported raw jute from Bangladesh.
Interesting fact: 90% of the world’s jute comes from Bangladesh.
Jute farmers rotate their crops to ensure that each harvest is robust and brimming with life, helping to preserve the soil’s health and vitality. This makes jute the perfect fiber for making rugs and is one of the reasons why jute rugs are well suited for walking and sitting on!
The strong knobbly knots that are found in many jute rugs are soothing underfoot while the fibers’ innate, organic qualities give it both cushioning and insulating properties. A jute rug can withstand years of heavy foot traffic and wear from both kids and pets, making it perfect for use on hard wood, tile, or concrete floors.
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How is Jute Fabric Made?
For centuries, little has changed in the process of making jute fabric. The majority of the time, mature jute stalks are manually harvested before being defoliated. Both the inner stem and the outer skin of the stalk can be used to produce jute fibers.
The non-fibrous material from the stem and skin of the jute stalk is eliminated through a procedure known as retting. It is possible to manually separate the fibrous material from the useless material after retting because it softens the stalks.
After the jute stalk has been retted, the long, silky fibers can be separated and combed into long strings. A yarn can then be made from these combed fibers. Although it is technically possible to produce jute yarn using automated machines, the majority of jute-producing communities still use analog spinning wheels for this task.
After jute fiber has been spun into yarn, it may go through a number of chemical processes to dye it, give it water resistance, or make it fire resistant. The finished jute fiber reels are then transported to textile manufacturing facilities to be woven into clothing or other industrial textiles.
To make the finished clothing products more comfortable when it comes to jute apparel, several softening techniques are used. To lessen the roughness of the jute yarn, some manufacturers may agitate it; alternatively, chemical processes may be employed.
In general, jute fiber used for industrial purposes can be left in its natural state without using any softening methods.
What is Jute Used For?
There are a plethora of uses for jute. Its ability to be used either alone or in a variety of other materials makes it a very versatile fiber. The fiber can be used to create textiles like yarn, twine, and sacking as well as rugs, rope, burlap, and clothing (in general, fabric, and material).
Jute rugs are a great home decoration because they are soft to the touch. They can be rounded, square, or rectangular; they look modern and add warmth, personality, and naturalness to any setting, whether it be rustic or modern. Read More: 8 Best Jute Rugs in 2023: Worth Buying
What’s best of all, though? They don’t need a lot of maintenance and are quite resilient. Their only enemy is high humidity, so try to avoid exposing them to it.
Jute ropes can be used for crafts, sewing, and decoration in addition to being extremely versatile and resistant to heat, sunlight, weight, and friction. Greetings, green DIY door wreaths!
To extend the life of a Jute rope, try to keep it dry and store it somewhere with low humidity. With the right maintenance, the lifespan of most natural fiber ropes is around ten years.
One of the most popular types of packaging material is jute, which is also used to make the fabric known as burlap. Why? Due to its resistance to tearing and heavy weights.
Burlap is a versatile material that can be used for more than just packaging. Have you seen the trendy biodegradable tote bags that are popular right now? To be honest, a lot of them are made of jute burlap. You can personalize this fabric however you like by having it dyed or printed.
As more clothing companies and designers become aware of the negative environmental effects of fast fashion, they search for new eco-friendly materials to create both reasonably priced and environmentally friendly clothing. Jute fabric shows up in this situation; could it be the answer? Absolutely!
Although jute isn’t very well-liked in the western fashion industry, jute shoes, sweaters, and jackets are gradually gaining popularity. New softening techniques are also being developed to make jute more comfortable because the fiber can be a bit uncomfortable on the skin if it isn’t blended with other fibers like nylon.
How Much Does Jute Fabric Cost?
Jute fabric is one of the world’s least expensive textiles. The majority of this fabric’s varieties cost around $1 per yard, though more expensive artisanal varieties may be available. Compared to many different synthetic fabric types, this cost is considerably lower and is on par with that of cotton.
Working directly with a manufacturer in India, Bangladesh, or another jute-producing nation is the most affordable way to purchase jute fabric. This strategy boosts the regional economy and gives textile producers the power to challenge exploitative crop production paradigms.
Is Jute Eco-friendly?
Jute is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly fibers to produce, so yes, it is. It grows without the use of pesticides or fertilizer, can improve the fertility of the soil it grows in, is completely biodegradable, absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen (even faster than trees do), and doesn’t release microfibers, reducing pollution of waterways.
It is sustainable in addition to being environmentally friendly.
What Makes Jute Sustainable?
Less land is needed to cultivate it because of a variety of factors, including the fact that it matures in less than six months. Due to its efficiency of growth, it doesn’t require much intervention to grow and replenish, so there’s no need to encroach upon wilderness and natural habitats.
Also, it relies on natural rainfall, needing less water to survive than cotton.
Can Jute Be Recycled?
100% it can be recycled. You can take your old jute mats, bags, and rugs that are too worn out to use and turn them into compost for the garden; your plants will be extremely appreciative.
This is an alternative to using the same fibers from one product to make another one. As you can see, jute is extremely eco-friendly.
Conclusion: What is Jute?
While synthetic fibers still rule the market, natural fibers like jute are becoming more prevalent in both businesses and homes.
When burned, jute fiber does not release any toxic gases and is 100 percent biodegradable. As a result, your jute rug is perfect for use as weed matting in the garden and can be used immediately after its intended use.
Beyond the fact that jute rugs and tablecloths look great, more and more people are becoming interested in golden fiber due to its eco-friendly production and reusability. Its applications are essentially limitless and for good reason.