Choosing natural materials: What are the benefits of linen fabric?

Choosing natural materials: What are the benefits of linen fabric?

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Natural fibers were the first known clothing to man! And even if they were itchy and stiff before, they have evolved with years to become soft and comfortable. As the world becomes more environment-conscious, more people are shifting to natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk from synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon to make an impact, and to take care of the environment. 

But why the sudden shift, and what are the benefits of natural fabric? Let's find out!

What are natural fabric materials?

 

Natural fabrics are made of fibers obtained through natural sources like plants and animals. This includes seed hair, stem fibers, husk fibers, animal hair, and even secretions.

Some of the most common natural fabrics include:

    • Cotton: Cotton is a widely available, versatile natural fabric obtained from plants. It is popular due to its comfort and ease of use.
    • Silk: Obtained from the silkworm, it is a beautiful and luxurious fabric. 
    • Jute: Jute is a strong, plant-based fiber. It is known for its coarse and durable nature.
    • Wool: This warm and durable fabric is obtained from sheep. It dyes easily and can be used for a variety of purposes.
    • Linen: This luxurious fabric is made from the flax plant. Apart from being natural, it is also known to be beneficial for the skin.

Natural fabrics - benefits

 

Nowadays, people are choosing natural fabrics over synthetic ones. Though environmental reasons are a huge reason, it is not the only motivating factor for the change. People are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits and comfort of natural fabrics. They are compatible with human skin and do not cause an allergic reaction. 

Natural fabrics have many benefits such as:

Environment-friendly

Synthetic fibres are manufactured using harmful chemicals, and the industrial process also causes adverse effects on the environment. They are also not biodegradable and cause harm for years, even after disposal. 

Natural fabrics, on the other hand, are derived from natural sources like animals, plants, and trees. While they are highly sustainable, they also decompose equally fast when discarded. And because of their durability, they can be reused or recycled into something else. 

Fire resistant

Natural fibers are safe to wear around the fire as they typically do not melt. Many fabrics like wool and silk do not ignite easily. Even if ignited, they burn slowly and extinguish quickly. Other fibers like cotton may burn rapidly but don't melt or stick. 

The fire resistance also depends on the type of weave. If it is a loose weave or the fabric is thin, it will burn very quickly. Fabrics with a coarse surface also burn faster than those with smooth ones. 

Affordable

Natural fabrics are not as cheap as some synthetic fabrics but still are very affordable. Synthetic fabrics are cheap due to the low material and production costs. But they are also equally harmful to health and the environment.

Natural fabrics are eco-friendly and also good for your skin. The raw materials have a high production cost, and hence the fabrics are also priced higher. But fabrics such as cotton and jute have become cheaper over the course of years. As more people gravitate towards natural, sustainable fashion, the cost of such fabrics is also decreasing.

Comfortable

The unique quality of natural fabrics is that they are compatible with human skin. They are smooth, soft, and comfortable. Different weaves and fabrics are also suitable for different seasons. For example, people prefer cotton in summers as it is light and breathable. Similarly, wool is preferable in winter for its warmth and thick nature. 

Other than comfort, natural fabrics are also hypoallergenic. They do not cause skin reactions and are safe to wear--even for babies! Moreover, some natural fabrics are known to have healing properties. Fabrics such as bamboo and linen preserve these properties throughout the manufacturing process. 

If you are prone to skin infections and allergies, you can also use these fabrics for your bedsheets and furniture covers.

Linen fabric

 

Linen is a widely available natural fabric and one of the oldest fabrics known to mankind. It is obtained from the flax plant, which is grown in almost every country in the world. Very fine fibers are extracted from the plant by cutting or pulling. The seeds are then separated, and the plant stock is removed, which gives flax fibers. The fibers are then carefully spun into yarn and woven into the durable linen fabric. 

Linen is also known for its aesthetics and durability. If you want to know what linen fabric is, what are the different types of linen fabric and which linen fabric is best, or why should you choose a natural mattress made from linen? Then read on!

Advantages of linen - why is it so special?

 

In ancient times, linen was reserved only for the noble. But even today, linen is known for its royal, stylish look. Apart from aesthetics, linen also has many special properties. For starters, it is a strong fabric that is naturally resistant to moths. It is temperature resistant and does not harbor bacteria. Even when linen is wet, it does not lose its strength, making it an ideal fabric for tropical vacations. 

Untreated linen fabric (not dyed and free of chemical processing) is completely biodegradable. Natural linen fabrics are available in shades of ivory, grey, and tan. If you prefer other colours such as white linen fabric, they are also available in dyed varieties.

But the most special property of linen is its healing abilities. Even in the past, bed-ridden patients who used linen sheets didn't develop infections or bedsores. Apart from these, linen also has other properties like:

Durability

Linen is one of the strongest natural fabrics. The most commonly used fabric-- cotton, does not compare to the strength of linen. While cotton clothes last a few years, linen extends much more beyond that. 

The fibers required to make linen are collected from the inner bark of the flax plant. Aside from linen, a few other fabrics like hemp and rattan are also made from flax. But the inner bark fibers are stronger, making linen more durable than the others. 

When washed, linen becomes softer and more pliable but doesn't lose its strength. As a result, garments made of linen are good to go for many years. This makes it one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics. 

They are also naturally moth and bacteria-resistant, which makes preservation easier. With proper care, linen garments don't lose shape for generations. This is why many people have linen garments passed down to them from their great-grandparents!

It's breathable

Linen fabric is highly breathable due to the hollow property of its fibers. It does not promote bacteria growth, leaving you feeling fresh and dry. It also doesn't heat up quickly, making it ideal for summers. Even when compared to cotton, linen's heat resistivity is higher. A person wearing linen is also shown to perspire less than someone wearing cotton. It is the perfect fabric for people with sensitive skin prone to allergies. 

It has a luxurious feel to it

In history, linen was only available to nobles--priests, kings, and ministers. But later, due to the widespread cultivation of flax plants, linen was available to more people in a variety of forms. Today, we can use linen in almost every way imaginable! From garments and towels to beddings and kitchen fabrics, linen has found its way into every aspect of our lives. 

But that still does not diminish the luxury feeling associated with linen or the linen headboards. The more popular linen clothing has got people hooked. Anyone who tries linen clothing will prefer it over anything else. But this isn't the only reason why it feels luxurious.

Manufacturing linen also involves a lengthy process. It is made from the inner bark fibers--which are the best of the best fibers of the flax plant. They can be up to 20 centimetres long and are carefully softened, rolled, and woven. This process makes it one of the most royal, luxurious fabrics in the world.

It is highly absorbent.

People who wear linen clothing during summers know how dry and comfortable it is. This is because of its unique moisture-wicking property. Linen fabric is highly absorbent. It can absorb moisture without promoting bacterial growth. It is also known to keep perspiration in check. 

Even when moist, it grows up to 20% of its weight and still feels dry. So even if a person sweats, the fabric doesn't feel moist to touch. Other than that, its highly breathable property helps maintain good airflow and keeps the moisture away. 

How to wash linen fabric?

 

Even if it looks like a special fabric, linen is actually very easy to care for. It doesn't need to be dry cleaned and can be washed by hand or in a machine. Organic linen fabric shrinks just like cotton, so you need to wash it in cold or lukewarm water. Many wonder how to soften linen fabric. But linen does not require any special treatment, as it softens and gets flexible with each wash.

Use a mild detergent while washing the fabric. Use the machine's gentle cycle to avoid harming linen garments. Avoid using too cold or too hot water, and do not crowd the machine with too many clothes. 

While linen doesn't require dry washing or special care, fabrics used along with linen might need it. If your clothing is made from multiple fabrics, such as cotton linen fabric, or if it is dyed, it is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions while washing the clothes. 

If you are hand washing, use only motion to clean the linen. Do not scrub excessively or wring the clothes as it may harm the fabric. Even though it can be tumble-dried, linen has a tendency to get wrinkled. So, it is best to remove it while it is damp and hang it neatly till it dries.

FAQ

 

Many people have questions like how expensive linen fabric is, or how to soften linen fabric. If you are one of them, we have got you covered! Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about linen fabric!

[faqs style='toggle' filter='choosing-natural-materials-what-are-the-benefits-of-linen-fabric']"

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