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Thread: Has anyone washed old burlap bags?

  1. #1
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Has anyone washed old burlap bags?

    I have the opportunity to get some old burlap bags. These are the kind that coffee, oats, feed, etc came in. I'm thinking of making reusable grocery bags out of them. I know that they will need to be washed to remove any thing that might have been in them and to help soften them. I did a google search and found conflicting info about washing them in the washer vs hand washing. I'm hoping someone has washed some and could give me their opinion on how to do it. Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    You could probably wash them in the machine on a gentle/delicate cycle. I would leave them intact for the washing/drying process. And I'm sure the weave will shrink quite a bit during the drying process. But they should press out fine afterwards. Might need to use some sort of stabilizer on the back side when making the bags though for the sewing process.

  3. #3
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    Would hate to loose any of the writing that was on them - how old are we talking, being a "antiquer" I would hesitate to loose any thing about them. Any way, just for safety's sake, I would just hand wash one and see how it goes. If I was going to take a chance and wash them in the washer on "delicate" - I would probably make some big net bags to hold them. Just scary thought to me.
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  4. #4
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I think they would wash up and look like a rag.
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  5. #5
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    Many years ago our college theatre director wanted rag costumes for the villagers in THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON. He was given a large stack of burlap bags, which he thought could be cut up and sewn into pants and box jackets easily. We took four bags and made one outfit. The fabric looked good, but they were terribly itchy and smelled bad. My future wife and I took the sample and the rest of the bags to a local washateria and did them all at one time in several machines. We used mountains of powdered laundry detergent and lots of fabric softener. The filters clogged, the drain hoses clogged, the dryer filters clogged: it was horrible!! Had it not been for an owner/manager who really supported the theatre department, we would have really been in a mess -- figuratively and literally. What can I say? The production looked fantastic, but both of us swore never to have anything to do with burlap bags again.

  6. #6
    dd
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    Super Member dd's Avatar
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    My son brought home a stack to make a Halloween costume. They smelled horrible and left that "hair" and dust all over the kitchen. He didn't try to wash them. Not sure how he could stand the smell to wear it. He said it smelled, was stiff and itchy. He threw it on the burn pile when he got home but kept the hood. Just to say he made it himself. After reading youngduncan's experience, I'm so glad he didn't try to wash them.
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  7. #7
    Junior Member OrangeSherbet's Avatar
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    Yes. Don't.

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    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    Let us know if you did wash and how (machine or hand) Grandma always did hers by hand after letting them sit for hours in the water -cold I believe if memory serves me right ...LOL We all know how memory is !LOL
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  9. #9
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    where I work we use these bags daily, the fibers will always be falling out and making a mess

  10. #10
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    I think there may be 'working burlap' - like dirty potatoes come in - and it's nasty stuff to work with

    and then there might be 'decorative burlap' - and I don't know anything about that.

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