Using Organic Materials for Window Coverings: Hemp
Are you considering adding hemp window coverings to your Wilmington, NC home? Learn more about hemp and hemp window coverings in this article and decide whether this kind of organic window covering is right for you and your home.
What makes hemp organic?
Hemp is plant-based and grows in a variety of climates and soils, making it a very renewable resource. It is naturally resistant to pests, so pesticides are not necessary. Herbicides are not needed either since the elevated leaf canopy of hemp is dense and the plants grow tightly spaced, preventing sunlight from reaching the ground level where weeds and other plants would compete. Its root system’s depth prevents soil erosion, eliminates toxins, and prepares the soil for the next crop. Hemp fibers are among the longest soft fibers in the world, making them more recyclable than most other fibers.
Hemp has long been a source of textiles, food, fuel, paper, canvas, and wood, and has more recently gained attention with cosmetics, body care products, detergents, and even art supplies.
What makes hemp products organic?
Hemp has been harvested using natural and mechanical processes for centuries, and chemical processes have appeared more recently. The natural processes involved using water to promote the growth of a bacteria that would eat away the natural adhesives that held the fibers to the stem. Mechanical processing is done in the hemp fields, separating the fibers from the stem. Chemical methods remove the fibers from the stem faster but can damage the harvested fibers.
Chemical processing is the most cost-effective and fastest but results in a lower quality product called cotton hemp. Cotton hemp is a shorter and structurally weaker version of the same hemp fiber extracted by the other processing methods. Caustic sodas and acid baths eat away at the natural adhesives between the stem and fibers but also attack the adhesives holding the fiber together.
Naturally processed hemp requires an abundance of water, although rain or dew can be taken advantage of to promote conservation. The bacteria eating away at the adhesive doesn’t usually affect the fibers, but that bacteria can be washed into the water supply, calling into question the greenness of this method.
Mechanical processing seems to be the most eco friendly. Mechanically extracted fibers result in a longer fiber strand of higher quality. However, the process is not widely used, so finding products made from mechanically processed hemp may be very difficult and ultimately very expensive.
What are the benefits of buying organic window coverings made from hemp?
Hemp fabrics are not damaged by light, which is good for you if you live in a sunny home in Wilmington, NC. Blocking sunlight is one of the primary reasons hemp window coverings are purchased, protecting furniture and health from harmful UV light, and hemp superbly handles these detrimental rays. Light is also heat, meaning hemp is an excellent regulator of temperature; a large percentage of outdoor sports clothing either contains hemp or is made of 100% hemp for this reason.
Materials made from hemp have many other benefits as well. The length of harvested hemp fibers make hemp fabrics extremely durable and easy to recycle. They control moisture well and are very mildew resistant. Combining the light managing properties with high dye absorbency gives hemp fabrics a higher resistance to fading, thus meaning your hemp window coverings will last longer. Hemp materials are suitable to those with chemical sensitivities.
Hemp’s history proves its usefulness, but its unwarranted reputation keeps it on the back burner of textile options. Genuinely organic hemp fabrics may be difficult to find but have very clear health and environmental benefits and can beautify your Wilmington, NC home and the planet in a way less organic materials cannot. Your knowledge of hemp and its benefits can have a positive effect on your life.