I know it’s bad news for those of us who love fashion that clothing can be so incredibly toxic to ourselves, and our planet. Luckily, sustainable fashion is catching on, and it’s not so hard to find kinder options out there nowadays.
However, even when it comes to more natural options, not all natural fibers are created equal. Did you know that along with the many hemp clothing benefits, hemp is also the one of the most sustainable fabrics you can choose? So when you’re pulling on your hemp bra, or perhaps a pair of awesome high waisted underwear, feel good about the fact that you’re making a solid choice for yourself, and the planet.
With the increased demand in sustainable apparel, there’s even more reason for the fashion industry to focus on hemp. Every clothing item that can be made with more conventional fabrics can be made with hemp with less impact on the planet. So if you’ve been thinking about switching to hemp clothing, then read on for 21 hemp clothing benefits that will make the switch the obvious choice.
21 HEMP CLOTHING BENEFITS: WHY HEMP IS BEST
1. HEMP CLOTHING IS STRONG AND DURABLE
When you compare hemp vs cotton, hemp is three times (or more) stronger, making the natural fiber’s strength among one of the many hemp fabric benefits. Not only is hemp stronger than cotton, hemp is stronger than steel! That is such tough (yet amazingly comfortable) clothing, yo.
So what does it mean, to have clothes made out of stronger fiber? It means that your clothes will last longer, so you’ll get more wear out of your clothing. This also means that over time, you’ll have less wear and tear from everyday use.
So, if you’re one of those people who punches a hole in their socks every time you put them on, give hemp socks a try!
2. HEMP CLOTHING IS NATURALLY ANTIBACTERIAL
Hemp has natural antibacterial properties, which is especially good from a sustainability standpoint, because many companies have started to chemically treat clothing to make it antibacterial. As you can imagine, this isn’t so great for the planet. In this process, things like silver nanoparticles leach out of clothes, which harms both people, and the planet.
So why do we want antibacterial underwear, and antibacterial clothing, in general? Antimicrobial properties, like the ones found in hemp, prevent bacterial growth, which means:
- You’ll have less odor
- You’ll have to do fewer loads of laundry
- You’ll have a reduced chance of infections, both skin and yeast
- Your clothes will last longer, as you won’t need to wash them as vigorously
- You’ll feel fresher for longer!
The antibacterial properties of hemp clothing are especially important for protecting your more sensitive areas, hence why WAMA uses it in underwear. So reap the anti-bac properties and embrace hemp clothing!
3. HEMP IS ANTIOXIDANT RICH (GREAT FOR SKIN)
Did you know that hemp seeds and hearts are high in antioxidants? This means the oil derived from hemp is super beneficial for the skin. But to get totally science-fiction on you, that means that the antioxidant potential of hemp fabrics can help protect the skin! Here are some of the bennys:
- Hemp fabric can provide relief for those with sensitive skin
- Hemp can relieve skin issues, such as rashes, infections, and acne
- Hemp helps your skin retain moisture, also beneficial for those with eczema and psoriasis
- Hemp’s anti-aging properties can promote anti-aging and skin elasticity
- Hemp provides pollutant protection
Hemp in clothing does more than just cover your skin and help it survive—it helps it thrive!
4. HEMP PROVIDES UV PROTECTION
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that clothing can have UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) properties. And that includes hemp! I don’t know why the idea of using clothing or fabric to help protect against the sun seems so new to me. It’s obviously not, and humans were around for a long time before sunscreen was invented!
Hemp provides natural UV protection, making it a wonderful option for UPF fabric. According to testing, it’s 99.9% effective in protecting the skin from both UVA and UVB rays!
So, while I never recommend totally forgoing sunscreen, some sun exposure is good for us. Instead of slathering yourself in chemicals, cover yourself in hemp clothing and opt outside.
5. HEMP CLOTHING CAN KEEP YOU WARM AND COOL
The thermal-insulation properties of hemp clothing trap body heat, making it a great option for staying warm through chilly or cold weather. But, that’s not all; hemp fabric is also light and breathable, so it can help keep you cool during warmer weather.
How is that possible?? It all comes down to each individual strand of hemp fiber, which are structured like tiny catacombs. This means that it’s both highly absorbent, sucking in your body heat to act as an insulator; it also means that it’s highly breathable, too.
Wear your hemp clothing in the icy cold, the damp winter, the crazy tropics, or that dry desert… It's got your back. Or, you know, it’s got all the parts of you that need to be covered and comfy.
6. HEMP DOESN'T NEED HARSH CHEMICALS, PESTICIDES, OR FERTILIZERS TO GROW
Another one of the benefits of hemp clothing is that the plant grows like, you know, a weed. So, hemp hardly needs any fertilizer to grow, which keeps the soil cleaner, the water run-off cleaner, and so on down the line.
And speaking of weeds, hemp’s natural growth pattern is so close together, there is literally no room for (other) weeds to grow. No other weeds to get in the way = no awful pesticides. And for the occasional weed that does sneak in? Hemp tends to attract bugs that go for these very weeds. Handy!
Not only is clothing that is made of hemp fibers free of pesticides, chemicals, and fertilizers more hypoallergenic and easier on the skin, but it also helps protect our soil, waterways, and groundwater from harmful pollutants.
7. ALL PARTS OF THE HEMP PLANT CAN BE USED
When I say that all parts of the hemp plant can be used, I mean all parts of it. That includes the roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, and seeds. Hemp products number in the thousands, as in about 25,000, such as food, body care, building materials, toilet paper, fuel, plastic, and, of course, clothing.
Often hemp is grown for one part of the plant, however, such as for the seeds or the stalks, the leftover, known as hemp biomass, can be made into hemp biofuel. Hemp truly has the potential to be a zero-waste plant!
Focusing on minimizing waste is more important than ever, and it’s essential to the survival of our planet and future generations. Not only can most parts of the hemp plant be used, but they can be used in ways that promote sustainability, provide health benefits, and more.
8. HEMP CLOTHING CAN BE COMPOSTED
Carrying on with the whole zero-waste theme, let’s talk composting! It’s true that hemp clothing can be composted—but with the caveat that it must be made of 100% hemp, or blended with other natural fibers.
While high-quality hemp clothing is durable enough to last you for a very long time, when it does get to the level of wear that makes donating pointless, you can add it to your compost pile. Just make sure it's made entirely of hemp or blended with other natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk, or linen.
Since WAMA hemp underwear is blended with organic cotton and a bit of spandex to give it some stretch, you unfortunately can’t compost them. If you’re done with them (which will be in many, many moons), here’s what to do with old underwear.
9. HEMP IS SOFT AND GROWS SOFTER WITH EVERY WASH AND WEAR
We’ve all had that favorite super soft item of clothing that we wash carefully, baby as much as possible, but then the second we let down our guard… it goes through the regular wash. And it is never the same.
Enter hemp! Hemp often gets a bad rap because people expect it to be stiff, but because of its fine fibers, quality hemp clothing is really soft and gets softer every time you wash and wear it.
So not only will the strong and durable nature of hemp fabric make your clothing last longer, but each piece will become even more comfortable just through the necessary process of washing and wearing. As far as hemp clothing benefits go, this might be the ultimate.
10. ORGANIC HEMP CLOTHING IS FREE OF UNNATURAL AND TOXIC CHEMICALS
How disturbing is it that there is often formaldehyde in clothing? And that formaldehyde is just one of the many toxic chemicals—around 8,000, in fact—that can be found in conventional clothing? I mean, ugh. In addition, 20% of industrial pollution comes from textiles and the manufacturing process.
These chemicals can lead to skin problems and penetrate the skin leading to worse health symptoms, not to mention the negative impact on the environment and workers. In China, for example, it’s estimated that 70% of their rivers and lakes are polluted due to dyeing and textile processes. Not only does this mean that water is poisonous for humans, it also kills life in the water, and all over the country.
In case I haven’t made it clear—there are chemicals in our clothing and it’s gross. Luckily, there are natural fabrics and more sustainable fabrics catching on. While synthetic dyes and other chemicals can still be found in hemp clothing, it’s way less common.
When you buy organic hemp clothing from trusted brands, you keep your skin and your body safe from harmful dyes and toxic chemicals without sacrificing comfort or color, or even the planet.A
11. HEMP CLOTHING IS WATER ABSORBENT
Hemp is impressively water-absorbent and can absorb up to five times its own weight in water. Plus, water quickly evaporates away from hemp, meaning that you can stay even drier.
I think we can all agree that wearing sticky clothing is decidedly awful. The absorbency of hemp keeps you comfy and cool, it would be a super great thing to bring on that next tropical vacation (hey, I can dream). Too much moisture also equals increased infection possibilities, so the drier you are, the less chance you have of growing some of that nasty bacteria in areas you really don’t want it.
12. HEMP GROWS QUICKLY
Not only does hemp grow pesticide and fertilizer free, but it also grows fast. Hemp harvests are ready in just four months, and can produce six or seven tons per acre. More hemp in a shorter amount of time? Yes, please!
This is a faster-growing time than cotton, trees, and other natural resources that we use for clothing and other commodities. Not only is this great for production, but regenerating land and soil quickly after each harvest is essential for environmental health. As hemp helps recover soil (more on this later!), wherever hemp is grown, it can then be used to grow plants that need healthier soil to grow, as well as more time.
13. HEMP REDUCES WATER USAGE
Another one of the sustainable benefits of hemp clothing is that it’s not a water-intensive crop; cotton actually requires four times more water than hemp. In fact, cotton requires about 5,280 gallons of water just to produce about two pounds of fiber. That two pounds of fiber? It makes about one pair of jeans, or a single t-shirt. That water used to make that shirt or jeans would be enough for you to drink… for three years.
On the other hand, hemp only requires around 80 gallons of water to produce about the same amount of fiber. And in many places, a lot of this water can be sourced from rainwater. Here’s how that will break down per each pair of hemp underwear:
Really, hemp clothing is becoming a no-brainer, am I right?
14. HEMP NEEDS LESS LAND TO GROW COMPARED TO OTHER CROPS
If you’ve ever seen hemp growing in a field, you’ll know that it’s one tall and skinny plant. It doesn’t require a ton of space to grow, and has quite the land efficiency—hemp only needs half the territory of cotton to produce the same amount.
Producing more yield from less land is an important component of sustainable agriculture because huge portions of our natural lands are cleared for farming, the population keeps growing, and so many depend on farming for income, not to mention, you know, food.
15. HEMP CAN IMPROVE SOIL HEALTH
Hemp improves soil health by acting as a cover crop that preserves topsoil and shades out other weeds, and by bringing diversity to crop rotations. Hemp also roots deep into the soil, which helps prevent erosion, and loosen the soil so more delicate plants can grow after. These roots can also draw nutrients from deep soil and when hemp leaves are shed, these nutrients like minerals and nitrogen, are returned to the soil.
Hemp is also easy on soil and returns 60% of the nutrients it takes as it grows (if it’s dried in the field). Because of this, hemp has been grown on the same soil for 20 years without soil depletion. In comparison, cotton needs to be rotated out with a different plant every few years, or the soil won’t have enough of the right nutrients needed.
Thanks to hemp's ability to replenish the soil, it doesn’t need to be frequently rotated, so the same plants can be harvested a few times before replanting takes place. This is a huge win as far as saving resources, time, money, and labor go.
16. HEMP CAN GROW IN A VARIETY OF LOCATIONS
Another benefit of hemp is that it can be grown all over the world. While other crops, like cotton, need more specific environments, hemp is much more flexible. Of course, hemp fares best in certain climates and soils, but because of its resilience, it’s currently being grown in disparate countries like China (where most hemp is currently grown), Australia, France, Romania, Chile, Canada, and the United States, to name a few.
Hemp will happily grow on land all other plants have left stranded alone at the ball. This also means that hemp doesn’t have to use up precious acreage for food, something that is always a push-and-pull.
Since the Farm Bill of 2018 was passed, hemp growing is becoming more feasible in the U.S. Still, it hasn’t taken off quite yet, and until it does, it’s important to choose hemp brands that ensure fair working wages and conditions for their overseas growers and producers. Transparency is key! For example, here at WAMA, we work with manufacturers who make hemp in China under a strict supplier code of conduct to ensure worker safety and quality of life.
17. HEMP REMOVES TOXINS FROM SOIL AND GROUNDWATER
Hemp has phytoremediation properties, which, in more simple terms, means it can remove toxins from soil and groundwater. Hemp is known to remove heavy metals, radioactive elements, pesticides, herbicides, explosives, and fuels from the soil. They’re even using it at Chernobyl to help clean up that disaster.
Contamination of land and water is a huge concern, and often other remediation methods are costly, intrusive, or bring adverse effects to the table; but hemp offers a natural solution.
Hemp has the potential to be used for remediation of abandoned lands and to create healthy green spaces, especially in crowded urban areas.
18. HEMP ABSORBS MORE CO2 THAN OTHER CROPS
Did you know that fashion produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions? That’s more than maritime shipping and international flights, combined.
Hemp, on the other hand, is a carbon sink more effective than the majority of other forest or commercial crops, meaning it absorbs and stores large amounts of CO2, helping to reduce the greenhouse effect.
During the life cycle of hemp, it actually ingests a higher rate of carbon dioxide than trees do—hemp absorbs 3-6 tons of carbon dioxide per acre, while trees absorb 1-3 tons per acre. That means while it’s growing, hemp is sucking in all that CO2 and helping out the planet.
Can it get any cooler or more sustainable than knowing the hemp clothing you purchase is literally helping to remove harmful climate change-causing CO2 from the atmosphere? It’s seriously time for a hemp-volution already! (See what I did there…?)
19. HEMP FABRIC IS VERY VERSATILE
Not only can hemp fabric be made into, well, almost everything, from underwear to curtains to laptop bags to furniture, it’s properties make it a great blending fabric. This means hemp can be blended with almost any other fabric to create so many different fabrics.
Hemp is so versatile, it’s fibers can be woven alone, or with other materials to make everything from canvas to gauze. These hemp-hybrid fabrics retain the awesome strength of hemp fibers while creating even softer, fancier fabrics. This includes the fanciest of all, hemp silk.
Another pro of using hemp in clothing is that hemp fabric is super easy to dye (naturally, let’s use those low impact dyes, people! Or, um, companies!) and holds onto the color better than other fabrics. So not only will hemp make you superman strong clothing that gets softer over time, and can provide you with a variety of material options, it also won’t fade or bleed color.
20. HEMP CLOTHING IS MOLD & MILDEW RESISTANT
If you thought we’d covered all the awesome properties of hemp fabric, well, you’d be wrong. (No shame, there are a lot!)
Yet another benefit of hemp clothing is that it’s resistant to mold and mildew. This is especially helpful in climates where hanging up your clothes to dry always leaves them with the eau de mildew scent. Mold and mildew in your clothes can be harmful to your health, in addition to the smell.
As hemp has such a strong resistance to mildew and mold, it was used to make the majority of rope, sails and rigging on ships, through the 19th century. In fact, the word canvas comes from… cannabis! Fun fact alert… you’ll be a hit at parties for sure.
21. HEMP CLOTHING OPTIONS ARE GROWING
Since growing and selling hemp hasn’t been legal or accepted in the United States for some time, hemp clothing options have often been limited. Of course, hemp in clothing isn’t actually new—it’s thought to be one of the earliest plants used for textiles.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is on it’s way to makin’ a comeback, which really means that hemp clothing is getting easier to find, more versatile, and less expensive. (Insert fist bump emoji here).
Even though there’s still a cloud of stigma around hemp, clothing options are expanding. Because of this, there are many hemp clothing brands to choose from, so you can make the sustainable choice without sacrificing your style.
IN CONCLUSION: REAP THE HEMP CLOTHING BENEFITS
Hemp is straight-up magic! It gives us so much… and when it comes to hemp in clothing, there are just so many hemp fabric benefits and pros. In fact, it’s getting harder and harder to find any cons for choosing clothing made from hemp!
When you choose hemp clothing, you choose a product that benefits you, the environment, and the world. From softness, strength, and durability, to environmental replenishment and sustainability, to improved health conditions for workers, choosing hemp clothing is the way to go. And luckily, more options hit the market every day, making it more and more affordable.
What’s your favorite reason to choose hemp clothing?