I recently scored 20+ burlap coffee sacks on Craigslist for $20. That’s $1 a piece, if you do the math, which I did, because I couldn’t believe my luck!! Needless to say, I will have several coffee sack projects coming up soon, some of which are in the works right now. But before I got down to using the coffee sacks for projects, I knew I wanted to wash them to make then softer, less smelly, and easier to work with. After gaining experience with dying burlap and washing burlap, I took all of what I learned into consideration to make sure that when I washed these coffee sacks, I wouldn’t end up ruining them. Hey, 20 bucks is 20 bucks!
I have to thank Bliss from Bliss Ranch for mentioning her coffee sack washing experience, here. She has several pretty darn cool coffee sack projects, like these coffee sack pillows. So, believe me, I heeded her warning when I considered how to wash my newly purchased bundle of coffee sacks.
How to wash coffee sacks and not ruin your coffee sacks in the process!
Hand wash and rinse coffee sacks
If at all possible, do NOT wash your coffee sacks in the washing machine. Coffee sacks are usually not very big and can easily fit into a bucket for hand washing. A tablespoon of laundry soap in a bucket should be enough. I washed, then rinsed each coffee sack two times using the hand wash-bucket method. This process can be repeated more times if desired.
Remove excess water on the spin cycle or towel dry
Although hand washing and rinsing the coffee sacks is easy enough, removing the excess water is another story. I put my coffee sacks right into the washing machine on the SPIN CYCLE ONLY to remove the excess water.
Another way, that can remove the excess water is by rolling the coffee sack into a dry towel and then stepping on the towel back and forth, so that the towel soaks up most of the water.
Yet another way is to hang the coffee sack somewhere that it can drip dry. (This method will take the longest, no doubt.)
Getting the wrinkles out
My coffee sacks accumulated a lot of wrinkles as the burlap dried. Once the burlap sacks were almost dry, I turned my iron to the “linen” selection and was able to iron our all of the wrinkles.
I also used the steam option on my iron with distilled water. It took some elbow grease, but I was able to make them look almost like they did before I ever washed them.
Note: iron temperatures do vary, so it’s good practice to test out the temperature that works well on the burlap when you start.
Can you put coffee sacks in the dryer?
To speed up the drying process, I did put some of my coffee sacks in the dryer for about 5-10 minutes. I did not get any damage and it really did get the burlap much dryer; however, dryers can vary, so I made sure to test one out first before throwing several more in the dryer.
Of course, I still had to follow the ironing process above to get all the wrinkles out.
Sneak peak of next project
Here is a quick peek at what I’m currently working on. Yes, I have decoupaged the burlap coffee sack to the drawer. This was scary to try, but so far, so good. I definitely think washing and softening the burlap before trying to decoupage it to a door or drawer made this step easier.
Recap on how to clean coffee sacks
All in all I was able to get rid of most of the burlap smell with this washing process. I did still notice some smell from the ink and I don’t think that the coffee sacks were nearly as soft after the process like the burlap was when I tried that method.
– Coffee sacks were a little softer and more pliable
– The ink did not seem to fade at all, or very minimally
– No shredding or shrinking occurred
– All of the different coffee sacks brands seemed to have different weaves of burlap, so some were softer than others to begin with, etc…
– Standard, genuine burlap coffee sacks were used for this process
See how to wash and dry burlap, here.
See how to dye burlap, here.
Off to relax with a cup of coffee. Have an awesome weekend! ~ Amy