Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers that has proven its unperishable value throughout millenniums. The best flax in the world grows in Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands—the well-famed European “flax territory”, with 80% of the global flax production. There, the soil and the climate, regularly alternating between sun and rain, are ideal for the cultivation of a strong fiber. Flax fibers possess amazing natural qualities which add further value to a linen fabric.
Below are the amazing benefits of flax, which is why we love linen so much and want it for our positive household:
HIGHLY ABSORBENT—because flax fiber is hollow inside, it absorbs moisture amazingly well. In result, linen fabric can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in water, and still remains not damp to touch.
FAST DRYING—flax is a very efficient moisture manager. Because the fiber releases moisture so easily, the fabric can then dry quickly and thus aids in improving blood circulation. Linen dries faster than cotton.
EFFICIENT HEAT REGULATOR—flax features high conductivity. Because of its hollow structure the fiber can breathe. The air inside keeps it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This breathability makes linen fabric nicely cool to touch and comfortable to wear in hot weather.
HYGIENIC STAR—because flax is a plant fiber and not animal, clothes moths and carpet beetles are not interested in linen as they would be in a yummy piece of wool fabric. As positive householders though, we are even more interested in its anti-microbial and anti-lint/pilling properties as well as resistance to dirt and stains.
HYPOALLERGENIC—as a natural fiber flax only possesses scarce traces of allergens, which makes linen great fabric for sensitive skin.
STRONGLY UV RESISTANT—as linen is usually densely woven, this lessens the extent to which harmful UV rays can penetrate the fabric. This makes its sun protection factor (SPF) high as the rating found on sunscreen. Light linen colors are recommended because harmful UV rays penetrate them less than they do dark colors.
INHERENTLY SUSTAINABLE—flax is one of the most self-sustainable crops in the world. The fiber only needs sun and rain to grow and because rainwater is sufficient, no additional irrigation is required. This saves groundwater and contributes to a healthy ecosystem. The fiber is harvested through dew retting, which is a naturally occurring process. Hardly any plant protecting and fertilizing products are required, and no GMO engineering is involved.
FULLY BIODEGRADABLE—flax is fully recyclable after use and far more biodegradable than cotton. Linen can degrade in a few weeks when under earth to complete decomposition in a period of just about half an year.
ZERO WASTE—every part of this amazing plant is used. The linseed – for the next planting season and for food; the shives – for animal bedding and chipboards; the long fibers and the highest quality short ones – for textiles; the short fibers and all residual products, such as waste selvedge and shearing dust – for insulating materials or in the paper industry.
ECOLOGICAL CHAMPION—a hectare of flax retains 3,7 tons of CO2 yearly. The energy used for the production of 1 kg flax fiber is 5 times less compared to that used for 1 kg glass fiber and 20 times less to carbon fiber. No water, heat and chemicals are used for the manufacturing of a flax-based composite material, the process is all mechanical.
EASY CARE—linen fabric can be dry-cleaned, machine-washed, and steamed. It withstands high temperatures very well and has only moderate shrinkage when washed initially.
LONG LIFE—high quality linen fabric can last for years and furthermore, it improves with time and usage. Amazingly, it gets stronger and softer with washing.
IMMANENTLY DURABLE—flax is one of the strongest bast fibers. It is much more durable than cotton and therefore is preferred to the latter for its inherent strength and integrity. Linen textiles feature intrinsic durability and stiff quality fabrics can endure intensive use and industrial washing characterized with high temperatures. High quality linen meets the benchmark standard requirements of high wear and tear resistance, lightfastness and colorfastness.
NATURALLY AESTHETIC—flax fiber is smooth and more lustrous than cotton. The fabric is therefore lint-free and more appealing to sight. At the same time, linen yarns have irregular structure, which special texture creates the unique look of the fabric. Because of the low elasticity of fibers, linen tends to wrinkle easily, which contributes to its natural charm. Although ironing is still required to perfect the smoothness of its formal vision, nowadays the perfect modern looks of linen is unveiled with the imperfect charisma of a simple air-dried piece of fabric.
TECHNICALLY PROGRESSIVE—flax possesses strong natural technical characteristics, which makes it a leading choice for the new generations of technical applications. Flax-based technical textiles provide much improved thermal and acoustic insulation, lightness, and reduction of vibration. Flax fiber is half the weight of a glass fiber while at the same time, long staple fibers have a relative length compared to other natural fibers.
“Photo: Lapuan Kankurit Oy”