Why are curtains an important part of a sustainable home?
When you buy anything – even curtains – you’re supporting a business, and by supporting that business you’re supporting their business practices.
A purchase from an ethical and environmentally responsible business is an encouragement for them to keep doing the right thing.
To make your sustainable curtain search effortless, we’ve listed 8 sustainable brands that have chosen low impact over cheap production and high profit.
Read on to learn more about linen, what exactly makes it a sustainability star, and the unexpected benefits linen curtains offer you and your home.
Where Does Linen Come From?
You can find linen in civilizations like Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. It even makes its appearance in the Bible.
From clothing, bandages, and mummies; to currency and ship sails, linen’s been used for a little of everything over thousands of years.
What Makes Linen Sustainable?
Linen wears the crown as the most sustainable textile. Why is that?
It’s Easily Organic
Flax is a resilient crop that thrives with little to no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers.
Farmers can produce flax crops organically without a significant decrease in yield. This avoids running the risk of contaminating water sources or jeopardizing the soil’s fertility.
It Conserves Water
Flax doesn’t need an irrigation system because it will grow on rainwater alone.
The irrigation systems used for other textiles, such as cotton, change the local landscape and waste large amounts of fresh water.
Linen is natural and as long as it hasn’t been dyed chemically, it’s biodegradable.
When you wash 100% linen, the microfibers that are released in the washing process will break down naturally and will not pollute water systems nor harm aquatic life.
The same cannot be said for polyester, acrylic, or nylon. When buying linen curtains, make sure your linen is 100% linen and has not been interwoven with these synthetic fibers.
Why Is Linen Good for Curtains?
In terms of pure appearance, the well-recognized texture of linen adds luxury without making a space feel royal or cold.
The signature creased look makes a room comfortable and cozy.
But linen also has many practical properties which make it perfect for curtains.
1. It’s Light-Weight
The fibers of the flax plant are hollow, making linen curtains neither too heavy nor too thick.
Because they’re light-weight, you can easily change linen curtains and take them down for washing, hassle-free.
Yet they still have enough weight to keep their shape and drape elegantly.
2. It’s Long-Lasting
Linen is light-weight without sacrificing durability.
One of the most durable fabrics, linen lasts longer than cotton or synthetic materials.
Unlike other fabrics that degrade with repeated washing, linen curtains just get stronger and softer.
3. It’s Hypoallergenic, Antibacterial, and Anti-Insect
Because flax plant fibers are hollow, linen breathes easy and dries quickly.
Even in humid climates, linen curtains don’t hold on to mold, mildew, or dust. It’s the ideal fabric for people who suffer from allergies.
Flax also naturally repels insects. You don’t have to worry about moths making holes in your curtains, or mosquitos using your drapes as a hideout.
Do Linen Curtains Help Keep a Room Warm or Cool?
Both! Much like the insulation material used in your walls, linen keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
In fact, many eco-conscious homeowners are beginning to use flax as home insulation.
Flax has natural temperature-regulating properties like vapor permeability, also referred to as breathability.
This means it allows vapor to pass through it, preventing the condensation of moisture and cold in the winter.
In the summer, you can have your windows open but your curtains closed, and the fresh air will still easily flow through. You can stay cool and keep your privacy.
Are Linen Curtains Easy to Care for?
High-quality, 100% linen is sturdy and therefore low-maintenance. You can machine wash linen following these easy guidelines:
- Wash linen with like-color linen, separate from other fabrics. Don’t overload the washing machine to avoid wrinkling.
- Wash linen in cold water, as hot water can cause the fabric to shrink.
- Use the gentle machine cycle.
- Use a mild, liquid detergent (preferably biodegradable). Never use bleach.
As far as drying, it’s best to line dry your linen.
Or you can place linen curtains in the dryer on low heat, and take them out to line dry while they’re still damp.
For more on washing and drying, read here. And for information about how to remove stains from linen, read here.
How Much Do Linen Curtains Cost?
The ethical and sustainable linen curtains listed here run anywhere from $70 to $215. The average cost of these 8 sustainable brands sits at $125.
Where Can You Buy Sustainable Linen Curtains? (8 Top Eco & Ethical Brands)
As you go through the list you’ll see that some of the brands listed here are OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 Certified.
Any textile with this label has been tested for harmful substances and has been found harmless to human health.
Parachute is a woman-owned company based in the state of California. Their curtains are made of 100% European flax, with a 100% cotton lining.
Woven in a family-owned mill in India, the curtains are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified.
These drape panels are light-filtering but not blackout. Choose from classic white or chambray grey.
The Parachute site helps guide you on how to find the right length. They also provide installation instructions.
2. Magic Linen
Magic Linen is designed and hand-crafted in Lithuania.
You can choose from 7 different colors for your semi-sheer curtain panels, designed to keep your house cool while letting a little cheery light in.
These curtain panels are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified. Magic Linen uses environmentally friendly packaging suppliers.
So, you’ll receive your curtains in biodegradable packaging.
At Linoto you’re given a ‘customize your drapes’ option in which you indicate the length, width, and hanging method you need. As well as a selection of over 20 colors.
Designed to be light and provide privacy, Linoto’s curtains are made in the U.S.A.
This New York company has been around since 2007. Check out the Linoto Zero Waste Program Initiative.
All deliveries are made in plastic-free, recycled packaging.
4. Made Trade
These curtains are white with a branch design. The hand-loom linen is block-printed, naturally dyed, and hand-embroidered in India.
Made Trade gets their linen curtains from Soil to Studio, a fair-trade, women-owned, and POC-owned producer.
Made Trade was founded in 2018 in the state of Oregon. One of the great things that they’re doing is carbon off-setting all shipping and returns.
Based on the principles of organic and ethical, Rawganique was founded in 1997 by off-grid homesteaders. These 100% organic, dye-free, biodegradable curtains are made of French flax.
The black-out curtains they have available have two layers. The second layer is made of 100% organic, fair-trade cotton.
6. West Elm
West Elm offers a multitude of colors and designs. Their curtains are made of 100% Belgian flax and woven in a Fair-Trade Certified facility in China.
West Elm proudly partners with HERproject and Visionspring.
If you order curtains from West Elm make sure to request your curtains without the polyester blackout liner!
7. I Love Linen
An Australian company, founded in 2013, I Love Linen uses 100% French linen. All their products are OEKO-TEX Certified and ship in sustainable, plastic-free boxes or biodegradable packaging.
8. Rough Linen
Founded in California in 2009, 97% of Rough Linen’s products are produced locally. Made of European flax and shipped to you in recycled packaging, Rough Linen operates using a zero-waste standard.
Pick from a wide variety of colors. Their helpful site provides detailed care instructions and product videos. For example, a video about using ring clips for your curtains.
It’s a nice personalized touch that the founder makes YouTube videos to help inform the buyer.
Cotton vs. Linen – Which Is Better?
Linen undeniably offers more benefits.
It’s lightweight, long-lasting, hypoallergenic, antibacterial, anti-insect, temperature-regulating, cozy, and luxurious.
Flax crops waste far less water than cotton. And cotton, unfortunately, is highly flammable while flax is flame retardant.
But cotton is far more affordable. If linen is out of your budget, go for a 100%, organic, and fair-trade cotton option.
Look for a sustainable/ethical brand like the ones listed above, and enjoy your curtains on a clean eco-conscience.
Does Linen Have Drawbacks?
Linen curtains sound great, there’s got to be a downside right?
Do Linen Curtains Wrinkle?
The creases that many linen-lovers find quaint, others dislike.
These wrinkles can become more marked if your curtains are folded and stored away or if you wash your curtains in an overloaded washing machine.
Creases are normal for natural fibers and that’s part of the look. But any deep creases can be ‘tamed’ by washing your curtains and line drying them.
You can iron your curtains on a low-heat, or get a garment steamer.
Do Linen Curtains Fade Over Time?
Any natural fabric, directly exposed to the sun over an extended period will fade.
Linen curtains fade no faster than any other natural textile. There really isn’t a sustainable solution to this.
Synthetic fabrics, like polyester, keep their color longer because harsh chemicals are used to set artificial dyes.
In which case color comes at a higher cost to the environment and our health.
Are Linen Curtains Expensive?
Linen comes at a higher price tag than cotton and/or synthetic fabrics because linen production is labor-intensive. Watch the video below to learn more about how linen is made.
Because of linen’s durable high-quality, many linen fanatics like to think of it as an investment. Linen will withstand the years and potentially save you money in the long run.
Linen curtains are not only sustainable, but they’re also incredibly practical.
They’ll help keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s no wonder they’re currently a hot item.
Eco-friendly, chic, and hypoallergenic – you really can’t go wrong.
The 8 curtains brands listed here use 100% linen. Their fabric is not interwoven with plastic fibers.
Even though it’s not the easiest way to do business, they’re setting an inspiring example of what responsible and ethical business looks like.
No matter where you decide to get your linens, make sure to shop 100% natural fibers, free from polyester, acrylic, or nylon. Look for organic and fair-trade options.
Are you as fascinated by linen as we are?