Friday, January 25, 2008

What is the difference between hessian and jute?

A customer contacted me recently and asked for some hessian bags. As a child growing up on a farm, my father used hessian sacks for the wheat and barley and animal feed. So I thought I needed to find out more...

According to Wikipedia the term Hessian or Brurlap in the US, refers to the use of a coarse woven fabric for soldiers uniforms in the German state of Hesse. It is usually made from jute or hemp and allied vegetable fibres and often used to make sacks and bags to ship goods like coffee breans. It is breathable and thus resists condensation and associated spoilage of the contents. It is also durable enough to withstand rough handling in transit.

Wikipedia goes on to say that Jute is a ligno-cellulosic fibre that is partially a textile fibre and partially wood. The fibres are off-white to brown, and 1–4 meters (3–12 feet) long and often called hessian. Jute fabrics are also called hessian cloth and jute sacks are called gunny bags in some European countries.

So after reading all about it - A jute bag is the same as a hessian bag, burlap bag or a gunny bag.


  1. Anonymous12:52 pm

    Thanks for this research. However Jute bags on sale in the UK seem to be a much looser weave than the Hessian ones available. I read advice to hang a jute bag full organic manure in my water butt to provide a plant food 'on tap'. I still cannot decide which type of bag would be best.

  2. Thats a really good idea which we might try in our garden. Sometimes commercial hessian has been treated with chemicals hence the strong smell so jute maybe better although it would eventually biodegrade in the water.

  3. Best is to use Jute or Cotton bags. Both are biodegradeable. if any interest you can contact me.