Fabrics Database - Nettle

Summaries for Nettle

Key: Centre (0) Bad        Outer (6) Good

Characteristics / options defined by the above graphs are proportionally represented and approximate, and are only intended as a guide. As such they do not represent any industry standards. Among other things, fabric construction and weight will influence the perceived ranking.

Data Sheet for Nettle


Natural cellulosic fibre. A hard wearing fibre that has a degree of natural flame resistance and grown and processed in the UK. Currently only available in extremely limited volumes which are being blended with wool and used in upholstery fabrics.. It is unlikely to be in a position where sufficient fibre will be available for use in garments.

Available as:

Currently very limited in the UK. Nettle fibres are currently only available in restricted amounts. Used as mixed fibre blends, nettle is finding some applications in apparel where it is extremely hard wearing and durable. Volumes of fibre that are currently on the market are extremely small and limited. Incorporation into corporate clothing will take time to develop.


Needs to bleach prior to dyeing, treat as cellulose. Nettle naturally has an off-white colour and will therefore require bleaching prior to any dyeing. Hydrogen peroxide bleaching as preparation of the fibre irrespective of the ultimate shade as this preparation route removes most of the extraneous matter in the fibre facilitating better levelling during the dyeing process. The natural colour nettle is often too deep to respond completely to the hydrogen peroxide treatment and a two stage sodium hypochlorite bleach then the hydrogen peroxide bleach is required. This is especially the case when light colours are required.

Nettle, like other natural cellulosic fibres, can be dyed with reactive dyes or in some cases direct dyes. If the clothes are to be used for work wear where more durable dyes are likely to be required, reactive dyes, vat dyes or sulphur dyes would be the selection of choice.

Dimensional Stability

Shrink resistant. Good dimensional stability, fibres tend to have higher strength when wet than dry.

Resistance to pilling

Resistant to pilling. Nettle fibre are extremely durable and resistant to abrasion and pilling.

Moisture regain

Typically 5-8%.

Care information

Can be laundered at high temperatures, prone to creasing. Nettle can withstand laundering at high temperatures, these should only be used for heavily soiled garments. Flax fabrics are prone to becoming creased during washing and this will requires the use of a hot (steam) iron during pressing. Dyes have a tendency to bleed and suitable separation during washing should be encouraged. Chlorine based bleaches can be safely used on cotton, although dyed fabric should use a colour safe bleach. Tumble-drying requires a high temperature setting. Like cotton, nettle can be treated with a crease resistant finish which can improve the "easy care" nature of the fabrics. Treated fabrics should be laundered in accordance to instructions as these may recommend lower heat settings during drying and ironing.


Jackets and suiting. Blended with other fibres it can be used in some apparel such as dresses. Current heavy weight fabrics more suitable for jackets where hard wearing properties can be exploited.

End of life Possibilities

Can be disposed of using all end of life opportunities. A natural cellulose fibre that can be handled in the same way as other cellulose fibres. The fabrics may potentially be reused or re-manufactured and can also be used as a source of cellulose feedstock for regenerated cellulose products. Being naturally biodegradable, the fibres can be composted if required.

Eco aspects

Cost scope (economic impact)

Common trade names



Dr Matthew Horne
Senior Research Fellow
TEAM Research Group
Gateway House,
De Montfort University
The Gateway
tel +44 (0) 116 257 7550


Oakdene Hollins Limited, 2024 for the CRR Uniform Reuse Project www.uniformreuse.co.uk


The rationale behind the study has been to provide a means whereby current and potential fibres/fabrics for use in the corporate clothing sector, can be compared. Any such comparison will be dependent on a multitude of factors that will influence the choice. Although application is the foremost factor that will be influencing the material selection, service life and cost will also play an important role.

The information contained within the following data sheets is an attempt to draw together some of the salient points that may be of interest at the specification and design stage without trying to be exhaustive.

De Montfort University produces these data on the fibres/fabric groups and blends on a non exhaustive basis. De Montfort University therefore makes no representation, express or implied that any of the fibres/fabric groups or blends will be unaffected by other treatments or processes. Users of these data must address the possibility of any health and safety issues that may arise personally.