Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer? Proper Care Tips

Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer? Proper Care Tips

Before you wash your linen or throw your linen items in the dryer, read this post to figure out whether linen shrinks in the dryer.

Many people enquire whether linen shrinks. Yes. Linen will shrink in the dryer if proper care isn’t used with this textile. This is especially true if linen fabric is washed and dried using high heat. And, once a piece of fabric shrinks, it may be irreparable.

To prevent linen from shrinking, one must understand why it does. By taking a few simple steps, you can get the most out of this luxurious fabric and make sure it will last for years to come.

Further Reading:

Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer?

The initial drying of linen in a tumble dryer will result in up to 10-15% shrinkage. Heat can shrink linen, as was previously mentioned. Line drying your linens is suggested because of this.

However, if you do require your linen to dry quickly, use a low heat setting and a brief cycle. Additionally, it is best to take the linen off the bed while it is still wet and let it air dry completely. Read More: What Color is Linen?

Does Linen Shrink With Every Wash?

After your first wash, you can anticipate some shrinkage in your linen. The reason linen clothing is frequently made in slightly larger sizes than standard sizes is that this can be between 5 and 10%.

Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer? Proper Care Tips

Once linen has shrunk the first time, it should not shrink further in subsequent washes, as long as you follow the care instructions. When washing linen in extremely hot or extremely cold water, the fabric may begin to shrink once more.

Why Does Linen Shrink?

Why does this type of fabric shrink if linen is known for its strength and durability?

According to the National Cleaners Association, linen is one of a handful of textiles that experiences “relaxation shrinkage.” This happens because fibers stretch during the manufacturing process.

The fibers in linen fabric relax when it is wet. This causes the fibers to return to their original size, which causes the fabric to appear as though it has shrunk.

Not all linen fabrics will shrink in the same way. Although the fabric can occasionally shrink up to 10%, most industry experts agree that shrinkage of up to 3 to 4% is possible. For instance, consumers are less likely to observe any significant shrinkage after washing a garment if linens are pre-washed before being turned into one.

The natural fibers, however, can also shrink when heated. When washing two different types of linen, one in hot water and the other in cold, the hot-water-washed linen will inevitably shrink more.

The notion of fabric shrinkage is widespread in the clothing industry. There are various kinds of fabrics and each reacts to washing in a different way. The manufacturer should have their fabrics tested before releasing them into the market. Below are the most common questions about shrinking clothes:

How to Prevent Linens from Shrinking in the Dryer?

Shrinkage can also result from over-drying linen. Linen should never be tumble dried on high heat, which not only can cause the fibers to shrink, but break altogether.

Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer? Proper Care Tips

Instead, if linen is pre-washed, place linens in a dryer on low heat. But while they are still a little damp, remove them. You can use a low to medium heat setting on your iron and iron the linen while it is still damp if you prefer wrinkle-free sheets.

Finally, it is also important to check the manufacturer’s tag to see if there is a cleaning code or cleaning directions attached. The possibility of the linen fabric shrinking can be decreased by adhering to the tag.

What to Do If Your Linen Shrinks?

Don’t freak out if a piece of linen shrinks after washing. There are things you can do:

  • Soak the fabric in lukewarm water and mild detergent for around 10 minutes
  • Remove from the water and gently press out any excess water
  • Hang to dry for a few minutes, to allow any extra water to release
  • While the linen fabric is still damp, lay it flat on a towel on an ironing board
  • Press the fabric or item outwards while using a low iron temperature to gently stretch the fibers back to their original size. Avoid vigorous rubbing or pressing because doing so will harm the fabric. Just press down with a light touch.

Proper Care to Prolong Your Linen’s Lifespan

Does Linen Shrink in the Dryer? Proper Care Tips

Preventing shirts from initially shrinking is the best way to maintain your favorite linen clothing. Make sure to wash your linen items thoroughly and according to the recommended wash settings to avoid shrinking.

If for some reason you can’t read the care instructions for your garment or bedding, here are some safe best practices to wash and dry linen without shrinking:

  • Preparing Your Linens for Wash: For the most protection, choose a gentle or delicate cycle. Don’t overload the drum when filling your washing machine. Less damage to the fibers is likely to occur when your linen has more space to move around during the cycle.
  • Best Washing Temperatures for Linen: The best option for laundering linen is either a cold water wash or a warm water wash. Never wash your linen in hot water because it will most likely shrink.
  • Detergent and Laundry Additives: The best detergent for natural fabrics like linen is a mild liquid detergent. You should avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or fabric softeners because they can harm the fibers.


Either line drying or low tumble drying in the dryer is the safest way to dry linen without it shrinking. It is best to stay away from all dryer heat settings if you want to keep your linen from shrinking because any heat has the potential to do so.

Although linen is strong, heat and moisture cause the plant fibers to retract. It requires care and attention when washing as doing so incorrectly can cause it to shrink.


Is It OK to Put Linen in the Dryer?

Natural linen fabric can safely go in the tumble dryer, as long as the care instructions indicate this is suitable for the garment. To dry linen shirts, linen bedding, or linen clothing, use medium heat. Once more, damage or shrinkage can result from excessive heat. As soon as they are dry, hang them to avoid further creasing.

Does 100% Linen Shrink in Wash?

Yes, linen can shrink. Linen is just like cotton in this tendency. It is crucial to avoid using hot water when washing or cleaning linen clothing because of this. To avoid fading, only wash bright linen clothing in cold water. When washing linen items, use warm (NOT hot) or cold water.

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