In this blog, you can find helpful advice on how to maintain the cleanliness of linen without harming the fabric if you’re interested in learning how to care for linen fabric.
One of the oldest natural fabrics, linen was first made from the flax plant thousands of years ago. This lustrous, premium fabric is still in demand today. Linen is excellent for use in clothing because it is robust, strong, smooth, and incredibly breathable.
In fact, taking care of it is easier than it seems. Fabric made of linen can be hand-washed with regular laundry detergent or washed in a washing machine. Even so, it dries more quickly than most other fabrics do.
Now, read carefully to find out how to wash, dry, iron, and store your linen clothing. And here is our Fabric Care 101, which teaches you how to care for different fabrics.
How to Care for Linen Fabric?
In general, linen is a fabric that is simple to maintain. You can dry clean it or wash it in a machine. However, before cleaning your linen item, it is best to always check the care label provided by the manufacturer and pay attention to any special instructions.
The care instructions may differ if your linen clothing is a blend of linen and cotton or rayon. The fabric content of trim or lining can also affect the method of cleaning.
- Use a temperature that is no higher than 40°C for the first wash.
- Linen should be washed at 40°C. If some heavy-duty stains appear, you can increase the temperature up to 60°C. Due to linen’s propensity to shrink, high temperatures shouldn’t be used too frequently.
- Linen should be washed separately from other fabrics and colors.
How to Wash Linen Fabric in the Washing Machine?
You can machine wash linen. Choose the highest water level possible if yours permits. A washing machine shouldn’t be overloaded. Having too much laundry can cause the items to tangle, twist, and lose their original shape.
[Related: How to Wash Linen Sheets?]
Wash similar lightweight fabrics in your washing machine’s gentle cycle. Of course, using a big sink or bathtub and washing by hand is another choice. Use mild detergent and lukewarm or cold water to wash. Hot water can cause linen to shrink.
How to Hand-wash Linen Fabric?
If you decide to hand wash your linen clothes just put them in a clean sink with cool water and mild detergent. Gently agitate, drain the soapy water, rinse the sink, and refill with cool water until the water is soap-free.
Additionally, avoid wringing linen to remove excess water as this may cause the fibers to stretch slightly and cause additional wrinkles. To get rid of moisture, it is better to roll each item in a towel.
If you have stains, put immediately some water and soap or even the dishwasher if it is a greasy one!- to make it easier to remove them later. Normally, we should only use cold water to wash linen, but if the stain is from wine, we advise boiling the item to get rid of the stain. Be aware that hot water may cause the linen to slightly shrink.
You can only use bleach on white linen clothing when it comes to cleaning. But avoid over-bleaching as this can cause yellowing.
You can also take them to the dry cleaner. We advise doing this with more structured clothing, such as tailored pieces like linen jackets or suits. This is not because of the material per se, but rather because of how they are built and any linings they may have. First, look at the label.
Does Linen Shrink With Every Wash?
After its initial wash, linen does naturally shrink. Pure linen typically shrinks by about 4% on average. Many businesses sell pre-washed linen fabric to prevent alterations to the size and shape of clothing and textiles.
The fabric will shrink a little bit when it is washed again because of this initial wash. If the fabric has been pre-washed, check the label, and always adhere to the care instructions.
What to Do If Your Linen Shrinks?
Don’t freak out if a piece of linen you wash shrinks. 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 using a low iron temperature, carefully stretching the fibers to their original size. The fabric will be harmed if you vigorously rub or press. Just press down with a light touch.
How to Remove Stains from Linen?
whenever possible, wipe up spills. Avoid overwashing your fabrics to prolong their life. To remove stains, I merely use a dab of Dawn dish soap and cool water. A few drops of vinegar and baking soda work well to remove tough stains.
Again, avoid using bleach; instead, opt for an oxygenated alternative like OxiClean. However, I continue to have good luck with the dish soap technique and recommend starting there. In a very cold wash setting, many stains, including those from blood, jam, pasta sauce, etc., usually wash out.
How to Dry Linen Fabric?
To prevent wrinkles, it is preferable to air-dry your linen item after washing it on a padded hanger or to lay it flat on a drying rack. The dryer should not be used. Low heat is best for tumble drying because high heat will likely cause the fibers to shrink.
Lay flat over a drying rack if air drying is recommended by the care instructions. Avoid using clothespins, as they can cause stretch marks and deform the garment. To prevent the linen from stiffening, remove it from the dryer while it is still slightly damp. To finish drying, hang it up or lay it flat.
How to Iron Linen Fabric?
Add some moisture or steam to your ironing. While the garment is still a little damp, set your iron to the linen setting, which is typically the highest setting.
The fabric will dry and become wrinkle-free with the help of the iron’s heat. Before ironing, turn your garment inside out. To stop your linen fabric from receiving direct heat from your iron, place a press cloth between the fabric and the iron.
If you want your clothes to maintain their shape and be extremely crisp, you can also use starch or sizing. While dark linen should only be ironed on the back to avoid shine, white linen can be ironed on both sides. Use a press cloth instead to avoid that.
How to Store Linen Fabric?
Linen should be stored in a dry, cool location until it is next needed after washing and drying are complete. When storing linen clothing, it is best to avoid folding it because it is more likely to wrinkle, deform, or lose its shape if it has folds, creases, or other markings.
Store your linens in a cool, dry place; avoid plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and cedar chests. You shouldn’t be concerned about moths or other nippy creatures because linen has natural insect-repelling qualities. When you take linen out of storage, give it a good airing and wash it if it needs a bit of a refresh.
Things to Know When Wearing Linen Fabric
The only issue with linen might be wrinkles, so here are some helpful hints to avoid them in some clothing. Consider that they are difficult to completely avoid and that they are a part of the fabric’s nature. At the end of the day, we are pretty flexible and linen is not so much. Still, linen clothing has a relaxed & cool vibe.
When driving or spending a lot of time sitting still, you may want to take off your jacket. Until you need to wear it again, you might be able to hang your jacket on a hanger in your office and in your car.
Pants wrinkle in various places and are impossible to remove. When you’re ready to sit down, gently raise your pants from the knees. Stretch, sag, and subsequent wrinkles will be reduced to a minimum as a result.
[Related: What to Wear With Linen Pants?]
If there is no iron available and you have a wrinkled situation, you can use wettened hands as improvised irons to remove the wrinkles by stretching the fabric in opposing directions.
You should only wash your clothes when they really need it, as we always advise. In the case of linen, they most likely require some ironing and airing but are not yet significantly soiled. Just add some steam or moisture to remove the wrinkles before the next use.
Conclusion: Caring for Linen
As high quality as it is, linen is known for requiring a lot of maintenance. However, compared to other fabrics, linen requires more maintenance.
I generally suggest reading the fabric content and washing instructions labels on your specific item first. Something that feels like linen might actually be a blend with another fiber, so it’s always best to double-check the tags.
All that is required to preserve linen for many years is to adhere to a few simple rules.
Does Linen Get Softer After Washing?
Unlike cotton, linen gets softer and softer with every wash, as the pectin that binds the fibers gently breaks down. This can be accomplished with just water; expensive fabric softeners are not required. In actuality, softeners might leave a residue on the strands of linen that reduces their porosity.
How Do You Keep Linen from Getting Stiff?
Use baking soda or vinegar. Baking soda or vinegar may be added to the wash in amounts of ½ cup each. Additionally, you can soak linen in water and vinegar. Use 1 cup of vinegar to 4 liters of water as a general rule rather than more.
Why is Linen So Scratchy?
This is because linen is made of bast fiber that has been woven from the flax plant. Bast fibers are densely packed with numerous cells, which gives them their tenacity and sturdiness (as opposed to cotton, which is a single-celled fiber).