How to Wash Linen (In Five Easy Steps)

Whether you’re removing a stain or simply hoping to keep your linens looking their best, it’s important to keep a handful of rules in mind before you launder. Read on for a few must-read tips on how to wash linen and keep your items looking like new.

Check the Label

While many linens are machine-washable, linens that are blended with other fabrics or have special treatments or dyes may require hand washing or dry cleaning. If you’re not sure what the care instructions on the label mean, this handy guide to washing symbols can be a great resource on washing tricky fabrics like linen.

Don't Forget About the Trim

Once you’ve settled on a cleaning method that works with the care label instructions, it’s time to prep your garment. Securely tie any drawstrings and fasten any buttons or snaps. If your garment has beadwork, use a lingerie bag or opt for hand washing.

Machine Wash (Gently)

When machine-washing linen, it’s essential to always use the gentle cycle. Make sure that the machine is not too tightly packed, and that the garments can move freely during laundering. As always, wash linen clothing with items of similar colour and weight. If you’re dealing with stains, begin with a prewash cycle, or sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto the area followed by a few drops of white vinegar. Allow the garment to soak, then proceed with laundering as usual. 

Or, Hand Wash

Linen clothing can vary significantly in terms of texture and weight, and for more delicate items, hand washing may be the best choice. Fill a small tub or sink with cold water, then add a dab of gentle laundry detergent. The water should be lightly soapy—not overly dense or sticky. Swish the garment lightly in the water, taking care not to twist, wring, or stretch the fabric. When you’re ready to rinse the garment, drain the tub and refill it with cold, clean water. Lightly swish the item as you did when washing (this step may need to be repeated a couple times), and make sure all detergent has been removed before drying your clothing.

Allow to Air Dry

After washing your linen, the best way to dry your clothing is in the open air. Hang items from a clothesline, or lay them flat to dry. It’s best to avoid the dryer, since heat can damage the shape and quality of the linen. However, a good hack for minimising wrinkles is to tumble dry your linen garments on low heat for about five minutes, then remove and allow to fully air dry.

Now that you know how to wash linen, check out a few of our favourite tips for wearing linen.

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