How to Unshrink Linen

Linen is a popular clothing material that is produced to be tough and durable but still needs to be cared for just like any other type of fabric. This is because materials made of linen have the propensity to shrink.

You’ll want to prevent any form of shrinkage of your linen so as to keep them in top shape for as long as possible. So, let’s try to discuss in a bit why it could shrink and how to prevent it.

What is Linen and What Makes it Shrink?

Linen is a though yet flexible natural fiber that can be utilized for lots of purposes.

A very common use is cloth making, due to its strong and absorbent nature, but if not taken care of in time, then it starts shrinking especially when exposed to too much heat, shrinking would make it smaller than what you intended them to become!

However, this can only happen with too much exposure to heat over time rather than just one washing session. So knowing how to unshrink your linen will be quite beneficial, and the knowledge lasting for a lifetime.

What makes Linen Shrinks?

Your linen will definitely shrink if the fibers in the fabric are tightly woven together, and when exposed to heat, such as a drying cycle or hot water, the fabric fibers will get loosen up and contract (this situation is commonly known as swelling), resulting in a smaller fabric.

Can You Unshrink Linen?

Yes! You can; linen fabric is the only clothing material that improves in its quality over time with each wash.

Just ensure you don’t wash your garment in hot water or a dryer. If you do this, then there is every chance that your clothing material will shrink thereby losing its shape!

Different Ways to Unshrink A Linen Dress

Here are some of the easiest and most effective techniques to unshrink your linen.

The best way to keep your linen fabric clean and smelling fresh is to hand wash them in cold water. This process starts with washing in cold water, lightly scrubbing it until you’re able to remove all those dirt particles from underneath their surface; then soak for about 30 minutes depending on how dirty they look.

Effective Techniques To Unshrink A Linen Dress By Washing

Once you’re through with soaking it, rinse thoroughly while making sure that all the remaining soap particles are gone, you can then expose them directly to sunlight to air dry.


Yes, you can steam the linen material to make it shrink less, wash it with warm water, you can add vinegar for a more effective result

Bring it out of the steamy water and rinse thoroughly, squeeze lightly to remove any excess water. Finally, hang it in your bathroom to air dry.

Using the steaming methods will ease tension on the fabric fibers and free them up.


Ironing your clothes is arguably one of the most tiresome household tasks, but it’s a necessary task for preserving your fabrics.

Ensure the ironing machine is cool, steam the fabric lightly before pressing out wrinkles so they don’t return later!


This is a novel method so you will have to be careful while applying it, but it will work fine if you do everything right.

Dip the affected fabric item in lukewarm water for about half an hour, and wring it out afterward until it gets damp. Next, put the damp fabric in a plastic sack and place it inside your freezer for an hour or two.

When you take it out, the fibers will have relaxed, and you should be able to stretch the fabric back into shape. Give it quick ironing for good measure, and it’ll be as good as new!


This might sound funny but wearing is also a great way to get your linen fabrics back into shape if they have been shrunk by the washing machine.

Simply damp up the garment and wring it out with both hands, then place them on a big towel, and fold the towel to mop up the remaining water in the fabric.

As this process continues with time (and depending upon how much moisture there was), all should be well again – no more shrinking required.

Tips For Your Linen Dress

  • Always dry clean your linen in cool water using mild detergent.
  • Ensure you air dry your Linen garments, as they can shrink in the drying machine.
  • And if you must use the dryer, always set the temperature to low or no heat.
  • Try to make sure your linen fabrics are damp before ironing them.
  • Always ensure your ironing machine is in good condition.
  • Avoid the use of hot water; this will shrink your linen fabric.
  • If your linen material is only slightly shrunken, try damping it and stretching it back to its initial shape.
  • For stubborn wrinkles, make use of a cool iron and steam the linen lightly as you iron.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Re-stretch Linen?

If the linen is slightly shrunk, you can easily restretch it back into shape. Spray some water on it with a spraying bottle, gently press on then stretch as it dries. You can also try to steam the fabric to loosen the fibers; this can help restore its original shape.

How Do You Soften Stiff Linen Clothes?

A very good and effective technique to soften stiff linen fabrics is to submerge them in a mixture of water and fabric softener. This will relax the fabric fibers, thereby loosening them and making the fabric softer. Another effective method to soften linen is to iron it while it is still damp.

Does Baking Soda Soften Linen?

Yes, baking soda or other kitchen items like vinegar can help to soften linen. Just add a cup of baking soda or vinegar to your laundry load when you wash your linen materials. They’ll come out softer and more comfortable to put on.

Additionally, baking soda is a natural fabric softener, so it works gently on your dresses and won’t damage them over time, unlike most commercial fabric softeners. Just give it a try the next time you wash your fabrics and you’ll be amazed at how well it works.

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