How to Wash Linen Clothes

Linen is a high-quality fabric that is especially popular during warm weather. This fabric is known for its lightness, breathability, and its durability.

Many people don’t know that the technique for washing linen clothes is different from the usual laundry routine. This is because the natural flax in linen fibers is delicate when wet and must be cared for gently. If you are worried about how to care for your beloved and prized linen clothes, we’ve got you. Consider this article your guide to caring for linen clothes. 

Step by Step Guide Guide to Washing Linens

linen jacket laundry

You can wash your linens by machine, hand, or dry cleaning. Before you start washing with any of the methods, ensure you read the care label on your clothes. Some linens may need to be hand washed or dry cleaned by a professional. Once you are familiar with what your care label recommends; you can go ahead with the following steps to wash your linen clothes: 

How to Wash Linen Clothes in Washing Machine

Linen clothes are super delicate, but it’s not as complicated to wash as it seems. Here are some steps to machine wash your linen clothes:

Step 1: Separate Clothes

As with other clothing types, washing your linen separately from other fabric types and colors is essential. You don’t wash your linens with heavy towels or wash white linen with a purple shirt. 

Step 2: Treat Stains First

If there is a stain on your linen, it’s best to treat it first before washing it. 

Step 3: Wash in Lukewarm Water

The best water temperature for linens is lukewarm, about 104oF or 40oC. It is essential to take note of the temperature because high temperatures can cause the liner fibers to weaken. 

Step 4: Opt For a Mild Detergent 

Avoid using harsh detergents or detergents containing sodium borate, Amylase, Cellulase, and Sodium Hydroxide when dealing with linen clothes. It’s best to use a mild detergent specially formulated for linens and delicate materials. 

Step 5: Wash in a Gentle cycle

Run your clothes through the gentle cycle and ensure your laundry machine isn’t packed with too many clothes. 

Step 6: Air Dry After Washing

Linen is prone to shrinkage, so it’s best to air dry after washing. You can hang your linen on a clothesline or lay it flat on a surface in a well-ventilated area. 

How To Wash Linen Clothes By Hand

You can wash your linen by hand, especially if the manufacturer recommends it. Follow these steps to wash your linens by hand:

Step 1: Separate Clothes

Separate your clothes by fabric type and color to get them cleaner. Also, new linens tend to bleed colors, so they are best washed individually. 

Step 2: Fill the Tub With Lukewarm Water and Detergent 

Add about one to two teaspoons of mild detergent or baby shampoo into a tub of a bucket containing lukewarm water. Hot water will damage your clothes, so it’s best to keep the water as warm as possible. Next, add your linen clothes into the tub and let them soak for up to 20 minutes. 

Step 3: Swish the Cloth

Don’t scrub or twist your linens when washing to prevent them from stretching. Instead, carefully swish the clothes in soapy water to loosen the dirt. You can do this for about 3 minutes per piece of clothing. 

Step 4: Drain and Rinse

Drain the water out of the bucket and rinse your clothes until the soap residue is out. 

Step 5: Air Dry

Once you are done rinsing, use a white towel to suck out moisture from your linen cloth and then air dry it. It’s best not to wring your cloth to get out excess water because it may cause shrinkage. You can hang your linen shirts or sheets to dry or lay them on a flat surface.

Tumble Drying Linen Clothes 

Due to the delicateness of linen fibers, tumble drying is not exactly the best option to dry them. This is because the heat from the dryer can shrink and damage the linen fibers, which you don’t want. 

For this reason, the safest wash to dry your linen fabrics is air drying by hanging them out or laying them out on a flat surface.

dryer setting for linen

If you must tumble dry your linen, ensure you set the dryer to the lowest possible temperature. Also, take out the clothes from the dryer while they are still slightly damp to make ironing easy. 

How to Wash Linen Clothes Without Shrinking 

Linen is prone to shrinkage if you don’t wash them correctly. This is because the fabric is made of natural flax fibers that tend to shrink in water.

To prevent shrinking or damaging your linen fabrics, always ensure you wash them at a very low wash temperature and gentle cycle. Also, use a mild detergent for your linens, and avoid using fabric softeners because they usually become softer after each wash. 

How to Remove Stains From Linen Shirts

Before washing your linen clothes, it’s best to check for stains and treat them. Here are some steps to treat stains on linen shirts: 

Step 1: Attack Stains As Soon As Possible

The faster you treat the stain, the easier it is to remove. You do not need to wait for your wash day to get rid of stains; treat them as soon as you spot them. 

Step 2: Scrape Off Excess Stain Residue 

If the stain had some residue on the cloth, you should scrape them gently using a butter knife or spoon. For example, if you have peanut butter on your cloth, use a spoon to scoop out the stain before you start treating it. 

Step 3: Blot the Stain

Use a towel or white cloth to dab the stain to absorb it. This is especially important for food stains and oil stains. Ensure you don’t rub the cloth over it to prevent the stain from spreading. 

Step 4: Treat with a Laundry Solvent or Detergent 

There are different solvents for removing stains from clothes, but it’s best to pick something suitable for linens. The safest choice is to soak the stained cloth in detergent for some minutes. You can also apply the detergent directly to the stain and leave it to sit for some minutes. If you are using powdered detergent, make it into a paste by mixing it with water 

You can try other stain removal items: vinegar, baking soda, or store-bought stain removal. Avoid using bleach to remove linen stains to prevent weakening or discoloring the fibers. 

Step 5: Wash as Usual

Once you are done treating the stains, wash your linen with lukewarm water in a low washing cycle. 

Ironing Linen Clothes

First, it’s best to hang your linens after washing to reduce the chances of them crumbling. To iron your linen, consider having some moisture on the cloth so that the heat can remove wrinkles. It’s best to iron your linen clothes while it’s damp. Also, always use the linen setting on the iron and, if necessary, turn your cloth inside out. 

Tips to Care For Linens

In summary, here are some essential tips to note when caring for your linen clothes: 

  1. Fasten buttons and zips before you start washing. 
  2. Ensure you use a mild detergent suitable for linen and other delicate fibers. 
  3. Use lukewarm water for your linen clothes. Recommended washing temperature for linen materials is 104oF or 40oC.
  4. Iron fabrics inside out and only iron when the cloth is crumbled.
  5. Please don’t use bleach on your clothes as it can weaken the linen fiber and even discolor your outfit. 
  6. Do not wring your linen to remove excess water. You can use a towel to remove moisture and then lay it on a flat surface to dry. 
  7. Treat stains on your linen clothes before washing to prevent them from setting.

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