How to wash linen? | Linen care tips

December 15, 2008

Even though each LinenMe product comes with care instructions, we often get asked what the best methods of linen care are, especially if your linen item has a fine hand-embroidered detail, like this Queen tablecloth.

Here’s a list of tips on how to wash linens:

- Regular washing is actually good for pure linen, as it softens and beautifies it, giving it a lovely ‘lived-in’ look, and you don’t need to store it away ‘for best’. Linen fabric gets rid of dirt more easily than other textiles, and if rinsed thoroughly it comes up just as new every time.

- White pure linen items without special finishes such as hemstitched borders can be laundered at temperatures of up to 95°C. We normally recommend using 60°C setting, as higher temperatures tend to wear linen out faster.
- Before washing, separate dark, coloured linens from white or off-white linens.

- You can use stain remover on stains before laundering, but avoid using bleach since it weakens fibres and may affect the colour of dyed linens. It’s worth noting that bleaching particles in conventional washing powder make natural linen colour fade.

- Try to rinse the stains immediately, when still fresh, and use natural stain soaps if needed. Cover red wine stains with sugar or salt instantly to avoid permanent staining. Sugar and salt are well-known for absorbing the moist; wipe the sugar off the tablecloth straight away.

- Linen garments, tablelinens and bedlinens normally do not need the pre-washing (or soaking). However, if you are washing a linen item for the first time, it can be soaked briefly in lukewarm water before the wash to avoid creasing.

- A conventional machine wash and fast spin is recommended. Use hot iron while the linens are still slightly damp.

- Linen has a distinctive crispness which you should be able to achieve with a hot iron – no need to use starch. However, if you insist, tablelinens can be starched after the wash to achieve extra crisp finish.

- Wash linen articles separately from other materials, especially during the first wash, as natural fibres tend to loose lint (nap), which you don’t want ending up on your other items.

- To reduce creasing, load your washing machine half-way. This will also ensure linens get plenty of water while rinsing.

- Do not tumble dry your linens, as it may leave permanent creasing and it definitely shortens the life of linen. Statistically the percent of shrinkage in linen products is approximately 4-5% if dried naturally, but it increases to nearly 10-15% if linens get a good spin in a hot tumble dryer.

- Straighten out the linen after the wash before hanging it on the washing line.

- Fine hand-hemstitched items, such as above-mentioned Queen tablecloth, require extra care. If washed in a washing machine, low-temperature and low-spin setting is recommended. Never tumble dry fine hemstitched linens. Dry-cleaning is also recommended.

And last but not least, follow the instructions on the label attached to the linen item. They are there for a reason!

If you have any further enquiries about LinenMe products and how to care for them, please let us know. We are here to help.


6 thoughts on “How to wash linen? | Linen care tips

  1. Phyllis

    I want my linen sweater to shrink. Can I throw it in the washing machine and dry it even tho the tag says dry clean only?

    1. linenme


      Your linen sweater can shrink if you put in the dryer. Please keep in mind, that good quality linen (european) shrinks 5%. If your sweater is produced somewhere in Asia, it might shrink till 10%.


  2. jessica Connor

    I’ve just been given a cedar chest full of old linens. They smell of mildew but have no stains. Is there any way to remove the smell and is it harmful to our health to have it in our house.
    Thank you,
    Jessica Connor

    1. linenme


      I’m sure you can wash all these linens. Please try to wash one piece using hand washing program and see how it comes. You can put some softener to get linen softer and get nice smell :)


  3. Rita Schaefer

    I have a beautiful linen tablecloth hand made by my German mother-in-law. We think it is about 100 yrs.old. It is of the Last Supper.Her initials are on it also. It has stains but it dosen’t smell. Can I wash this?
    Thank You, Rita Schaefer

    1. linenme

      Hello Rita,

      Thank you for your question. It is really difficult to give you suggestions without seeing this tablecloth.
      It should be possible to wash tablecloth if it is 100% linen. If you decide to wash it, please try to wash by hand very carefully for the first time. I usually put some bleacher on my white table linens, which takes out stains and makes them whiter. But I do not think it is good idea on old linens.



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