Can you put linen in the dryer?
Linen fabric has been used for centuries thanks to its beauty, comfort and resilience. But can it withstand modern cleaning methods? If you're wondering 'Can you put linen in the dryer?', or have questions about washing and cleaning linen fabric, this post will tell you everything you need to know.
What makes linen fabric a great choice for the home?
Derived from the flax plant, linen is a natural, sustainable material. It is used in many home textiles, like linen curtains and linen sheets, as well as more unusual products like money and bandages. It has naturally occurring anti-bacterial and temperature-regulating properties and is super comfy against the skin.
Thanks to these amazing qualities, many of us love using linen in our home and clothing. Whilst it does repel dirt it's still susceptible to the usual challenges of mud, food, pet hair and all the other everyday grime that our homes are exposed to. So, what's the best way to clean linen, and does it need to air dry or can it go in a tumble dryer?
How to wash linen fabric
Before you wash your linen clothing, table linens or linen bedding, you need to check the manufacturer's washing instructions. These will tell you whether your item needs dry cleaning, the correct water temperature if it can be machine washed, and whether you can tumble dry it.
Vintage linen items may not have care instructions. If this is the case, err on the side of caution - we recommend hand washing in warm water. Some might specify washing on your machine's gentle cycle.
Newer linen garments may be made from pre washed linen fabric. Manufacturers often pre wash to prevent linen shrinking. Pre washed linen fabric will be more able to go through a machine wash and tumble dryer. But again, check the washing instructions.
All LinenMe pre washed fabric garments can be washed on your washing machine in warm water. For best longevity use only mild detergent in the wash. When you wash linen sheets make sure not to overfill your washing machine as they can become heavy when wet. Too hot water can cause additional shrinkage or damage the fabric.
Heavily soiled linen garments, like linen tablecloths that have absorbed a spill, can be soaked before washing. Try to treat the stain before it sets and apply baking soda or white vinegar to the affected area on light colored linens before washing.
Drying linen fabric: what you need to know
Natural linen fabric can safely go in the tumble dryer, as long as the care instructions indicate this is suitable on the garment. Use a medium heat to dry linen shirts, linen bedding or linen clothes. Too much heat can, again, cause shrinking or damage. Hang as soon as they are dry to prevent further wrinkling.
Some natural fabric or older linen doesn't tumble dry well and it's best to air dry these garments. Drying on a washing line on a sunny day is the perfect way to dry linen sheets or to dry linen clothes. The sunlight will bleach some of the color so it's best to dry light colors outdoors and keep darker linen fabric out of direct sunlight while damp.
Hang drying on a flat surface is best for delicate or vintage pieces that need to be hand washed.
Should you iron linen garments?
Ironing linen is a matter of preference! We love the inherent natural creases you find in linen fabric. It creates an informal, cosy feel. But if you love linen that's wrinkle-free then you can iron most linen garments.
Many of us like to iron linen bedding for that crisp, cool feeling of freshly laundered bedlinen. Of course, this is not necessary and it will look great if you simply wash, dry and fold.
A linen tablecloth can look lovely freshly ironed, but it will also be fine embracing its natural creases. The same goes for linen napkins - do iron if you like, but there's no need.
Make sure your linen fabric is still slightly damp before ironing. Damp linen has some heat protection and will come out looking neater. Use a medium hot iron and place in an airing cupboard to finish the drying process.
How to care for linen bedding, linen sheets and linen clothes after washing
Once you've washed your linen garment and it's properly dry, store it in a cool dry place. Out-of-season linens can be stored with lavender bags for freshness, but linen is naturally repellant to moths so there's no need to take major precautions.
Natural fabrics will go mouldy or get mildewed if stored when still slightly damp, so it's important to make sure your garment is fully dry.
You might want to hang your linen tablecloth, linen bedding or linen clothes to air when you first take them out of storage. But as long as they are stored clean and dry they should be good to go.