How To Wash Linen

Linen is one of the oldest and most loved fabrics for clothing, and it's a staple of our summer wardrobes. It’s natural, made from the fibres of the flax plant, super durable, and with the right care will keep on looking beautiful for generations.
  
Enter Clothes Doctor! We're here to show you how to get the best from this fantastic fabric, with some handy hints on how to wash linen and tips on the best way to dry your linen clothes, bedding, and other textiles. Here's how to wash linen. 
 
What to consider before you wash linen...
 
  • It's our golden rule, always check the care label before washing. Here's why. Linen is a fabric that is often blended with other materials to make a garment, but linen blends may require different care to pure linens. For example, linen blends may wash better at slightly higher temperatures (not too hot though) whereas pure linen is best washed cold. 
  • If there is a mark or stain on your linen, which may be common on items like linen tablecloths, pre-treat ASAP for the best chance of banishing the stain for good. Just submerge the stain in tepid water, add a capful of Tough Love Stain Removal, massage and leave to soak until the stain has disappeared. 

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How to wash linen clothes: machine vs hand 

If you're going to wash linen clothes in the machine, make sure to use a gentle cycle; some machines may even have a linen-specific cycle, which will have a low agitation level, and a low temperature. If your machine doesn't have a linen cycle, replicate these conditions with a gentle cycle and a 30-40 degree wash (although remember to check the care label of course). 

Make sure to not overcrowd your washing machine - some people even go as far to advocate washing linens on half of your machine's capacity. To be as eco-friendly as possible, we recommend filling your machine amply, but indeed, make sure not to overcrowd. This is because an overcrowded machine may cause the linen to twist and pull out of shape, and over-agitation will damage your clothing. 

Similarly, make sure to machine wash linen clothes with other linen items - you don't want to be mixing your linens in with heavy weight items, like denim, lest the linen becomes agitated. 

Use a mild detergent to wash linen, as while the fabric may be durable, over-exposure to harsh chemicals will weaken the fibres over time. Our Basil & Mandarin Leaf Eco Liquid Detergent is gently formulated, has a light, fresh scent, but packs a punch against your laundry. 

There is some debate on whether you should use a fabric conditioner with your linens, as overly harsh chemicals can damage the fine fibres. However, there's no need to worry, as our Basil & Mandarin Eco Fabric Conditioner is, unlike other softeners, completely free from formaldehyde and micro-plastics. This means it's kind to your clothes, and to our oceans. Win win! 

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If you're hand washing linen clothes, only use a gentle swishing motion – never harshly wring, twist or scrub the fabric. Hand washing is recommended for clothes that are not heavily soiled, or for linen fabric with a loose weave, as these might be more easily damaged during a machine wash.

 

How to dry linen 

 

Whilst you can put linen in the tumble drier, we always always always recommend air drying your clothes. Moreover, as linen is very prone to creasing, we recommend air drying items in the same way that you'd use them. Let us explain. If possible, you want to hang linen bedsheets completely flat and straight, so no creases form. Furthermore, you'll ideally want to dry a linen shirt on a hanger, so it'll dry in the same shape as how you'd wear it; make sense? 

Our top tip for air drying linen is to dry your whites and lights in direct sunlight to make use of the sun's UV rays natural bleaching properties - then you're less likely to need to use harsh bleaching products while washing. 

And if your linens do crease? Try giving them a steam - not only will it remove creases but it'll rejuvenate your garments, killing bacteria and making the fabric look fuller and fresher. Add a dash of our Steamer Water in Blue Lily and Bergamot for a wave of floral fragrance. 

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We love our linens, and we hope that with our tips and tricks for how to wash linen clothes and homewares, and our care advice, you'll be able to love your linens for years to come. 

 

Want to become an absolute clothing care pro? Shop the whole Clothes Doctor range today. 

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