Cosy to wear on a cool day, and light and airy when it’s getting hot outside – linen is a material that’s great in all weathers. But exactly how do you wash linen? We’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to minimise the risk of wrinkles and shrinkage – just read on to find out how quick and simple it can be.
Can Linen Be Machine Washed?
Linen is a breathable fabric made from natural flax fibres, often combined with cotton to produce garments, table dressings, and sheets. Of course, like any natural fabric, linen has the potential to get damaged in your washing machine. To avoid shrinking and creating wrinkles, you should:
- Wash linens separately from your regular clothes, giving them lots of space to move around in the machine. If you cram in too many clothes at once you will increase the likelihood of creasing.
- Wash linen on a medium to cool water cycle. Check the care label of your linen garment to find out the maximum water temperature recommended by the manufacturer.
- Use a good quality detergent like Surf excel Liquid Detergent or the Surf excel Detergent Bar for stain removal. Always check the safety and usage instructions on the label and test products on a discreet part of clothing before using on the entire garment.
- Choose a gentle cycle such as one designed for wool. Gentle cycles usually include a soak at the beginning followed by a short wash to minimise agitation in the drum (which can lead to shrinkage).
- Line dry immediately. If linen is left to sit in the machine it’s more likely to get creased. Avoid using the dryer as this will set wrinkles in place and may even shrink the fabric.
How to Hand Wash Linen
Cleaning linen clothes in the washing machine is really the easiest method, but embroidered or lace linens, like tablecloths, should really be washed by hand:
- Add detergent to a large bucket of cool water.
- Soak the linen items in the water for 15-20 minutes.
- Agitate gently then rinse in cool clean water.
- Repeat the process if any stains remain.
- Hang on the line to dry.
How to Clean Antique Linens
Linen is very hardwearing, which means embroidered sheets and tablecloths are often handed down from generation to generation. If you have fragile antique linens and you’re asking yourself ‘can you wash linen like this at home?’ – the answer is that it’s always best to consult a laundry professional who specialises in linen cleaning, first.
With these tips, next time you need to do a linen wash, you’ll be sure to know the best techniques for how to clean linen and make sure your items are well cared for.