Can You Wash Linen In The Washing Machine?




Can You Wash Linen In The Washing Machine

Linen, a natural and breathable fabric, has been a favorite choice for clothing, bedding, and home textiles for centuries. Its unique texture, durability, and comfort make it a sought-after material for various applications. But a common question that arises is: Can you wash linen in the washing machine? The answer is a resounding yes but with some precautions.

What Is Linen?

Linen is derived from the flax plant, making it a 100% natural fiber. It’s known for its durability, breathability, and ability to wick away moisture, making it perfect for warm climates. However, like all fabrics, linen requires proper care to maintain its beauty and longevity.

Why Choose Linen?

  • Breathability: Linen allows the skin to breathe, making it perfect for summer.
  • Moisture-wicking: It can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp.
  • Natural look: Linen has a unique texture that many people love.
  • Durability: With proper care, linen products can last for years.

Washing Linen: Best Practices

Machine Washing

Linen items can be both hand-washed and machine-washed. When machine washing:

Step 1

Sort by Color: Separate white, dark, and colored linens.

Step 2

Temperature: Use lukewarm water (<40°C/104°F). High temperatures may cause shrinkage.

Step 3

Detergent: Use a mild detergent formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid harsh chemicals.

Step 4

Cycle: Use the gentle machine cycle and avoid overloading.

Hand Washing

For those who prefer hand washing:

Step 1

Fill a container with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent.

Step 2

Soak the linen item for about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Gently swish the item. Avoid wringing or twisting.

Step 4

Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

Drying Linen

While tumble drying is possible, air drying is recommended. If using a dryer, use a low heat setting and remove items while slightly damp. Hang or lay flat to finish drying.

Caring for Specific Linen Items

Linen Bedding

When washing linen sheets or duvet covers, turn them inside out and ensure they have enough space in the machine. Avoid mixing with heavy items like towels.

Linen Clothing

Linen clothing may require extra attention due to its structure. To reduce creasing, wash in ample space and hang to dry immediately.

Additional Tips

  • Stains: Treat stains immediately. For minor spots, try soaking in a water-detergent solution.
  • Ironing: If you prefer a neater look, iron linen while it’s slightly damp.
  • Storage: Store in a cool, dry place. Avoid plastic bags as they can trap moisture.

Advanced Linen Care Techniques

Treating Stubborn Stains

While linen is a robust fabric, it’s not immune to stains. Here’s how to tackle some common culprits:

  • Oil-based stains: Gently rub a mild detergent on the stain before washing.
  • Red wine: Blot (don’t rub) with club soda or sprinkle with salt to absorb the liquid.
  • Ink: Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the stain using a cloth.

Softening Linen

Linen naturally softens over time with each wash. However, if you’re looking to expedite this process:

  • Vinegar: Add a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This natural softener breaks down residue left by detergents.
  • Baking soda: Add a quarter cup to your wash. It softens water, enhancing the detergent’s effectiveness.

Preserving Linen’s Color

Linen’s natural colors are beautiful, but they can fade over time. To maintain its vibrancy:

  • Avoid direct sunlight: Sun can bleach and weaken the fabric. Dry in the shade if possible.
  • Cold water: Always wash colored linen in cold water to prevent fading.

FAQs – Can You Wash Linen In The Washing Machine?

How often should I wash my linen items?

While it depends on usage, linen bedding should be washed weekly if used daily. Linen clothing can be washed after 3-4 wears unless stained or sweaty.

Can I bleach my white linen items?

It’s best to avoid chlorine bleach as it can weaken the fibers and turn them yellow. Instead, use an oxygen-based bleach or a natural alternative like lemon juice.

Why is my linen wrinkling so much?

Linen is naturally prone to wrinkles. However, removing it from the dryer while slightly damp and hanging or laying it flat can reduce them. If preferred, iron while damp.

How should I store linen during off-season?

Store in a cool, dry place. Avoid plastic bags; instead, use cotton or linen bags to allow the fabric to breathe.

Final Thoughts

Linen, with its timeless appeal and comfort, deserves the best care. By following these guidelines and understanding its unique characteristics, you can ensure your linen items remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Remember, the key to linen care is gentle treatment and natural solutions. Embrace its natural texture, and enjoy the elegance and comfort it brings to your life.


  • John

    Hello, My name is John I am the founder and lead writer at canyouwash. co. I have over 10 years of experience in the cleaning and detailing industry and I love to teach people the best practices for washing and caring for all kinds of items.

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