Can You Wash Linen? A Guide to Properly Cleaning Your Linen Clothing and Bedding


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Yes, linen can be washed in a washing machine. However, you should always check the care label on the specific linen item you want to wash to ensure that it is machine-washable.

Some types of linen, such as linen clothing and bedding, can be washed in the washing machine. However, it is important to check the care label before washing to ensure that it is safe. Some linen may require hand washing or dry cleaning instead.

Other types of linen, such as linen upholstery and drapery, should not be washed at all. These items should be professionally cleaned to avoid damage or shrinkage.

Dos and Don’ts of washing linen

When washing linen, there are several things you should do and a few things you should avoid to ensure that your linen stays in good condition.


  • Wash linen in cold or lukewarm water to prevent shrinkage.
  • Use a gentle, mild detergent that is free of bleach and other harsh chemicals.
  • Line dry your linen to prevent damage from high heat in the dryer.
  • Iron your linen while it is still slightly damp to make it easier to press.
  • Store your linen in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew.


  • Use hot water to wash linen, as this can cause it to shrink.
  • Use bleach or other harsh chemicals, as this can damage the fibers.
  • Dry your linen in the dryer on high heat, as this can cause it to shrink and become rough.
  • Do not use a high heat setting when ironing linen, as this can scorch the fabric.
  • Do not store your linen in a damp or humid place, as this can cause mold and mildew to form.

5-step guide to washing linen

Washing linen can be intimidating, but with these five easy steps, you can keep your linen looking fresh and clean:

Step 1

Check the care label: Before washing your linen, always check the care label. Linen can be delicate and may require special care instructions.

Step 2

Separate colors: To avoid any color bleeding or fading, separate your linen items by color. Wash whites, light colors, and dark colors separately.

Step 3

Use a gentle detergent: Linen is a delicate fabric that requires a gentle detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibers.

Step 4

Wash on a gentle cycle: Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cool or lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it can shrink or damage your linen.

Step 5

Air dry: After washing, hang your linen items to air dry. Avoid using a dryer, as it can shrink or damage your linen fibers. If you must use a dryer, use a low heat setting and remove your linen items while they are still slightly damp.

FAQs on washing linen

If you’re new to linen, you might have some questions about how to care for it. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can you wash linen?

Yes, you can wash linen. In fact, it’s best to wash it before you use it for the first time to soften it up and remove any leftover sizing or dirt. Linen can be machine-washed or hand-washed, but be sure to check the care label first to see if there are any specific instructions.

Can you dry linen?

Yes, you can dry linen, but it’s best to air-dry it. Linen can shrink in the dryer, so if you do decide to use a dryer, use a low heat setting and remove the linen while it’s still slightly damp.

Can you iron linen?

Yes, you can iron linen, but it’s best to do it while the fabric is still slightly damp. Use a medium to high heat setting and iron on the reverse side of the fabric to avoid leaving any shiny marks.

What should you avoid when washing linen?

Avoid using bleach or fabric softener when washing linen as they can damage the fabric. Also, avoid washing linen with other fabrics with zippers or buttons, as they can snag the delicate fibers of the linen.

How can you remove stains from linen?

If you have a stain on your linen, treat it immediately. You can use a stain remover or a mixture of baking soda and water to remove the stain. Be sure to test any stain remover on a small, inconspicuous area of the linen first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

Final thoughts 💭

If you’re washing linen for the first time, it’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure that the fabric can handle the washing process.

Remember to always follow the care instructions on the label of your linen garments or home textiles. If the label says “dry clean only,” it’s best to take it to a professional cleaner to avoid any damage to the fabric.

When washing linen at home, use a gentle detergent and cold water to help preserve the fabric’s natural texture and color. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibers and cause the fabric to become stiff or discolored.

Overall, with the right care and attention, you can enjoy your linen garments and home textiles for years to come.

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