rolls of green linen fabric on wooden floor
rolls of green linen fabric on wooden floor

Linen Care Guide

An introduction to linen

For centuries, humankind has been weaving natural flax fibres into beautifully durable linens and successfully caring for them without the need for modern cleaning methods, washing machines or strong detergents.

Which means caring for pure linen is much simpler than you might think. It requires no specialist treatment, dries faster than other fabrics, and gets softer with each wash. In fact, some might say the best linens become more beautiful over time.

With a little bit of the right care, your treasured items will continue to bring you joy for generations to come. 

So, how do you care for natural linen, and what’s the best way to wash, dry and store your linen textiles?

Rolls of linen fabric on wooden floor with snake plant

How to care for linen

Fine-quality linen is naturally resilient and wears extremely well.

Thanks to its natural antibacterial, breathable and moisture-wicking properties, 100% pure linen also stays fresher for longer between washes. Needing to clean your textile items less often not only helps them stay looking newer for longer, it’s also kinder to the planet.

Longer wearing. Less energy use.

Linen fabric washing instructions

We’re often asked if linen can be machine washed, and the answer is: yes, absolutely.

Linen fabrics and textiles can be machine- or hand-washed very easily using the simple washing & drying process below

And the best thing about washing linen? It’s organic, biodegradable and has none of the harmful plastic microfibres that so often find their way into our waters and ocean life.

Linen washing temperatures

(Not too hot, not too cold. Just right.)

Whether you’re hand- or machine-washing your linen items, we’d recommend using warm or lukewarm water. The washing temperature should be low enough to protect your linens from heat damage and shrinkage, but not so cold that it shocks the delicate natural fibres. 

For the first wash, we’d recommend washing in lukewarm water or machine washing at a temperature below 40°c. After that, your linen fabrics and textiles can be washed at 40°c (or a planet-friendlier 30°c if only lightly soiled).

*Due to the heat, the linen may shrink marginally after the first wash (1-2 centimetres).

To machine wash linen

You can machine wash linen fabric and textiles using a gentle cycle on a low to medium temperature. 

We suggest washing together with similar colours and weights, and keeping the load light to allow the linens to move freely. This will help reduce friction and rubbing, plus they’ll come out less wrinkly. We also recommend using a lower-speed spin cycle for these purposes.

To handwash linen

If it’s especially delicate, has a looser weave, or you are at all unsure, washing your linen piece by hand is probably the best option. Swish it around in a bowl of mildly soapy water and gently press any areas that need extra stain removal. Resist the urge to rub, scrub or twist the fabric

Rinse with clean, lukewarm water afterwards, until all the residue is gone, and dry your linen item following the tips below. Don’t be tempted to wring it out as this can stretch the fabric.

Which detergent to use for washing linen

Choose a mild soap or detergent for washing your linens to help protect the textile’s natural properties. A little of your usual machine- or handwashing detergent should be fine if it’s not too strong. If you’re at all unsure, a detergent labelled for use on delicate items is always a safe option

Add the soap or detergent into the water first if handwashing, and never apply detergent directly to the linen. You can also add fabric softener if you wish, but bear in mind that this can reduce the textile’s absorbency and moisture-wicking qualities

Try to avoid using bleach or bleach-based products (even on white linen) as these can weaken the natural linen fibres. And always do a hidden patch test to check for colour changes before using any stain removers, glycerin, or even bicarbonate of soda on more visible areas of your linen items

For any new stains, we’d recommend soaking your linen item in cool or lukewarm, water before washing, to help prevent them from setting fast into the fabric.

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moss green linen held up against natural light

The best way to dry linen

Air drying your linens naturally is the kindest option for both the linen fibres and the planet.

Give your linen item a gentle shake to remove wrinkles and reshape it while still damp. Then simply air dry it either on the washing line or laid flat on a drying rack or towel.

Hanging natural and light-coloured linens outside is certainly one of the best ways to dry them, but we would recommend keeping darker linens away from direct sunlight while damp to prevent sun bleaching.

Linen fabrics and textiles can be safely tumble dried on a low-temperature cycle. Linen is quick drying, so tumble dry only for as long as it needs. Too much direct heat can shrink linen, damage the natural fibres and cause it to lose its original shape.

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The best way to iron linen

If you wish to iron out those characteristic creases from your natural linen fabrics or textiles, the best time to do so is just before they’re completely dry. This is partly because linen is easier to iron linen while it’s still a little damp, but also because it helps provide some protection from the heat. If the item has already dried, you can use a water spray bottle (or the spray function on your steam iron) to mist the fabric first.

When ironing directly onto the fabric, pure linen should be pressed on the reverse using a cool-to-medium heat setting. This will help prevent burning, scorching and making your linens shiny.

Alternatively, if you use a press cloth between the iron and the linen itself (a clean tea towel or pillowcase would be perfect) you can iron your item on the highest heat setting.

Tied bundle of green linen fabrics on table

How to prevent your linens from shrinking

If you follow the linen washing and drying advice above, you shouldn’t need to do anything specialist to prevent your linens from shrinking. Nowadays, most linen fabric and textile items are pre-washed during the production process to help prevent shrinkage when you get them home. However, these pieces still deserve the same care shown by previous generations in order to protect their delicate fibres and natural properties from wear.

As a side note, you can expect vintage linen pieces to shrink a little on the first wash, no matter how delicately you launder them.

Green_Linen_Fabric_Collection.jpg

How do you soften linen?

One of the innate characteristics of pure linen is that it naturally softens over time, with each wear and wash.

The extra special thing about our linens is that we intentionally soften them using a traditional stone-washing technique to provide incredible comfort from the moment they become yours.

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The best way to store your linen textiles

Make sure your linens are freshly laundered and completely dry before storing or putting away, especially if you’ve ironed them while still damp as suggested above. Storing linen items in the airing cupboard can help finish the drying process to prevent mould or mildew from forming on the natural fibres.

If you are putting them away for a season or longer, store your linen items in a dry, well-ventilated place to help keep them clean and fresh. It’s best to leave them to breathe rather than packing them in boxes or wrapping them up in plastic. Linen doesn’t need protecting from moths or dust mites as it’s naturally repellent.

How to care for linen: a final thought…

Our simple advice is to care for your linen textiles as you would your own skin.

Wash them using mild soap and lukewarm water, and gently swill rather than scrub. Rinse clean, dry naturally and store somewhere they can breathe.

The gentler you treat your linens, the longer they’ll remain looking young and beautiful.

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