Linen is a favorite around here. People often purchase a gorgeous new sheet set and then realize that they have different care requirements.
So in this article, we’ll talk about washing linen bedding from that first wash. Then we'll look at machine washing tips, drying needs, right through to the best long term care for your linen.
How do you wash linen sheets for the first time?
There’s a lot you can do to keep your linen in the best shape for as long as possible and it starts from that first wash.
The first wash allows the linen fibers to settle into place. It's always best to do this before you put your linen on the bed for the first time.
Follow these tips every time you wash, from the first wash, and you'll be giving your linen sheets the best chance at longevity:
- Wash only with similar materials and colors (ideally just with the set itself, especially that first clean);
- Ensure your washing machine is using cold water and on a gentle cycle. Too much heat can cause shrinkage and early degradation of your linen. Too much agitation can weaken the linen threads;
- Use a mild detergent and avoid bleach or fabric softeners. Excessive or harsh detergents can cause stiffness in linen. Fabric softeners can cause build-up on the linen and have the reverse effect;
- Avoid pouring detergent directly onto linen. If you are able to, add linen in once machine is full and detergent has been dissolved;
- Make sure there is a reasonable rinse cycle at the end so that detergents are properly washed out;
- Drying is important. Line dry in a nice, light space out of fierce sunlight;
- Ensure your linen is completely dry before storing or adding to bedding.
How often should you wash linen sheets?
Wash linen regularly. Like anything, your sheet sets will last longer the less they are used and washed. The greater the use; the shorter the lifespan.
So, wash them when they need it. If you’d like to prolong the life of your linen, get more sets. This way you can continue to enjoy the look and feel of linen year-round, without worrying about it losing its luster too early.
Tip: it's best to wash your entire linen set each time a piece needs washing. This will ensure your linen softens evenly and keeps any color fade consistent throughout your set.
Can you machine wash linen sheets?
Yes, these days it’s a little hard to expect busy families to handwash everything. You can, most often, use the washing machine for every wash.
Make sure you read over the care instructions on the labels, and or the packaging. If there are no clear instructions on washing linen sheets, read below for general tips on machine washing, from the first clean.
Can you put linen sheets in the dryer?
No. Never put linen bedding in the dryer. Follow all drying instructions for the optimal use and longevity of your sheets.
Should a tumble dry be unavoidable, however, ensure that drying is done using the lowest heat setting.
Do not put into a hot dryer and do not dry clean. This will weaken the fabric and cause it to break down faster.
How to iron linen
Linen is one of those delicious materials that you really do want to look after. It offers a gorgeous, relaxed look to your bedding. You don't need to iron linen sheet sets.
If you do choose to iron your linen bedding, take note of these key pointers:
- Check the iron is set to a lower temperature and patch test a small corner on the underside.
- It’s best to iron linen bedding when it is still slightly damp. This way, you’ll get the right temperature and the right, consistent result.
- Never leave the iron on the fabric for too long!
How to soften linen sheets
Soft sheets make sleeping that much cozier! The best way to keep linen bedding soft is to care for it well from the beginning.
Avoid using harsh detergents, line dries only, and ensure that linen has fully dried before storing away in a dry, dark cupboard.
If you follow the correct care methods quality linen bedding should, naturally, soften over time.
Can linen be washed in hot water?
Does linen shrink? Linen bedding should only be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle.
As a natural fabric, linen has a tendency to shrink (like cotton) and break down in hot water.
To ensure the best life for your new bedding, it's best to follow the care instructions for every wash.