How to Wash Linen: Tips and Tricks for Proper Linen Care

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Svitlana

We’ll look at how to wash and iron linen so you can get the most out of your products. Although linen often comes with a hefty price tag, this wonderfully airy fabric can last a long time when cared for properly.

Washing linen isn’t difficult, provided you keep a few key things in mind. Linen fiber is smooth and the fabric traps very little air, so it’s less susceptible to dirt and bacteria. In addition, the fabric is very breathable, making it ideal for summer!

Tips for Washing Linen

drying linen
Hanging linen out to dry is one of the best ways to prevent wrinkles. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - J Williams )

Linen is a very easy fabric to hand-wash, or you can use the delicate cycle on your washing machine. Here’s how to wash linen while still keeping the fabric smooth and clean:

  • Choose the right temperature: linen doesn’t need to be washed using hot water. In fact, a warm or cold cycle is actually better for both the fabric and the environment.
  • Hang to dry: this will prevent wrinkles and save energy!
  • Use mild, organic detergents without brighteners. Soapberries can also work well.
  • Don’t wash more than necessary: airing garments out can freshen them up without needing to be washed.

Removing Stains from Linen Fabric

If you have stains on your linen fabric, you should act quickly. Linen is very absorbent, so stains can soak in and spread very quickly. You can use the following tips to fight stains:

Lemon Juice + Salt

  • Drip lemon juice on a fresh stain.
  • Sprinkle salt on top to draw out the stain.
  • Leave the linen out in the sun for several hours before washing. Sun and lemon juice have natural bleaching effects, so only use this method on white linen.
  • In case of stubborn stains, you can repeat this procedure several times after washing.

Stain Removal Soap

  • Alternatively, you can use a stain removal soap (like Ethique’s Flash bar, available on Amazon**), even for darker fabrics.
  • Wet the fabric and gently apply the soap to the stain.
  • Then wash the linen in the washing machine.

Baking Soda + Water

  • Mix together equal parts baking soda and water.
  • Apply the paste to the stain, being careful not to rub it in. 
  • Let it dry for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Gently scrape off the dried paste and wash the fabric as usual.


  • Cornstarch helps against stubborn grease stains.
  • Sprinkle the cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Scrape it off carefully.
  • Wash your linen in cold water with a little bit of mild soap.

Ironing Linen

how to wash linen
One of the best things about linen is that it becomes softer with each wear. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Hari AV)

Linen is notorious for wrinkling easily, and can be difficult to iron. However, there are a few tricks to help you achieve wrinkle-free results:

  • You should ideally iron linen straight from the washing machine. It should always still be slightly damp.
  • Always iron your linen garments inside out.
  • Linen can withstand high temperatures: use the linen function on your iron, or a setting with plenty of steam
  • Hang linen garments to protect them from wrinkles.

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Leinen waschen: Temperatur, Waschanleitung und Tipps

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