Knowing how to care for your clothing is a big component of creating a well-loved wardrobe that will last. The same is true for textiles in your home.
Linen is an incredible fabric for many reasons. It is natural, strong, and high quality. Its durability, breathability, and resistance to bacteria sets linen apart from other natural fibers. When cared for properly, it gets softer and more beautiful with age while maintaining its shape, making it a good choice for clothing, towels, sheets, and more.
Overall, I have found linen to be a low-maintenance textile that is easy to sew, wear, and wash. This is coming from someone who owns white linen sheets and likes to sip coffee in bed, so plenty of washing experience over the years.
In general, I always recommend looking at the fabric content and washing instruction tags on your specific item first. Something that feels like linen might actually be a blend with another fiber, so it’s always best to double check the tags.
Here is a quick rundown of how to care for your linen items:
Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine and wash with similar lightweight fabrics. Of course, washing by hand in a large sink or bathtub is an option as well.
Wash in lukewarm or cold water with mild detergent. Hot water can cause linen to shrink.
I separate light colors from dark colors to keep them looking sharp.
Avoid fabric softener. Linen will soften on its own over time.
Do not use bleach or detergent with a whitening agent. Even on white linen, the bleach will blotch the fabric and damage the fibers.
Tumble dry on low. High heat will cause the fibers to break down faster and possibly shrink.
If the care instructions require air drying, lay flat over a drying rack. Avoid using clothespins, as they can cause stretch marks and deform the garment.
Press on medium heat, preferably when the fabric is still a little damp out of the dryer.
Although I do not mind a little wrinkle in my clothing, I always press the pockets of linen pants and dresses to prevent any bulk around my hips.
For dark colors, press on the wrong side of the fabric.
Use the steam setting on your iron, especially if the material is dry.
Steamers work well for garments that are hard to iron.
To Remove Stains
Spot clean whenever possible. Get more life out of your textiles by not overwashing.
I simply use a dab of Dawn dish soap and cool water to wash out stains.
Baking soda and a few drops of vinegar are a good combination for stubborn stains.
Again, no bleach. Some people recommend an oxygenated bleach like OxiClean. However, I continue to have good luck with the dish soap technique and recommend starting there.
A lot of stains like blood, jam, pasta sauce, etc will usually wash out on a very cold wash setting.
Any questions? Do you have tips and tricks to add? I would love to hear them. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Happy sewing (and washing),