Skip links

How to Wash Linen Clothes in a Machine Without Damaging Them

You’ve just scored some beautiful linen pieces and are eager to keep them looking their best. But when washing linen, you might be scratching your head. Is it safe to toss them in the washing machine? Or do they require a more delicate touch?

Fear not! We’re here to demystify the process. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of washing linen clothes in your washing machine, ensuring they stay fresh and fabulous. So, let’s dive into the world of linen care, where we’ll unravel the secrets to maintaining your linen’s longevity and luster.

Overview of Linen Fabric

Understanding the unique nature of linen fabric remains paramount in the quest for fresh and fabulous linen garments. It’s the first step in ensuring their longevity and luster. This section explores the properties of linen and explains why linen clothes necessitate special care.

The Properties of Linen

An awareness of linen’s inherent properties proves essential to fathom the nature of proper linen garment care. Originating from the flax plant, linen is among the world’s oldest and most revered fabrics. It sports several distinguishing characteristics that contribute to its popularity in fashion.

  1. Durability: Linen boasts an impressive lifespan. Its fibers are more robust than cotton, granting it prominent durability and longevity.
  2. Breathability: Linen is known for exceptional breathability, perfect for those hotter days. It allows air to flow quickly, contributing to its crisp, relaxed feel.
  3. Moisture Absorbance: Linen is highly absorbent. It can absorb and lose water rapidly, making it an ideal fabric for humidity and sweat.
  4. Natural Texture: Linen carries a distinct texture, often described as “slubby” or “nubby.” This unique texture adds a rustic appeal to linen garments.

Why Special Care is Needed for Linen Clothes

While linen’s unique properties make it a favorite amongst the fashion-forward, these characteristics also necessitate special care.

For instance, linen’s inherent durability translates to a sturdy build, but it isn’t immune to damage from improper care. Using a harsh detergent or inappropriate wash cycle risks deteriorating its structural integrity.

Moreover, although linen’s absorbency and airiness offer great comfort during summer, these attributes can also make it crease easily. Given its natural texture and tendency to wrinkle, linen must be washed and dried under specific conditions to maintain its appearance.

Knowing how to wash linen clothes in a washing machine entails understanding these properties and their implications on the care process.

Preparing Linen Clothes for Washing

Examining care labels stands as the first step in your preparation process. These labels, sewn into your linen clothes, provide instructions from manufacturers about proper cleaning methods. They’ll indicate whether machine washing is suitable or if hand washing is requested, including appropriate water temperatures and drying recommendations. For example, instructions like ‘Machine Wash, Cold, Gentle Cycle’ on a linen shirt indicate that it can be washed in a machine but under cold, low-agitation conditions.

Want to ensure that you understand your laundry care label correctly? Check out Florida University’s laundry symbol guide to learn more.

Sorting and Pre-Treating Stains

Next, segregate your linen clothes based on colors, treating the white, dark, and colored ones separately. This measure safeguards your clothes against color bleed. Pay extra attention to stained or soiled linen clothes. Pre-treat them by applying a suitable stain remover directly onto the stains, or you could soak them in warm water mixed with a mild detergent. This approach effectively loosens the stains, easing their removal during the subsequent washing cycle. For instance, a coffee-stained linen blouse benefits from pre-soaking before washing to ensure the stain gets wholly removed.

Throughout this preparation phase, remember linen’s unique properties and respect the specific care it requires. Your linen items represent treasured elements in your wardrobe, so these proactive measures may help prolong their life and maintain their appeal.

Setting up the Washing Machine

The proceeding information outlined the preparatory steps for washing linen clothes, from studying care labels to sorting garments and pre-treating stains. The next step in this process requires understanding how to properly utilize your washing machine to ensure a gentle, thorough clean. This section provides valuable tips for setting up your washing machine to clean linen clothes effectively.

Choosing the Right Cycle

When you start configuring your machine for washing, selecting the right cycle becomes important. Use a gentler cycle for your linen clothes, preferably one designed for delicate fabrics. Machines differ in settings; some might list it as ‘Delicates’ or ‘Hand Wash‘. Remember, washing linen in a harsh cycle can lead to undesirable outcomes like shrinkage and wrinkling.

Selecting Detergents and Additives

Choosing the correct cleaning agents plays a pivotal role in maintaining linen clothes. Opt for a mild, bleach-free detergent – harsh chemicals may damage the natural fibers. As far as softeners are concerned, go for a fabric conditioner marked safe for linen. Remember, excessive use might lead to build-ups that reduce linen’s breathability.

As an addendum, dealing with stubborn stains often necessitates using a specialized stain remover, but ensure it’s linen-safe. In case of doubt, perform a patch test on an inconspicuous area. By implementing these washing machine set-up pointers, you safeguard the integrity and durability of your quality linen garments.

The Washing Process

After addressing the facets of linen garments and the preparation steps required, this section will introduce you to the actual washing process.

Loading the Machine

You’ve pre-treated stains, sorted your clothes, and set up the washing machine by following the best practices for linen garments. It’s time to load the machine. Avoid overloading the machine; distribute your linen items evenly. This allowance gives your clothes room to move, allowing for efficient cleaning and reducing the chances of creasing. Place smaller items and delicate linen garments in a mesh laundry bag to prevent tangling and excessive agitation. Keep in mind that excessive twisting or agitation can weaken the structure of the fabric.

The Best Practices for Washing Linen

Understanding the best practices for washing linen enhances the longevity of your clothes and maintains their lustrous color. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Temperature: Stick to cool or lukewarm water, not exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). High temperatures may shrink or warp linen fibers.
  2. Detergent: Use a gentle, non-biological detergent free of bleach or brightening agents. These components could damage delicate linen fibers.
  3. Washing Cycle: Choose a gentle or delicate cycle. Fast spins and heavy agitation may lead to wrinkling and weakening of linen fibers.
  4. Rinsing: Ensure the detergent is thoroughly rinsed. Residual detergent might induce dullness or discoloration in the garment.
  5. Fabric softeners: Avoid them, if possible. They tend to leave residues that dull the fabric. Consequently, if you insist on fabric softeners, opt for those specifically marked for linen.

Utilizing these practices, washing linen becomes straightforward, ensuring your clothes retain their vibrant colors and exceptional durability.

Drying & Post-Wash Care

Generally, linen clothes appreciate air drying more than the forceful spin of a dryer. Once you’ve finished washing your linen items, shake them out to remove excessive water. Avoid wringing them, as this can damage the fibers, then hang them on a line to dry, preferably in the shade to prevent color fading.

Sometimes, it’s acceptable to dry your linen in a tumble dryer if the care label allows. Opt for a low-heat setting and remove the clothes while still slightly damp. Over-drying can make linen stiff and cause shrinkage.

Ironing Tips for Crisp Linen Clothes

Ironing linen clothes helps maintain their crisp look. However, do not iron linen while it’s scorched. Lightly mist the garment with water or iron while still slightly damp. This helps set the fibers and ensures a smooth finish.

Remember to adjust the iron to the linen setting. Most irons have this as an option. Suppose yours doesn’t select a medium-high setting and always iron on the reverse side of the garment to avoid shiny marks. A pressing cloth is also a safe choice, particularly for dark-colored linen.

Avoid leaving the iron in one place for too long to prevent scorching. It’s preferable to use swift, flighty movements. Ironing adds the final touch to your linen clothes before you store them away, enhancing their texture and appearance. A well-cared-for linen wardrobe, rinsed, dried, and ironed properly, goes a long way in making sure your clothing investments sustain their quality for years to come.

Keeping Linen Clothes Fresh Over Time

After gaining insights into washing linen clothes properly, the importance of learning to maintain them becomes clear. This section provides expert advice on how to preserve the quality and longevity of your linen clothes over time.

Regular Care Tips

Daily care of linen clothes is a continuous task, enabling their longevity and preservation of appearance. The first rule is to refrain from over-wearing them before washing, as frequent use generates wear and tear. Secondly, while washing, balance is paramount. Avoid the extremes, neither washing too frequently nor waiting too long between washes.

Another vital tip revolves around spinning cycles. A fast spin cycle can leave linen clothes quite crumpled. Hence, a slower spin cycle below 800 revolutions per minute is advisable. After-wash care is equally crucial; learning when to iron linen clothes is essential; remember to press them while they’re still damp for the best results.

Storing Linen to Prevent Damage

The correct procedure guarantees durability and color vibrancy when storing linen clothes. Firstly, ensure all linen clothes are completely dry before storing, as moisture can cause mildew and discoloration. An excellent, dry, well-ventilated closet, drawer, or storage box is the best environment for linen storage, ensuring it’s protected from sunlight and dust.

Hanging linen clothes can lead to deformations; hence, folded storage is recommended. Using acid-free tissue paper for wrapping linen clothes is also advisable, especially for those with embroidery or other intricate detailing. These storage practices will keep your linen clothes in optimal condition and extend their lifespan.


So, you’ve navigated the world of washing linen clothes in a machine. You’ve learned the ropes of prepping your linen, setting the correct machine settings, and mastering the wash process. You’ve even picked up some tips on drying and storing your linen garments to keep them looking their best. Remember, it’s all about respecting the fabric’s unique properties and treating it with the care it deserves. Linen requires attention more than other fabrics, but with these tips in your back pocket, you’re well-equipped to keep your linen clothes fresh, clean, and long-lasting. Now, enjoy the luxury of linen without the laundry worries.

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!