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Better smelling, cleaner laundry or your money back.

How to Wash Linen: The Easiest Guide You’ll Ever Find

The Sauce Boss
Feb 19, 2024
Laundry Tips
Wash your linen clothes and sheets in cool water on a gentle or delicate cycle with a mild, enzyme-based detergent. Ideally, linen should be air-dried to prevent shrinkage but you can also tumble dry linens on a low-heat setting.

There are loads of reasons to love linen: This natural fabric is 30% stronger than cotton, luxuriously soft, and keeps you cool when you sweat up a storm in the summer heat. And while linen ranks among the most durable materials in any wardrobe, the wrong washing technique can cause shrinkage and stiffness.

Luckily, machine washing linen clothes and sheets is a breeze—and we’ve got the last guide you’ll ever need. 

Whether you splurged on some luxurious linen sheets or just need to freshen up last night’s outfit, these tips will make them look, feel, and smell more luxurious than ever. Keep reading to learn the best way to wash linen clothes and bedding in the washing machine.

How to Wash Linen Clothes and Sheets

You can machine wash most linen clothes and sheets at home—just make sure you check the care instructions on your garments, since they might have special instructions for what water temperature and dry cycle to use.

1. Turn Your Linen Clothes Inside Out

Before putting your linen clothes in the washer, turn them inside out. Linen fabric can be prone to abrasion during the washing process when it rubs against other garments or surfaces.

Turning your garments inside out creates a protective barrier that helps prevent pilling, fraying, or surface damage to linen’s natural fibers.

Pro tip: Don’t overload your washing machine. Cramming your clothes and sheets prevents the water and laundry detergent from distributing evenly during the wash cycle.

2. Use Cool Water

Linen clothes and sheets should be washed in cool water, between 60°F and 80°F. This prevents shrinkage and preserves colors, not to mention it uses way less energy. Hot water can shrink linen up to 10% and weaken the fibers, so don’t dial up the heat.

3. Use a Gentle Cycle

Choose the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimize agitation and reduce the risk of wear and tear. This ensures that your linen garments get thoroughly cleaned without compromising their quality.

4. Use Mild Detergent

The ideal laundry detergent for linen is an enzyme-based formula designed for cold-water washing. This is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your linens strong and soft.

Laundry Sauce detergent pods are perfect for washing linen. We may be biased, but it’s for good reason. Our proprietary formula is designed to fight tough stains while preserving the integrity of the fibers. Bonus: Our pods infuse your linens with luxurious fragrances like Australian Sandalwood, Egyptian Rose, French Saffron, and more.

Pro tip: Avoid detergents that contain sodium borate and sodium hydroxide—these harsh chemicals can weaken linen fibers and lead to fraying.

5. Air Dry or Tumble Dry on Low Heat

Let’s take a look at two ways to dry linen items:

  • Shake out your clean linens to get rid of any creases, then hang them up to air dry—ideally in direct sunlight.
  • Tumble dry on a low-heat setting, remove them while they’re still slightly damp, then hang them until they’re completely dry.

The worst thing you can do for linens is bake them in a hot dryer, since high temperatures can shrink and weaken the fibers.

Common Questions About Washing Linen

Now that you know how to wash linens like a pro, let’s take a look at some common questions you might have on laundry day.

How Often Should You Wash Linen?

Linen clothes should be washed regularly—ideally after every few wears—to keep them fresh and clean. You can always spot clean linen clothes to remove stains between washes.

Linen sheets should be washed at least every other week and always after you get freaky in the bedroom to wash away any stray bodily fluids.

Can You Put Linen in the Dryer?

Yes, you can put linen in the dryer, but it's best to use a low-heat or no-heat setting to prevent shrinkage and maintain the fabric's integrity.

How to Prevent Linen from Shrinking

To prevent linen from shrinking, wash it in cool or lukewarm water, avoid high heat during drying, and shake out your garments after taking them out of the washer.

Can You Bleach Linen?

Bleach can only be used on white linen fabrics—never bleach colored linen items. If you do opt to bleach white linens, make sure the solution is chlorine-free to prevent the fibers from degrading.

Can You Use Fabric Softener On Linen?

It's best to avoid using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets on linen—these can leave a residue that reduces absorbency and affects the fabric's natural texture.

If you want to keep your linens soft and static-free, toss in a few wool dryer balls to safely fluff every load.

Linens Love Laundry Sauce

If you want your linens to smell as luxurious as they feel, don’t count on generic laundry detergent to do the job. Treat your linens to Laundry Sauce: the best-smelling laundry detergent you’ve ever used—guaranteed.

Between our high-performance formula and irresistible collection of fragrances, these pods blow Big Detergent brands out of the water—pun totally intended. You won’t go wrong with any Laundry Sauce fragrance, but if you need help choosing one that matches your vibe, take our 2-minute Scent Quiz.

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