Can You Bleach Linen? (How to Bleach Linen Without Ruining It)

Bleach cleans a multitude of sins. It is a powerful cleaning agent that makes old items look better. The chemical also kills germs and keeps your clothing nice and healthy. Yet it is not always safe to use on some fabrics.

Can you bleach linen? One way to treat yellow or stained linens is to soak the items first using an Oxyclean or other stain remover and mild detergent. Add in a little baking soda and 40 minutes and the items should be ready to wash with bleach. Repeat as necessary.

To learn more about bleaching linens just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to make sure yo get your favorite linen items free from stains and that ugly yellow look.

What Happens If You Bleach Linen

One of the bleach varieties you should not use with linen is chlorine bleach. This cleanser seems to weaken the fabric and cut down its longevity. Even diluted bleach compounds will have a weakening effect on linens.

Once the fabric weakens then it may tear or rip easier when you go to wear the clothing item. It is best to not apply undiluted bleach directly to the fabric. Diluted bleach compounds do remove stains and take away the yellow look but you still have to be careful in your application.

Do a test first to make sure the bleach you have will work safely with the linen fabrics you use.

Does Bleach Damage Linen?


Like all fabrics, linen has the same weakness when it comes to bleach. Some colors will be removed if bleach comes in contact with the fabric. Not all dyes used on linens will have this problem but khaki linens do and so do other linen varieties.

The best way to make sure is to conduct a test on the underside of the clothing item and in a spot that will not be seen. If the color disappears then you know not to use bleach with that garment.

As mentioned earlier, there is another danger to using bleach with linen fabric. The fibers weaken once bleach comes in contact with it. When that process takes place, you can’t count on wearing that nice linen outfit anymore.

The danger of rips ad tears increases the more times you use bleach on the same linen garment.

Can You Bleach Linen to Change The Color?


If you want to change your colored curtains and sheets to white, then yes you can. It is a simple process and it takes 3 parts water and 1 part bleach. This ration cannot be changed or you may end up damaging the material.

Then you can use your bathtub if you want to bleach the items nice and white. Once filled with the bleach and water solution add your linen materials and stir. Use a wood stick and be gentle about the stirring.

After stirring, let the items soak for about 30 minutes. When that time is up, wring the sheets or curtains out and then place them in your washing machine. Use a gentle cycle with warm water. If the sheets or curtains are not color free repeat the process until you are satisfied.

The only aspect you have to be careful of is how much the bleach weakened the fibers.

Can You Bleach Linen Sheets?

Yes, you can and you have to be careful how you do it as the linen can be ruined by the bleach you use for your regular laundry. One sure-fire trick in bleaching linens is to just hang them out in the sun and let it do all the work for you.

This may take a few hours or a few days depending on the strength of the sun and how strong your linen is. Make sure to wet the linen before you place it in the sun but do not soak it in water. The sheets should only be damp.

Then you can hang the sheets or lay them out on a picnic table. If you use the latter make sure to cover the table so you do not dirty your sheets.

Can You Bleach Linen Curtains?


Yes, you can and the same rules apply to curtains as they do to linen sheets and clothing items. You have to be careful not to weaken the fibers by using the wrong bleach.

One way to use the right bleach is to use a baking soda, lemon juice, and white vinegar mixture. This may be the safest way to get the stains out without damaging your linen curtains.

Another safe method to try is salt, baking soda, and hot water mixture. This also takes some time to go through the process and it is good for those smaller linens you may want to bleach. Kitchen curtains would be a good candidate for this method as they are small and will fit in the pot a lot easier than larger curtains.

How to Bleach Linen Curtains


Some curtains may be too large to use the salt, baking soda, and hot water method but for those that aren’t, you will need a 1/4 cup salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and a large pot of water.

Place the smaller curtains in the pot and mix in the salt and baking soda. Make sure to ix those items thoroughly in the water. Next, you turn the burner on as high as it can go and bring the water to a boil.

Once the water is boiling turn the burner off and let everything sit on that burner for two to three days. You can turn the burner on once in a while during that time to warm the water up and speed the process along.

After that period has passed, the bleaching should be done.

How to Bleach a Linen Tablecloth

One problem with using chemical bleach is that it can leave traces of chemicals behind and irritate your family’s skin. If you really need to bleach your linen tablecloth then it might be best to use a non-chemical bleach alternative.

The safest method is to mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Mix the ingredients and add them to your regular wash load. Or you can substitute peroxide for the baking soda.

Since these are natural bleaching ingredients they may not be as strong as chemical bleach but your tablecloths should still get white without damaging the fibers. The natural methods should protect your linens and help them last a lot longer than using chemical bleaches to make them clean.

Can You Bleach Linen Clothes?


Yes, you can but you have to be careful that the bleaching ingredient you use does not harm your clothes. If the fibers weaken then the clothes may not last that much longer and you will end up buying new ones.

That is the reason many experts say you should forget bleaching and just buy new clothes. It saves you a step in the cleaning process and some money over the long run. If you do not want to do that option, then try the two natural processes described earlier.

Those processes are safer than using chemical bleach and they may protect the clothing’s colors. But like using chemical bleach, do a test first to make sure. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

How to Bleach Linen Shorts Or Pants

The experts emphatically state that you should not bleach your linen pants or shorts. The reason they give is the same reason we have been repeating over and over in this article. The bleach, while it will clean the pants and shorts, will also damage the fibers.

You can try the natural methods and soaking the shorts in salt, baking soda, and water for a couple of days seems to be the best solution for those clothing articles.

The larger pants should be bleached using the washing machine and the lemon, baking soda, and vinegar solution. That way you protect the fibers and still get your pants nice and clean. The only thing is you may have to wash those linen pants twice to make sure all the stains are gone.

How to Get Bleach Out of Linen


If we are talking about bleach stains, then the best solution would be to go to your craft store and buy paint or dye that matches the color of your clothing item. Then just re-dye or paint the bleach spot until it looks the same as the rest of the clothing.

If we are talking about removing chemical bleach from clothing then you need a very thorough rinse cycle to get the job done. The way to tell if there is any bleach residue is to smell your clothing items. If your nose detects bleach then rinse again and cut back on the amount of bleach you use the next time you wash.

Linen Bleach vs Regular Bleach

The former bleach is not going to be as strong as the latter brand of bleach but it is still effective and works on stains. Linen bleach may also be called Oxygen bleach and its cleansing power comes from hydrogen peroxide instead of harsh cleaning chemicals.

Oxygen bleach is safe for linens and all other fabrics and usually comes in a powder format. Plus, it can be kept around for about 12 months and still be an effective cleansing agent. Oxygen bleach is safe for the environment and septic tanks.

Chemical bleach is neither so your use of it should be restricted to those fabrics that can handle chemical bleach.

Does Linen Bleach Disinfect?


It is safe to say that chlorine or chemical bleach disinfects very well. Unfortunately, it is very hard on fabrics and its sterilization efforts are often wasted because of that risk to clothing.

Linen bleach o oxygen bleach cleans as well as chlorine bleach so it can be said that it does its job on bacteria and germs. This version of bleach is highly concentrated thus it packs a powerful cleaning punch. It is colorfast but testing should be done to make sure it will work on your linens.

Since it is made with hydrogen peroxide then you can say that oxygen bleach does disinfect as it cleans.

Does Clorox Clean Linen Bleach Contain Chlorine?

No. The Clorox bleach options that are color-safe and made for linens should contain hydrogen peroxide only. The active chemical in many of its other bleach varieties does contain sodium hypochlorite which is a chlorine type ingredient.

Make sure to read the label to make sure you see one or the other ingredient listed on the different bleach varieties. If the Clorox bleach bottle lists both ingredients then you know not to use it on your linens.

Hydrogen peroxide is used in all oxygen bleaches which are a clean linen bleach option you can trust to protect your linen clothing items. You have to check the labels before you buy to make sure you are getting the ingredients that you want.

Some Final Words

Not all fabrics can handle being bleached. That is why you should check the labels on your linen materials to make sure you know which bleach you can and should use. If the label is silent, play it safe and go with oxygen bleach.

That version is good for all fabrics and should protect your colors at the same time. Do not worry about bacteria and germs, any bleach variety should disinfect as well. There is no one size fits all type of bleach as every fabric has its own characteristics.

Make sure you do a test before you use any bleach option, including the natural ones. That way you will know if your linens can endure the bleaching process.

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