How to Wash Linen Shirt, Sheets, or Napkins Without Ruining It

Fabrics can be expensive. That is why you have to be careful throughout the cleaning process. If you make a mistake or are a bit careless you could ruin that nice linen tablecloth your favorite aunt gave you. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to washing linens.

Different linens have different washing methods. White linens can be washed in hot water, over 200 degrees F but a medium heated water produces better results and protects your linens better than hot water does. Make sure to separate your colors from your whites.

To learn how to wash linen shirts, sheets, or napkins just continue to read our article. It is filled with washing tips and information to help you care for your nice linen items and make sure they last for a long time to come.

Does Linen Clean Easily?

It is a matter of fact that linens resist dirt better than any other fabric. Then they clean up easier than their competing fabrics. Those characteristics make washing linen shirts, and other items a lot more enjoyable.

The key is to wash them correctly and that means you can use stain removers but avoid the bleach. If possible soak the material soon after a stain appears. If the stain is red wine cover it in sugar or salt.

Those food condiments help prevent permanent stains from taking hold. The good news is that many linen items do not need pre-washing.

Should You Wash Linen Sheets Before Use?


It is a smart idea to pre-wash any item you use in your home whether it be linen sheets, curtains, or articles of clothing. You never know what those items have gone through, who has touched them, and so on.

Another reason to wash linen sheets before using them is that linen gets softer if washed properly. That will make your sleep more comfortable. Just make sure to wash them separately from other clothes and do not use bleach.

A mild detergent is also recommended that way you can protect your new sheets from any damage that may come from other harsher detergents, including those that use bleach.

Should You Wash Linen Fabric Before Sewing?

Yes, you should since linen is made from natural fibers and those are prone to shrinking when soaked in water. The shrinkage range is between 1 and 10% but your results may vary.

To get the maximum amount of shrinkage before you start sewing, use hot water in the wash and the hottest dryer temperature when you dry the wet fabric. Once that is done you should not have to worry about the linen shrinking after that.

You should pre-wash before making any cuts to the fabric. So, add extra length to the amount you are buying to cover any fabric loss.

How to Wash Linen Tablecloth


If you, your family, or your guests were not that neat, then you may discover some stains on your nice linen tablecloth. Don’t fret, there is a way to wash those stains out and have that tablecloth ready for action

The trick comes in by using a mild stain remover. Apply the remover to the stains and then you can wash the tablecloth separately or with other similar tablecloths. Use a gentle cycle and avoid using bleach.

When it comes time to dry, hang the tablecloth on a line or over a clothes hanger that lets the item dry completely.

How to Wash Linen Sheets

The tip to getting your linen sheets clean is not to toss them into the wash with your other clothing or bedding items. Washing them separately protects the fabric and helps them get their cleanest.

Also, do not use bleach as that ingredient does not help your sheets get any cleaner and it can shorten those sheets' lifespan. A mild detergent is recommended. When it is time to dry them, you can place them in the dryer on low heat. Remove the sheets while still damp and let them hang dry.

What to Wash Linen Sheets With


You want to avoid tangles and twists so when you go to clean your linen sheets, it is best to wash them individually. This protects the fibers and makes sure all your sheets get nice and clean.

Then, you want to use a mild detergent that does not have any bleach ingredients. Even in liquid or powder laundry soap, bleach remains a danger to linen fabrics. You can use a mild stain remover to get any yellowing or stains out of the sheets but again avoid using chemical bleach.

Oxygen bleach may be used as it uses a natural stain remover, hydrogen peroxide, and not chlorine.

Can You Wash Linen Curtains?

It is possible but you really don't want to use your washing machine. It may be too rough in the agitation cycle and you may end up damaging your curtains once the cycle is done. The best option is to send them out for dry cleaning.

Dry cleaning is gentle on your curtains and the machines are large enough so that they will not get damaged throughout the cleaning cycle. If you cannot afford dry cleaning, then it is best if you hand wash those linen curtains.

Hand washing is gentle and less risky than using your washing machine even when it is set to the gentle cycle.

How to Wash Linen Curtains


Usually, linen curtains may need to be dry cleaned only. But that does not mean you cannot wash them by hand if you want. All you will need is a large enough tub to hold the curtains.

The other items you will need will be mild soap, warm water and you can use natural cleaners if you want. Pre-treat the stains you find and let the curtains soak for about 5 minutes before agitating them.

Wring the water out gently when you are done and fill the bucket with clean water so you can rinse thoroughly. Be gentle when wringing the curtains t avoid damaging the fibers. Hang dry.

When to Wash Linen Clothes

There is no real set schedule for when you should wash your linen clothes. What washing does for linen is to keep the material soft and prevents wear and tear from lowering their longevity.

Another thing frequent washing does is keep the colors on those clothing items like new and very vibrant. You look good and your body should not be uncomfortable when you wear those linen garments.

In this case, consistently equals frequently. Even if there is not a lot of dirt on the clothing they will benefit from a good wash.

How to Wash Linen Clothes by Hand


You can wash linen clothes much like you can linen curtains and linen tablecloths. The principle and the processes are the same. What you should do when you hand wash is to use natural cleaners to remove the dirt and stains that accumulate over time.

White vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are great natural bleaches that protect your linen clothing items and make sure those stains disappear. Plus, you can mix the three to make their stain removing ability more powerful.

The baking soda can be mixed with water and stirred to form a paste.

Can You Wash Linen in Hot Water?

It is possible to do this but there is a risk of using hot water when washing your linen items. The higher temperature tends to wear the fabric our faster cutting its lifespan down somewhat.

With that said, hot water tends to shrink linen fabric so use it only when you are preshrinking your fabric. You also want to avoid high dryer heat except when preshrinking the fabric.

High temperatures and linens do not mix very well. This warning applies to tablecloths and curtains as well.

What Temperature to Wash Linen


The best temperature to use to clean linen is a lukewarm setting. This protects the cloth from any risks hotter water brings and still gets the fabric nice and clean. Then make sure you do not fill the washing machine to the top.

A half-filled tub is best when washing linens. Don’t forget to separate the colors from the whites and wash tablecloths, curtains, and sheets individually. You can use a hot iron to get the wrinkles out and have your items looking good all the time.

What Setting to Wash Linen

The best setting to use when washing your linens in the washing machine is the gentle cycle. You do not want any tougher setting as the agitation may ruin your linen items and make you go out and buy new ones to replace the ones you ruined.

If you are not confident enough to use the gentle cycle, you can hand wash or send the items out to be dry cleaned. These are two safe washing methods that make sure your linens receive the best treatment and still get clean.

Best Wash Cycle for Linen Sheets


Gentle is the way to go when you are laundering any linen made item. The higher cycle settings will be too harsh on the sheets and may end up twisting them to the point where the fibers are damaged.

A mild soap is needed here as well as using a mild stain remover. Whatever you do, do not use chlorine or other chemical bleach on your sheets. You can dry your sheets but use the low heat setting.

Just do not dry them all the way. Hang them up while they are still damp.

What do Hospitals Wash Linens With?

Because of the high infection and contagious nature of some patients’ diseases, hospitals do not follow the same instructions as have been provided here. They are not worried about longevity or softness or having vibrant colors on their linens.

Most hospitals use very hot water and a lot of chlorine bleach. Other hospitals, like children’s, use a steam sterilization process to make sure the germs and bacteria are killed off and do not contaminate other patients.

They also do not separate the linens but wash them all the same way no matter how soiled they are.

Can You Wash Linen That Says Dry Clean Only?


An interesting fact that may help change how you look at dry cleaning clothing items is that the manufacturers do not have to put all the cleaning instructions on that label.

What that means is that even if the label says dry clean only it does not mean that the clothing item cannot be washed. Dry clean only linen can be hand washed and you shouldn’t have any trouble. You may even be able to use the delicate cycle on your washer.

Linen Wash or Dry Clean

This is something that is going to be up to you and your budget. Your clothes get the best care if you let professionals clean them through the dry cleaning method. But if you can’t afford to dry clean all the time, carve out a little time and hand wash using natural cleansers and mild soap.

Linens can be gently hand washed and not suffer any ill effects. If you have the money and not the time, dry cleaning is the easiest and saves you a lot of headaches trying to hang dry your clothes and so on.

Some Final Words

Cleaning a linen shirt, sheets, or napkins is not that intimidating or difficult. Once you know the right procedure keeping your linens clean is a snap. Just watch your water temperature and avoid using bleach.

Natural bleaches like lemon juice and vinegar come in handy and may save your clothing from ruin. Frequent washing of linens keeps them nice and soft, as well as comfortable.

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