Skip to main content

Tips on Washing Your Linen Clothes

Blog category

Tips on washing your linen clothes

People have appreciated linen clothes for many thousands of years. Made from the fibers of the flax plant, linen is a natural fabric with its own set of unique properties. People across different nationalities, ages and demographics love linen clothes, thanks to the many benefits this amazing fabric offers. Because what's better than clothes that look great and feel wonderful too?

From your favourite summer linen dress to take on vacation to the linen shirt that take you from office to evenings out, linen clothes are versatile, effortlessly stylish and always in fashion.

how to care for linen clothing

Why do we love linen clothes?

Linen fabric breathes well, helping to regulate your body temperature as well as wicking away moisture from your skin. This means that you stay comfortable, whatever the season or weather.

It is also stronger than cotton fabric, making it popular for clothing and other household textiles such as bed linen, linen tablecloths and linen towels as well.

caring for linen clothes

Whether you're on vacation or heading to a business meeting, linen is perfect to throw on and look instantly stylish without seeming like you've tried too hard. Elegant and timelessly beautiful, it's always a smart choice for the contemporary wardrobe.

Once you've fallen for the charms of linen clothes, you'll be delighted to discover how easy they are to care for. But it's also important to give linen the attention it deserves, so we've got some tips on how to wash your linen clothing. Good care will help keep linens looking beautiful and feeling luxuriously soft.

What to consider before you wash linen clothes

machine washing linen clothes

If there is a stain or mark on your linen garment try to pre-treat it before washing. Dab the stain immediately with a suitable stain remover (baking soda and white vinegar are good home solutions), testing on a non-visible are first to check the colour stays fast.

We always recommend that you check the care instructions on the label on linen garments before you wash your linen clothing, or other linen items. Here's why:

  • Linen works effectively with different dye colors and combines well with other materials, offering great versatility for any wardrobe. But these blended fabrics may require specific care.
  • Pre washed linen clothing and fabric is less likely to shrink when washed. But it's still important to use the recommended temperatures - some garments require cold water while others can be machine washed in warmer water.
  • washing linen clothing
  • Although you can wash all pure linen dresses, tunics, trousers and shirts in a washing machine, other materials used for stitching, trim or lining may need to be dry cleaned, or you might need to hand wash them. Ignoring or being unaware of that advice can ruin your garment.
  • Poorer quality linen clothing may not wash as well as finer linens. Buying from a reputable retailer that uses top quality linen fabric in its garments means your clothes will wash better and last longer.
  • Not following the item's washing instructions may damage or shrink the fabric. Check the label before washing or ironing linen.

washing linen clothing

Washing linen clothes: what you need to know

  • Always wash your linen clothes on your machine's gentle cycle. Avoid washing in cold or very hot water. If it is possible to select the water level in the washing machine, always use the maximum offered. Your clothing should move freely.
  • Do not crowd the washing machine with too many items at once. This can twist or pull the linen fabric out of shape.

washing linen clothing

  • Make sure that any other items in the washing machine are similar to your linen clothes in terms of color, weight and washing instructions.
  • If you hand wash linen clothes, only use a gentle swishing motion - never wring, twist or scrub the fabric. Hand washing is recommended for clothes that are not heavily soiled, or for linen fabric with a loose weave. This might be more easily damaged during a machine wash.

washing linen dress linen shirts

  • Linen clothes, like all other linen home textiles, must be washed in lukewarm temperatures – never in cold or hot water. Does linen shrink? Yes it does, especially if you wash it in too hot temperatures (above 40C is not recommended). If your linen clothes are vintage or are not pre-washed you should expect them to shrink a bit after the first wash, no matter what water temperature you use.

washing linen clothes

  • Use a mild detergent for washing and make sure that any residue is completely rinsed off the piece of clothing before drying.

How to dry your linen clothes

  • If your linen garment is pre-washed during the production process, it is safe to dry it in a tumble dryer. Set to a low the drying temperature and remove the garment while it is still slightly damp.
  • Always try to air dry your linen clothes flat. Hangers or clothespins can create marks on the fabric, and may also cause the garment to lose its original shape.
  • We love the natural wrinkles in linen fabric, but if you like to iron your linen clothes make sure they are still damp before you start.

best way to wash linen clothing

Treat your linen clothes well and they will keep on looking amazing for years to come. Which makes them a sustainable alternative to fast fashion fads. Whether they can be machine washed and tumble dried, or need more gentle care, linen clothes get softer with every wash.

From summer linen shirts to your flowy linen dress that you layer with woollens in autumn, linen clothing is an all-year choice.

wash linen fabric

For tips on caring for linen bedlinen go here.

For more linen care tips visits Houserituals website.


I really love linen trousers but i Ithink the cleaning of coloured trousers(black) kind of extensive. I'm asking myself, how often should I wash my trousers if they are not visible soiled?



Dear Tobias,

There is no any standard suggesting how often you should wash linen clothes. It's really up to you and your hygiene standards.


In reply to by Tobias (not verified)

Rory Tate

So glad this information was available. THANKS! I just bought a very expensive linen shirt. I didn't have a clue how to wash it. But I knew I had to get valid information. Can I use dish washing soap.

Airbnb Management Service

Your post is much appreciated. Thanks for putting this up together! This one is great!

Mark Murphy

I really appreciate your advice to try and dry your linen clothes in a tumble dryer if they can handle it. My wife has a lot of clothes and she says that the laundry can be overwhelming. I will be sure to tell her that she doesn't have to worry about her linen clothes!


I have a beautiful sleeveless white linen blouse that has sweat stains. What is the best way to remove them?


Dear Alex,

I would suggest to wash it in a regular way as described in this article - that should work.


In reply to by Alex (not verified)


I read on the other thread that a linen shirt can become long, but that washing will also make it linen which is not pre-washed shrink. I want to wash my linen pants, will it expand or will it shrink. Thank you.


Dear Ron,

If it is made from not pre-washed fabric it will shrink. You shouldn't worry about expanding when it comes to washing linen items.


In reply to by Ron (not verified)

p robinson

What temperature you say it should be washed at ...20 or 40...also what spin cycle ...i recently washed a shirt at 40 didn't realise as i am using a different machine now feels harder than it was but i did also use some soda crystals...




We suggest to wash at lowest possible temperature (but don't go above 40). You should be fine using fabric softener to get more softness.


In reply to by p robinson (not verified)

Post comment

Post comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.



I'm Inga and this is a space where I celebrate simple, slow living. It's a place to be curious and creative, to share ideas on how to live and work sustainably and mindfully. Being the creative force behind I also write about my love for linen and natural fabrics. Linenbeauty weaves inspiring stories of slow living with interior style features, travel and cookery tips and outfit ideas. Thanks so much for stopping by.