How to Wash Linen Sheets (Drying, Ironing, & Storage)

Are you even supposed to wash linen for the first time before using them? That is what you’re about to find out!

There are many things one can do to prolong the life of linen sheets, and it all begins with that first wash.

The initial wash ensures that the linen fibers settle into place. The best practice is usually to wash linen sheets first before sleeping on them.

How To Wash Linen Sheets

There are two methods of washing linen sheets

  • Hand-washing
  • Machine washing

Here are some important recommendations to consider every time you wash linen, beginning with the first wash to subsequent cleaning. All these will ensure your linen sheets last quite long.

1. Wash linen only with fabrics of similar materials and colors (preferably, the entire set, during the first cleaning);

2. Always set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and using cold water. Excessive heat might lead to shrinking and rapid damage of your linen. Excessive agitation might weaken the linen threads too;

3. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners and instead use a mild detergent. Using harsh detergents will often make your linen to become stiff. Fabric softeners can accumulate on linen, leading to the opposite effect;

4. Do not pour detergents directly over linen. If possible, add linen to the machine after dissolving the detergent;

5. Ensure your rinse cycle is reasonable as you complete washing so that all detergents are washed out;

6. Drying your linen is also critical. Line dry in a bright, airy space away from direct sunlight;

7. Before storing or spreading your linen sheets over other bedding, ensure that it is totally dry.

Can you wash linen in a machine?

How to Hand-Wash Linen Sheets

One of the benefits of linen sheets is that they are machine washable.  However, if you prefer to wash them by hand, you may follow the same best cleaning practices above regarding type of detergent and washing temperature.

  • Begin by filling your sink or bathtub partly with lukewarm water.
  • Dissolve a small amount of washing detergent in the water.
  • Submerge your linen sheets entirely in the soapy water.
  • Use gentle agitation by hand for a few minutes to remove dirt. Do not twist the fabric.
  • Remove your sheets, then drain and rinse the basin.
  • Proceed to refill the bathtub with water and rinse your sheets.
  • Gently massage the linen in clean water until all the soap is washed. Repeat this process if required to completely remove the soap.

Can you machine-wash linen sheets?

Yes, you can machine-wash linen sheets. Hand-washing is often difficult these days because many people do not have much time for laundry. 

Generally, you may use the washing machine for each wash.

Ensure that you carefully read the care instructions on the labels and/or packaging. If there are no specific directions for hand-washing linen sheets, below are some of the general machine washing tips, beginning with the first cleaning.

How to Machine Wash Linen Sheets

While linen is a high quality fabric that does not imply it is also a high-maintenance. You may clean it with an ordinary washing machine at home as well.  These are the steps to follow:

  1. Put your linen sheets in the washing without mixing with other clothes. Only wash them with similar-colored fabrics.
  2. Add approximately 1/4 cup mild laundry detergent, for instance, Tide.
  3. Select a gentle cycle in your washing machine and a warm-water setting.
  4. Start the cycle.
  5. Rinse your sheets as many times as you wish until all soap is washed out.
  6. Air-dry your linen sheets.
Can You Put Linen Sheets in the Dryer?

No, you should never put linen sheets in the dryer. For optimal length of use of your sheets, but if you do not have an alternative drying option due to unpredictable factors, use the lowest heat setting for the machine.
Do not dry clean or put linen sheets in a hot dryer; instead, hand wash.  Heat can cause the fabric to weaken much faster.

Should You Iron Linen Sheets?

You do not need to iron linen sheets.
Linen is one of those beautiful fabrics that you really do want to take good care of if you want it to last. It gives your bedding a lovely, relaxed appearance. You don’t have to iron linen sheet sets since they are wrinkle resistant.
If you do decide to iron your linen bedding, keep in mind the following important considerations:

1. Verify the iron’s temperature setting and patch test a tiny corner on the bottom to make sure it is not too hot.
2. Ensure that you iron while the linen bedding is still a little moist. You’ll get the correct temperature and the right, consistent outcome.
3. Do not leave the iron on linen for an excessive amount of time!

How to soften linen sheets

The best way to keep linen bedding soft is to care for it well from the beginning.

  • Avoid using harsh detergents
  • Use line drying only, and
  • Ensure that linen has fully dried before storing away in a dry, preferably a dark cupboard.

Natural softening of excellent linen bedding should occur gradually over time if you use the proper cleaning procedures.

How to Store Linen Bedding

Proper storage is essential, especially if you rotate your bedding with another set or keep extra linens on hand for guests.

The best way to store bed linens is in a bedding bag, whether you use the one your sheets came in or buy a new protective satchel. A cloth bag will keep dust mites at bay while safeguarding the fabric from direct sunlight, which can cause fading.

Beyond that, stash your linen bedding in a dry, cool area — bathrooms, laundry rooms and other moisture-prone spaces aren’t recommended.

How often Should You Wash Linen Sheets?

You should wash linen sheets once every month, but fabric experts recommend cleaning them only when they are dirty to avoid wearing them down.
It’s great to wash linen regularly. As with everything, your bed sheets will last longer if they are not used and washed too frequently. The more often something is used, the shorter its lifespan.
Therefore, wash them as needed.
If you want to extend the life of your linen, get more sets. This way, you can enjoy the look and feel of linen all year long without having to worry about it losing its luster too early.

Tip: It is recommended that you wash the entire linen set whenever a piece requires washing. This will guarantee that your linen softens uniformly and maintains the consistency of any color fading across your set.