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How To Wash Linen Clothes in a Washing Machine

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Linen has long been loved for its breathability, versatility, and chic aesthetic. But when it comes to washing this beloved fabric, many are at a loss. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of washing linen clothes in a washing machine, ensuring your linen garments maintain their quality and beauty.


Washing linen clothes in a washing machine involves checking the care label, separating the clothes by color, turning them inside out, and using a gentle detergent. Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle with cool or lukewarm water and avoid overloading the machine. After washing, hang the linen clothes to dry and iron them while still damp on a high heat setting.

Understanding Linen

Before we dive into the washing process, it is essential to understand the specific characteristics of linen that affect how it should be washed. Linen is a natural fiber derived from the flax plant. It is known for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. However, linen is also known for its tendency to shrink and wrinkle. Therefore, it requires a gentle touch.

Preparing Linen for Washing

Before tossing your linen clothes into the washing machine, there are several steps you should take:

  1. Check the care label: Always refer to the care label on the garment for specific washing instructions and ensure it is suitable for machine washing.
  2. Separate by color: Wash your linen items separately, sorting them into lights and darks.
  3. Turn items inside out: This helps protect the fibers during the washing process.
  4. Use a mesh laundry bag: Place linen items in a mesh laundry bag to prevent damage and tangling with other clothes.
  5. Choose a gentle detergent: Opt for a mild detergent formulated for delicate fabrics.

Washing Linen in a Washing Machine

Now that your linen clothes are ready, here are the steps to wash them in a washing machine:

  1. Set the machine to a gentle cycle: Linen clothes should be washed on a gentle or delicate cycle with cool or lukewarm water (no hotter than 40°C/104°F) to prevent shrinkage and damage to the fabric.
  2. Do not overload the machine: Ensure there is enough space for the linen items to move around in the drum, as this can help reduce creasing.
  3. Rinse and spin: Use a long soak, short wash, rinse, and short spin cycle for optimal results.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

While washing linen clothes, avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Ignoring washing instructions: Always follow the care label on the garment.
  2. Using the wrong cycle: Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine to avoid damaging the linen fabric.
  3. Washing in extreme temperatures: Avoid washing linen clothes in cold or very hot water. Use lukewarm water instead.
  4. Overloading the washing machine: Do not crowd the washing machine with too many items at once.
  5. Mixing linen with other fabrics: Wash linen clothes separately from other fabrics to prevent damage and color bleeding.

Drying and Ironing Linen Clothes

After washing, shake your linens and hang them to dry. Avoid using high dryer heat, as it may shrink the fabric. When it comes to ironing, you can iron your linen clothes while they are still damp. Use a high heat setting and iron the garment on the reverse side to avoid shiny spots.

In conclusion, washing linen clothes in a washing machine can be simple if you follow the right steps. Remember to always check the care label, use a gentle cycle, and avoid extreme temperatures. With these tips, your linen clothes will maintain their quality and last you a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bleach on my linen clothes?

No, bleach should be avoided as it can discolor and weaken the linen fibers. Instead, opt for a non-chlorine bleach if needed.

Should I use fabric softener when washing linen?

It’s not recommended to use fabric softener on linen clothes. Linen naturally softens with each wash and the use of fabric softeners can leave a residue that will stiffen the fabric.

Can I dry clean my linen clothes?

Yes, most linen garments can be dry cleaned. However, it’s always best to check the care label for specific instructions.

Why do my linen clothes wrinkle so easily?

Linen is known for its natural, lived-in look, which includes a tendency to wrinkle. This is due to the structure of the linen fibers. Ironing while damp can help reduce wrinkles.

How often should I wash my linen clothes?

Linen is a breathable fabric that doesn’t retain odors like synthetic fabrics, so you can wear it a few times before it needs washing. However, if the garment is heavily soiled or stained, wash it sooner to prevent the stain from setting.

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