August 22, 2023 5 min read

When it comes to high-quality bedding, nothing beats pure linen fabric. But this soft, natural fabric comes in different forms, so it’s important to know more about the differences. If you’re not sure whether regular or stonewashed linen is the right option for you, we’ve created this helpful guide to make it easier. Read on to learn more about the difference between stonewashed and regular linen, so you can determine which option is the best one for you and your needs.

What is Regular Linen?

Linen is a natural material with an organic origin derived from the flax plant. And although it comes from a plant like cotton, linen takes longer to harvest. It also takes longer to make since flax fibers are more difficult to weave. Not only is regular linen used to make bedding, but it’s also commonly used to manufacture bath towels, tablecloths, clothing, and other kitchen linen products. The word “linens” is a general term used to describe a variety of household textiles, but they may not necessarily be made from real, quality linen fabric.

Regular linen may feel initially rough to the touch unless it’s undergone a pre-washing process. The newly manufactured cloth is exceptionally durable, but it may take several washes for regular linen to become soft and coy to the touch. And while it’s a fairly harsh raw material in its initial form, linen does get softer over time after each wash cycle.

Sand Linen sheets Light Grey Linen Bedding

What is Stonewashed Linen Fabric?

Navy Blue Linen bed Sheets Light Grey Linen bed Sheets

What does stone washed linen mean? This type of linen undergoes a process called stone washing, where the original, rigid fabric undergoes a unique washing process. Real volcanic rock and other actual stones, such as pumice, are added to large drums where the linen is washed and dried. This is part of the manufacturing process and is commonly called a “garment wash.” As the large stones rub against the yarn structure, it creates friction that gently helps to pull the tight weave apart to create a softer, more vintage feel than regular linen.

Grey linen sheets

Difference Between Regular Linen and Stonewashed Linen

Now that you know more about these two types of linen, let’s examine the difference between stonewashed and regular linen in terms of things like texture, shrinkage, comfort, and more.


All linen fabric is exceptionally soft, but stonewashed linen is much softer than regular linen thanks to the extra step required to make it. This material has been pre-washed, and the use of stones helps to make the fibers even softer once the initial process is complete. That first wash is what gives stone washed bed linen its popular, natural crumples and its laid-back signature wrinkled look. Regular linen also softens after the first wash, but stonewashed linen is immediately soft right out of the package.


Does stonewashed linen shrink? What about regular linen? Both of these options are shrink-proof, which means that they will retain their original shape and size through multiple wash cycles. However, some regular linen yarn and linen fabrics may have a bit of shrinkage, while washed linen won’t. This means you can dry your linen bedding without having to worry about it becoming too small for your bed.


Regular linen is a bit crisper than stonewashed linen. One of the things that make stonewashed linen appealing to consumers is that it has a naturally wrinkled, crumpled look. If you prefer your bedroom to be sleek and modern, regular linen might be the better choice. However, if you love the lived-in look and feel, then stonewashed linen could be the best option. Both forms of linen don’t need ironing, and they will retain their shape without extra maintenance.


From sheets to quilts and duvet covers, all linen bedding is exceptionally comfortable. This material is naturally breathable, moisture-wicking, and hypoallergenic. If you tend to “sleep hot” at night or suffer from night sweats, linen bedding is a smart choice. The material wicks moisture away from the body while keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This applies to both stonewashed and regular linen bedding.


Standard linen tends to hold color throughout the entire fabric, creating a uniform, even look. Stonewashed linen is a bit more nuanced, and no two pieces are exactly the same due to the stone-washing process. As the stones distress the fabric, they can create variances in the way the dye absorbs into the material. This gives the linen a vintage-inspired look and a garment wash effect that’s perfect for casual homes. If you prefer something more formal or sleek, regular linen is likely the better choice.


Overall, every type of linen is extremely durable. However, regular linen tends to hold up slightly better than stonewashed linen since it has not been distressed from the initial washing stage that utilizes stones. Since the strength of linen is extremely high, stone washing the fabric doesn’t affect the level of durability significantly. However, regular linen is more rigid and a bit tougher, which means it may last a bit longer. With proper care, stonewashed linen bedding should last just as long and hold up just as well as regular linen will.


Both regular and stonewashed linen should be cared for in the same way. Here are some care tips to keep your linen bedding in excellent condition.

  • Wash your linen bedding on a gentle cycle and always use a mild liquid detergent.
  • Regular and stonewashed linen should be line-dried or tumble-dried on the low heat setting.
  • Keep colors the same and never mix dark and light colors together.
  • Avoid using products with bleaching agents as they could cause the linen to become discolored.
Blue linen sheet set

Final thoughts on the difference between stonewashed and regular linen

When it comes to the difference between stonewashed and regular linen, it’s mostly about your personal preference in terms of looks and softness. Stonewashed linen is the perfect choice if you’re looking for that ultra-soft, lived-in look and feel. Explore the collection of linen bedding products available from Or & Zon to help you choose the ultimate options for your home.