April 16, 2021 5 min read

Linen is a durable natural fiber. Be it pillowcases, linen sheets, or boho quilt sets, they all are resistant to wear and tear, fading and shrinking even after several washes. Linen fabric doesn’t trap heat or moisture and doesn’t leave that sticky and damp feeling like other fabrics do in warm weather. This fabric gets softer with time, and with repeated washes, but without losing toughness. Initially, linen bedding has that nippy and crisp feel, especially when brand new. But over time, you’ll notice that the texture softens. But nothing lasts forever. Especially if mistreated.

So, if you had spent a handsome amount of money on your fine linen bedding, and you’re still wondering why it started fading and pilling way too soon. Then, trust me, you may be not following the instructions correctly, and you may be washing your linen bedding the not-so-right way.
Linen is supposed to be washed a certain way to improve its already-long life and in case you don’t know it, the good news is that you’ve landed on the right page.   

Why Wash Linen Sheets in a Certain Way? 


Washed Linen Sheets

If you have ever noticed specific instructions on the care label that’s usually sewn with the linen sheets and even the bed sheets and pillowcases in your bedroom, they tell you the dos and don'ts about washing sheets or ironing linen sheets. You must adhere to them, here’s the reason why: 

...because certain washing practices may weaken the fabric’s weave

Although, as earlier mentioned, linen is as strong as it gets, the wrong washing intensity and the wrong products may cause its weave to loosen. And if this continues over time, you’ll end up getting the threads hanging out of your linen sheets, and all too quickly. 

...because careless washing may lead to fabric deforming

A washing machine whose tumble dry and/or wash cycle isn’t preset correctly may end up wrinkling, twisting, and or pulling linen sheets. We’d also like you to note that certain temperatures of water can bring about fiber-shrinking, and thus, shrinkage of the entire linen sheet as a whole.

Machine Wash vs. Hand Wash: Which Is Better For Your Linens

(With Linen Sheets Care Tips)

If you have spent hours skimming the “how to wash linen duvet cover” or “how to wash linen bedding” articles on the internet, and you’re still unsure. We’ve got you covered. Read below the A-Z’s of linen bedding:

  1. Handwashing Linen Sheets

As much as households and businesses rely on the washing machine when it comes to doing the laundry, show your Or&Zon linens some love by hand-washing them. Nothing beats this manual yet rewarding practice. 

This is a highly recommended tip for linens, and much more so for those with looser weaves. It’s a step towards avoiding loosening their beautiful interlacing fibers. Doing so will not merely maintain their make but their life as well. You’ll get to keep them longer while helping retain their original form.

Additional Tip: Soak your linen sheets in Lukewarm water for a few minutes with a teaspoon of mild laundry detergent and gently swish the item around to avoid over-stretching the fabric. Rinse it repeatedly until all the soapy residue is gone. Voila! You’re done.

  1. If Machine-Washing Is Unavoidable…

Although the best practice would be to hand wash your linen sheets, you can definitely go for machine washing while following the instructions on the care label.

Following these instructions will prevent your bed sheets from wearing out too soon:

  • Use the gentle machine cycle.
  • AVOID full load to the washing machine. Otherwise, your sheets will tug against the rest of the clothing and will cause them to deteriorate.
  • Wash your white and dark-colored linen sheets separately otherwise your white sheets will not remain white anymore.
  1. As Warm As Lukewarm

Hot water is a no-no for linen. How about soaking for too long? Still a no. To stop its fibers from becoming constricted and weak (which ruins its shape too), lukewarm water is all that’s required when you wash linen. And a little bit in between lukewarm to room temperature than the opposite. 

An important note to remember is that it shouldn’t go beyond the 40 degrees Celsius (104° Fahrenheit) mark. In case you’re not able to use a thermometer, you can always simply decide on what you feel is skin-safe. Dip your elbow in the wash-water. If it’s warm, yet not too warm to be scalded, you’ll be good. 

  1. If Not “Pre-Washed”

For linen whose care label states that it wasn’t pre-washed, expect for it to undergo some form of fabric shrinking when you wash them for the first time after purchase. This is normal, so there’s no need to fret and furrow your brows. 

Once you’re through with the said first wash, as long as you follow our washing tips, you shouldn’t have any problem maintaining your linen sheets’ structural integrity from here on out. 

  1. Whether to Use Fabric Softener or Not?

The answer is the latter. Linens are exquisitely soft, and they only get softer with time. A fabric softener is unnecessary while washing linen duvet cover of yours or the other precious beddings. Not to mention (but “yes”, to mention) how many commercial fabric softeners today have too-strong chemicals that may wear down the natural fiber in the long run. 

Pro Tip: You can use wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oil on them to give a beautiful scent to your sheets without compromising on durability.

  1. Air Dry or Tumble Dry?

A straightforward answer to your confusion: Air dry linen sheets. This is how you can aid their longevity. However, if you need them dried quickly, a mix of both air and machine drying is acceptable to dry the sheet well (you’ll have to double-check the label as not all weaves are suitable for these). Machine-dry the sheet on the lowest setting and at the gentlest spin. Next, hang it out to dry when it’s still slightly damp

Then again, similar to sticking to hand-washing, a manual is the best way to go. 

How to Remove Stains Without Bleaching 

dry the sheet

The Dab Test 

For stains that are tough to remove even after having to soak the linen bedding in soap or mild laundry detergent and lukewarm water, you might be thinking of getting a hold of stain removal products. Although staying away from them is altogether safest, here’s what you can do if stains continue to linger. 


Do the “dab test”. Using only the mildest stain remover, dip a cotton swab in it and apply it on the sheet’s inner helm and/or inside seam. It shouldn’t take long for it to take effect. 

If the color of the bed sheets completely fades away, then you know not to utilize a stain remover. But if it doesn’t, you can use the same amount of stain removal product on the linen stain, and make sure you don’t leave it on for too long. 

You’ll have to be extremely careful when practicing this trick. When uncertain, stick to the soak-and-wait, or try this recommendation below. 

Baking Soda and Water 

For a guaranteed-milder approach, DIY it with baking soda (plus a tad bit of vinegar, if you want it squeaky clean) and water. Add half a cup of baking soda together with your preferred mild detergent. Let the mixture dissolve in the water before you soak your pillowcases, bed sheets, and linen sheets in this solution. 

Additional Tip: You should try to get rid of the stains as soon as they develop to avoid them from absorbing in the fabric otherwise it will make the removal of stains a more frustrating task later.

How About Ironing Linen Sheets? 

Although some people prefer not to iron their linen sheets and they tend to go with the soft and natural crumpled look. In case you want a neater and sleek look to your bedding or your sheets have developed heavy crumbling and wrinkling, ironing linen can be definitely done correctly when the sheets are slightly damp. Furthermore, ensure that the iron is at a low heat setting to prevent damage. 

Final Thoughts

The above-mentioned instructions and tips are guaranteed to elevate the life of your precious linen bedding especially if you wash bed sheets along with the right aftercare. Linen is one of the most skin-friendly fabrics out there and, therefore, is a worthwhile investment for your home décor.