A clothing label showing laundry symbols attached to red fabric.

Can Linen Be Machine Washed? Washing Instructions for Linen

If you take a look in your wardrobe, you may find a lot of linen. As a fabric, linen is a great material to make clothes with: it is strong, durable, and not too heavy. Given that so many of your clothes are made from it, you will certainly be wondering how to wash linen using your washing machine without damaging any of your clothes. You might have a lot of questions – Can linen be machine washed safely? And if so, how to wash a linen tablecloth and effectively remove its stains? Surf excel can help – read on for washing instructions for linen and tips for taking care of your family’s linen garments.


Can I Wash Linen in the Washing Machine?

You should always check the instructions on your clothes labels before cleaning them (check out our article about laundry symbols here ), but in general yes, linen can be washed safely in a washing machine. If you have a fully automatic washing machine, you will need to use cold or warm (40 o C) water – never hot – and only use a gentle wash cycle with a mild laundry detergent. If the spin cycle is too vigorous, it could damage the fibres of the garment. Avoid over-loading the washing machine with linen – too many clothes in the machine will lead to more friction and damage to the fabrics as they are spun around inside the drum. Our matic Moms have some great tips on how to wash linen:

“There’s no need to use starch as a washing machine can help you clean linens quickly. However, if you really want to starch items such as table linens by hand then you can do this after the wash to achieve an extra crisp finish!”

“Natural fibers tend to lose lint (nap); to prevent this ending up on your other garments wash linen items separately from other materials, especially for the first wash.”  


Can You Wash Linen Shirts?

One of the most common type of linen you will have in your family’s wardrobes are linen shirts. How do you wash linen shirts to keep them at their best? The first trick is to make sure that you own the correct type of linen shirt for machine washing! Nowadays you can get colourfast linen garments: these will retain their bright colour under washing machine conditions, without running or fading. One of our matic Moms recommends: “Use a mild shampoo or laundry detergent specially designed for woollen garments to wash linen clothes. Use a gentle cycle and do not use the spin cycle.” After washing linen shirts on a gentle cycle, allow the shirts to air dry – the super-hot tumble dryer could shrink your precious garments! Make sure that there are no stains left on the shirts before you dry or iron them – the process of drying and ironing can actually ‘set’ the stains into the fabric, making them even harder to get out! In the event of stains, simply repeat the washing process, using Surf excel liquid detergent as a pre-treatment. Another tip from one of our matic Moms: “Try to dry linen clothes flat. Hangers or clothes pegs may leave marks behind on your garments.”   As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of specialist knowledge to know how to clean linen clothes – just a few simple precautions.

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