Can You Machine Wash Linen Bed Sheets?

Linen is among the most beloved fabrics worldwide. The material is not only popular is for its modern look but also for its strong bed sheet quality.

The use of linen ranges from furniture fabric and curtains to fancy bedding and clothing. Like any other ordinary fabric, linen needs regular washing and maintenance.

Though linen may have a reputation for hard maintenance, the laundering process is quite simple and straightforward if you understand the fabric’s needs.

Linen is a very delicate material, which raises the question if the material can be machine-washed. Yes, it can!

You can use various methods to launder your linen, depending on its use. This article elaborates on how to machine wash your linen sheets. You will also see other cleaning methods, as well as the general maintenance tips of the fabric.

Best way of washing linen sheets

As a general rule, it is key to read the manufacturer’s instructions before washing your linen. Most times, the manufacturer recommends a particular type of washing for the said piece.

Using a washing machine

As stated earlier, you can wash your linen sheets in a washing machine. First, separate the pieces depending on their color. Do not wash light-shaded fabrics with dark-shaded fabrics.

Also, it is best to wash the linen sheets separately from other fabrics. This is to prevent the lint from linen from getting onto other fabrics. Fill the washing machine half-way with water to minimizing creasing.

Preferably use cold treated water or lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it may cause shrinking of the fabric or even weaken it.

A temperature of 40 degrees effectively eliminates dirt, body oils, and remnant chemicals from the detergent used.

Dirt and other chemicals from the sheets that are not properly washed may cause damage the linen sheet’s quality. For quality linen sheets with dark or bright colors, use cold water to prevent fading.

Add some mild detergent to the water and turn on the gentle cycle to machine-wash the linen sheets. The gentle cycle keeps the fibers intact.

Additional maintenance tips:

  • Do not use fabric softener or bleach on linen sheets, even on the white ones, as it weakens the flax fibers or discolors the material.
  • You can use oxygenated bleach to brighten white or bright colored linen.
  • Avoid mixing the sheets with heavy clothing like jeans, towels, and hoodies.
  • Avoid wringing the fabric as it may twist and damage the fiber.
  • Avoid overloading the machine as it may hinder the even cleaning of the fabric.

Other linen cleaning methods:

Hand Wash your linen bed sheets

Hand washing linen sheets is another alternative way to wash your fabric.

This method is best applicable when the sheets are not heavily soiled, or you can go for the machine to prevent damage by thorough scrubbing. Moreover, it is convenient for fabrics with a loose weave to prevent further damage by the washing machine.

Similar to the machine, you can either use lukewarm or cold water. You can mix water with a mild detergent in a basin to soak your cloth. Leave it for about ten minutes, swirl the fabric around the basin using your hands.

Avoid scrubbing or twisting the fabric as it may damage the fibers. Drain the water and add clean water repeatedly until there is no more detergent left.

In some cases, manufacturers recommend a solvent instead of a mild detergent; ensure to check on the washing instructions.

Dry Cleaning your linen fabric

Due to the flax fibers in linen sheets, which are prone to wrinkling, dry cleaning can be a good cleaning alternative. This saves on the stress of ironing your linen to get rid of creases or wrinkles.

Drying Method

After washing the linen sheets, you can place them in the machine dryer on low heat—the procedure aids in minimizing creases from the sheets.

Nevertheless, in this case, remove the linen while still wet to prevent creasing. You can also choose to air dry the sheets.

The good thing about linen is that it dries fast compared to other fabrics. To air-dry your cloth, lay it flat on a drying rack or a towel rack but not on a hanger.

Pressing the linen fabric method

Air drying exposes your linen to a lot of creasing.

If you opt for this as a drying method, you may want to iron your linen to remove any wrinkles. However, it is not compulsory to iron your linen sheets; it is a more personal choice.

To press your linen sheet, turn the settings of the iron to low- medium and press the fabric. If you desire great results, iron the fabric while it is still damp or immediately after washing.

For a dry fabric, moisten the piece with a mixture of water and linen spray in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a wet towel and place it over the linen before starting the ironing process.

If there are no more wrinkles, you need not focus on whether the fabric is dry or not while ironing as it will dry on its own.

Iron dark or bright colored bed sheets while on the inside out to avoid fading or shading patches.

Use a starch spray for linen sheets that you’d wish to stay pressed for a longer duration. An alternative to ironing is spraying the creased section with water.

Using the piece lying flat, straighten the creased part with your arms as you allow it to air dry.

Other general linen garment maintenance tips:

  • For a stained linen sheet, ensure to remove the stained part as soon as possible. Soak the fabric in a solution of water and detergent. You can also clean the spot with baking soda or a little white vinegar, then use a towel for blotting.
  • For stubborn stains, apply some dish soap on the stain to remove dirt. Afterward, you can machine wash or hand wash the fabric as per the guidelines above.


Linen sheets are more valuable in the contemporary world due to their classy designs and durability of the material. This article further shows that linen is also among the easiest fabric to clean and maintain.

Therefore, it is important to show the fabric some love by caring for it by regular cleaning and maintaining. This will give the fabric a fresh feel and further contributing to a fresh ambiance in the room.