How to wash and dry linen clothes

Two women in yellow linen dresses look off into the distance

We love the relaxed, lived-in look of linen. It keeps us comfortable and cool on humid summer days! With proper care, your favorite linen pants, button-downs, blouses and dresses can stay in the rotation for more than a decade. Here's how:

☀️ Step 1: Prep your linen

Zip up zippers, unbutton buttons, and turn your linen clothes inside out before washing. Make sure to always sort by color before washing to prevent dye transfer.

☀️ Step 2: Use a gentle everyday detergent

Reach for a gentle detergent (our Corewash works great!). Steer clear of chlorine bleach and fabric softeners, which can weaken linen fibers and hinder breathability.

Machine washing a linen button-down shirt

☀️ Step 3: Select cool water and a delicate cycle

When machine washing, opt for cool water and a delicate cycle to reduce shrinkage, especially if your linen clothes haven't been pre-washed (new linen can shrink by about 4% with its first wash). Wash with like colors only.

> Or wash by hand

If you're worried about shrinkage, consider washing your linen by hand. Massage your garment lightly in cool water using your detergent of choice. Rinse and gently squeeze out the water. Do not wring.

When you're done washing, shake out your linen or gently stretch it to minimize creases and wrinkles.

Gently stretching wet linen to reduce wrinkles

☀️ Step 4: Tumble dry or line dry

If your linen clothes can be tumble dried, choose low heat and use wool dryer balls to soften the linen and loosen up wrinkles.

If you'd like to conserve energy, air dry your linen clothes on a drying rack or clothesline. Linen will dry fairly quickly given the nature of the material.

Draping a linen shirt over a drying rack

☀️ Step 5: Iron or steam out wrinkles (optional)

For a wrinkle-free finish, steam or iron your linen (this device does both). It will be easier for you to do this while the garment is still damp.

You can also skip this step if you don't mind a relaxed, lived-in look. Rock those wrinkles and live your best life in the summer sun! 😉

Ironing a linen button-down shirt

🔸 Our go-to products when caring for linen clothes:

🔸 More linen care tips on Marie Claire:

We lent our linen care expertise to Marie Claire! Find our tips underneath their roundup of the best women's linen pants for summer. 💛

Words and gifs by Team Clean
Linen dresses by Ilana Kohn
Linen button-down by Vince

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