Flax plants produce the fibers used to make linen. Linen is an ideal choice for comforters and bed sheets because this fabric softens with use instead of becoming rough. Materials like cotton simply cannot match linen's durability.
Although linen is known for being moisture-resistant and withstanding photodegradation (breaking down in sunlight), there are things you can do to boost the life of your linens. Learning how to make your linen sheets last and preserve your luxury linens ensures you'll have fine linen bedding available for your next holiday gathering, as well as for everyday use. You can expect your linens to last ten years or more with proper care.
How can you wash your linen sheets so they last?
Your laundry habits significantly impact the lifespan of your bed sheets, comforters, duvets, towels, and clothes. Creating good habits can help you maintain the quality of your linen sheets for years, ensuring they look and feel great.
How often should you wash your linen sheets?
Since linens get softer with use, you don't have to worry about washing them too often as long as you follow the washing instructions. It's optimal to wash your sheets weekly unless they are soiled and must be stain-treated or washed sooner. New linens should also be washed before use.
What temperature should the water be when washing linens?
Your linen sheets are more likely to shrink and suffer damage if you use hot water when washing, but a cold water wash doesn't kill germs or all bacteria. Warm water is most effective because it kills bacteria, eliminates dirt, and preserves linen’s quality and color.
Can you wash linen sheets in a washing machine?
Always check the care instructions on your linens before washing them to ensure you take the recommended steps to preserve your linens. When using a washing machine, opt for a gentle cycle suitable for delicate fabrics. You'll enjoy better results if you fill the machine with water, even if your linens only take up half of the drum.
What type of laundry detergent is best for washing linens?
Use liquid detergent for optimal results. Liquid detergent won't leave residue on your linens. It mixes with cold water effectively and is an adequate stain-treatment substitute.
Make sure you use a laundry detergent that doesn't contain fabric softener, and don't add bleach to your wash cycle. Fabric softeners and bleach damage linens, reducing their quality and lifespan.
Other Washing Tips
Start the water and add laundry detergent before you put your linens in the washing machine's drum. This allows the detergent to mix with the water, and you won't have to worry about the detergent sitting on your linens until dissolved. Detergent can stain if it sits on fabrics for an extended period before mixing with the water.
Wash your linens with other items that are similar colors. A dark sweater can leave lint on white or light-colored linens, while white or light-colored sweaters can pepper dark linens. Washing lights and darks separately also prevents colors from bleeding onto other fabrics. Wash your linens separately from other fabrics for the best results.
Ensure your linens are thoroughly rinsed before drying. Although this is less of a concern with liquid detergent than powder detergent, making this a habit ensures your linens are free of residue and dirt before you hang them to dry or put them in the dryer.
How can you dry your linen sheets so they last?
Dryers contribute to wear and tear on linens and other fabrics, so opting to air dry your linen sheets and other linen products will help make your linens last. Air drying is also affordable and environmentally friendly.
Shape preservation is another benefit of air-drying duvets and comforters. What is a comforter set? A comforter set is a bed-in-a-bag, including a comforter, sheets, and pillowcases. The down inside comforters and duvets can clump up when dried in a dryer, while air-drying prevents clumping. This means your comforters and duvets will look great after each wash.
You can air-dry linens indoors in bad weather. Use a drying rack to allow airflow. Direct a fan at your linens to promote air circulation and reduce the drying time.
If air-drying isn't an option, you can dry your linens in a dryer. Use a cool setting when you tumble-dry linens. For optimal results, you should also ensure the dryer isn't completely filled.
How can you prevent bed sheets from balling up in the dryer?
Shake sheets out when removed from the wash to ensure they aren't crumpled before you put them in the dryer. Separate sheets from other sheets or pillowcases to keep items from sticking together and to ensure they dry thoroughly. You can also fold flat sheets in half and tie two corners together before putting the sheet in the dryer to prevent it from balling up. Tie the elastic sides of fitted sheets together to keep them from balling.
How can you soften hard bed sheets?
Since linens soften with use, the best way to soften a linen bed sheet set is to use your linens and wash them. You can also use distilled white vinegar to wash your linens. Washing with vinegar offers multiple advantages, such as:
- Brightening fabrics
- Eliminating odors
- Preserves colors
- Removes lint
- Removes pet hair
- Removes sweat stains
- Softening fabrics
Washing with vinegar also delivers the bonus of cleaning your washing machine. Distilled white vinegar is affordable and delivers many benefits when washing clothes, which is why many people have replaced laundry detergent with vinegar.
Using dryer balls is another way to soften your sheets and help remove wrinkles.
What's the best way to treat stains?
Mix baking soda and cold water and put the paste on the stain. Leave the paste in place until it dries, and let it sit longer for tougher stains. Once the paste dries, brush it off and wash your linens.
There may be minor variations to your stain-treatment routine for different stains. For example, you may apply baking soda directly to vomit or wine stains.
How can you care for your linens so they last?
Fold your linens and put them in a bedding bag to preserve their quality and life. Store your bedding bag in a dry, cool, dark closet. This will prevent photodegradation from sunlight and protect your sheets from dust mites.
Linen is a durable fabric that can look great for years with proper care. Separating your linens from other colors and fabrics before washing your linens in warm water with liquid detergents is the most effective way to clean your linens. Air-drying or tumble-drying on a low-heat setting will also help your linens last.
Aguirre, S. (2022). How to Remove Common Stains From Clothing With Baking Soda.
Liles, M. (2022). Liquid vs. Powder Detergent vs. Pods: Which is best to use?
Linen: Textile. (2020).