Laundering linen bedding at home is simple: use less soap, reduce the drying time, and let gravity do the ironing for you. Do not dry-clean your linen sheets. Forget old-fashioned ideas of straining over a hot iron, pressing with great effort and frustrating results. Linen is a beautiful, natural fabric that will soften dramatically with time and use.
Use Less Soap
Start with a natural, biodegradable laundry soap such as Ecos, Biokleen, or Seventh Generation. Any soap will do, but natural soaps don't harm the environment, and protect sensitive wildlife. Linen is a natural fiber that will benefit from some conditioning when it is new. We recommend Seventh Generation free and clear fabric softener or hair conditioner in the final rinse cycle.
Use cold water for bright and dark colors, use warm water for whites and neutrals. It's o.k. to place the entire set into the washing machine. Do not use Chlorine bleach.
Reduce Drying Time
We recommend using the permanent press setting on your dryer to avoid over-drying your linen sheets. Dry on medium heat in the dryer before you hang them out to dry helps to re-orient the fibers after washing and leaves a soft finish on the surface of the fabric. When drying linen sheet sets in the dryer, put one sheet and one pillowcase together in the dryer at a time. Because linen dries so quickly, the whole set will be too much for a home dryer and you'll end up with a wad of linen that is over-dried near the drum and still damp in the center. Turn the pillowcases inside out. Dry the single sheet and pillowcase for no longer than 20 minutes on the low or medium heat setting. Repeat this process for the remaining items. Remember: linen dries much faster than cotton.
Skip The Ironing
Remove the sheets from the dryer while they are still slightly damp. Spread them out neatly on the bed or hang them over a railing or shower curtain rod to finish air-drying. Gravity will do the work of eliminating nearly all wrinkles. The cool, gentle flutter of a ceiling fan is also great for the final stage of drying. Remember these steps and you'll be amazed by how quickly the linen is dry and how soft it becomes with each wash.