How to Make White Linen Bright Again

Brighten your white linen clothing without fear of damaging the natural flax fibers.
Brighten your white linen clothing without fear of damaging the natural flax fibers. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

When your favorite white linen blouse or pair of pants gets dingy, you’ll need tips that will wipe away the dust and grime, without damaging the texture of the garment’s flax fibers. Instead of visiting the local dry cleaner to brighten your white linen, you can clean and whiten the fabric at home. Whether you are prepping your linen for a summer party or a special religious event, make your linen clothing look good-as-new with the right cleaning method.

Things You'll Need

  • All-purpose mild detergent
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Padded hangers
  • Iron

Machine wash your linen clothing in lukewarm water with an all-purpose mild detergent. For white garments with polyester or rayon lining, turn the garment inside out, to protect the linen fibers during the washing machine’s agitation process. In fact, set your washing machine to a mild wash cycle to clean your favorite linen pieces.

Place a capful of oxygen bleach in the water to help lighten and brighten your whites. Avoid using chlorine bleach, unless the manufacturer designates on the label that chlorine is a preferred whitening agent. The harsh whitening product may damage the linen fibers beyond repair.

Air-dry your linen clothing in a well-ventilated area, away from the direct sunlight -- to prevent shrinking and yellowing of the fabric. Hang garments on padded hangers, to retain the original shape of the item while drying.

Press your heavy linens with a hot iron, to release wrinkles after drying. For lighter-weight, linens use a lower temperature iron.

Tips & Warnings

  • When using chlorine bleach, dilute two capfuls in one cup of water, before adding the whitening mixture to the washing machine.

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