How to Wash a Linen Shirt

Linen dries quickly, making it suitable for a warm-weather shirt fabric.
Linen dries quickly, making it suitable for a warm-weather shirt fabric. (Image: linen image by Silver Bromide from Fotolia.com)

Linen is a breathable, cool fabric, often used in lightweight summer clothing. Linen shirts offer a crisp look and don't stick to your skin in humid weather. A natural fabric, linen easily wrinkles and it also requires some care when you wash it once it's soiled. Not all linen is washable. Linen items with linings and facings must be dry cleaned, as should fabric that is made with a blend of linen and another fiber. Most shirts do not have these concerns, allowing you to wash them at home instead of spending money on a dry cleaner.

Things You'll Need

  • Laundry soap flakes
  • Bleach
  • Towel
  • Iron

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Fill the sink or a washtub with warm water. Mix in laundry soap flakes until they dissolve. Use the amount of soap recommended on the package.

Place the linen shirt in the water and swirl it around. Rub the fabric together gently on soiled areas, such as in the armpits or around the collar. Vigorous rubbing can stretch the linen fibers and ruin the shape of the shirt.

Rinse the soap out of the fabric with lukewarm water. Empty the sink and refill it with fresh warm water.

Pour 1/4 cup bleach and 1 tbsp. of laundry flakes to the water. Mix until the flakes dissolve.

Place the shirt into the water and swirl it around a second time. The soap removes any remaining soil in the fabric and the bleach brightens the linen. Do not leave the shirt to soak in the bleach solution, as this may damage the fabric.

Rinse the shirt thoroughly in cold water. Hang the shirt over the sink and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes so that much of the excess water drips off it.

Lay the shirt on a clean towel. Roll the towel and the shirt into a cylinder and squeeze gently, removing as much moisture as possible. Iron the shirt to finish drying it and to get rid of all the wrinkles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Soap flakes are available where laundry detergent is sold. Do not substitute powdered detergent for the flakes, as powder does not dissolve as well as flakes nor is it as gentle.
  • Iron linen only when it is damp. Ironing dry linen can damage it.

References

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