How To Wash Linen Shirts Like A Pro

There’s nothing worse than the feeling of ruining a brand new linen shirt in the wash. Knowing how to care for a linen shirt is arguably an essential life skill. In this article, we dive into how to wash a linen shirt like a professional, breaking down everything involved, such as what supplies you need, how to dry, and how to prevent and remove wrinkles from a linen garment. Sit back, relax and read along as we discuss how unbe-WEAVE-ably easy it is to properly wash a linen shirt.

How often should you wash a linen shirt?

Linen is an absorbent and quick-drying textile that gets softer over time. This material can be found at almost any fabric store. In this digital era, it’s become even easier to shop fabrics online. One particular online fabric store, Fabric Wholesale Direct, stands out among the rest. Their collection of linen fabric is high quality and long-lasting, making it the perfect choice for when shopping for fabric for a linen shirt. It’s absorbent and quick-drying properties make linen a highly sought after fabric when choosing material for a shirt. That being said, these qualities can also cause the material to break down over time after numerous washes. With this in mind, it is recommended to wear your linen shirt a few times before washing it. 

Things to keep in mind before washing a linen shirt

Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Linen shirts themselves are generally pretty easy to wash–the challenging part is doing it in a way that extends the life of the clothing. Let’s discuss the best ways to wash a linen shirt, in addition to a few helpful tips: 

#1. Choosing the right detergent

Choosing the right detergent is essential to extending the life of your linen shirt. You should opt for a mild detergent, without any additives when washing linen. Brighteners, bleach, softeners, and other additives found in detergents should be avoided when washing linen shirts. Additionally, try using less detergent when you wash your linen. Linen shirts are absorbent and can take in detergent much more than other fabrics. 

#2. Pre-washing preparations

Linen is a fine and luxurious fabric, and precautions should be taken to care for your shirt. Before washing, you should turn the garment inside out to protect any buttons or attachments, in addition to preventing any discoloration or damage to the face of the fabric. At this point, you will also want to pre-treat any stains on the shirt. Try to use natural substances like baking soda, white vinegar, or lemon juice to remove stains instead of chemicals. For organic stains like blood, you can use hydrogen peroxide. 

How to wash a linen shirt

#1. Hand Washing A Linen Shirt

Hand-washing is always the best option for properly caring for a linen shirt. When you hand-wash a linen garment, you are in total control of how it will be washed. For the best results, start by filling a container with cold water. Add your detergent and allow the shirt to soak for 10 minutes. Next, you will want to gently agitate the garment in a back and forth motion to allow it to absorb the soapy water and remove any dirt or debris. After doing this for a short period of time, remove the soapy water from the container and replace it with clean water. At this point, you will want to wash away any left-over detergent. Repeat this step until the garment is no longer soapy. Once the garment is wet but not soapy, it is ready for drying.

Photo: RDNE Stock Project/Pexels

#2. Machine Washing A Linen Shirt

Convenient but not the most optimal choice, it is possible to wash a linen shirt in a washing machine. Before starting this step, check the care label on the garment. The manufacturer will include washing instructions, including whether the shirt should be machine-washed. If it is acceptable to machine-wash the linen shirt, you will want to prepare the washing machine by adding your detergent and selecting a cold temperature, delicate setting. When washing linen, only wash similar colors and materials together. Now all that is left is to wait for the wash cycle to finish, and it will be ready for drying.

Drying a line shirt

Photo: Ron Lach/Pexels

Heat can ruin a linen shirt. When drying a linen shirt, the utmost caution should be taken. The best choice for drying linen is to hang dry the shirt. This reduces any heat that comes into contact with the shirt, in addition to preventing any wrinkles. If hanging drying is not an option, you can also use a drying machine. Before placing the garment in the dryer, you should always check the manufacturer’s label on the shirt. If it can be placed in a dryer machine, you should choose the lowest heat setting possible. Only put similar materials and colors in the machine together. After starting the dryer, occasionally check the garment to see if it has dried. You do not want to overdry the shirt, as that will damage it.

Storing a linen shirt

Photo: Ron Lach/Pexels

In general, linen fabric is very susceptible to wrinkling, but with the proper preventative measures, you can keep your linen shirt from wrinkling. The first thing you can do to stop your shirt from wrinkling is to hang it dry. Once the shirt is dry, it should be hung on a clothes hanger. You can try folding a linen shirt, but this may cause it to crease at the folds.

Ironing a linen shirt

Sometimes, even if you take proper care of your garments, you will find your linen shirt has a few wrinkles. This is no cause for alarm, as the wrinkles can be removed with a clothes iron and a minimal amount of work. Before ironing a linen shirt, check the manufacturer’s label on the garment to see if it can actually be ironed. Next, you will want to turn your linen shirt inside out for protection and lay it flat on an ironing board. Set your clothes iron to a high, linen/cotton setting. While the iron is warming up, moisten the linen shirt with water. Once the iron has reached an optimal temperature, iron out the wrinkles with the clothes iron, ensuring the iron never stays in a single place for too long. If the shirt is very delicate, you can try placing a towel over the shirt or starting with a lower temperature setting.


In conclusion, linen fabric is an elegant and comfortable fabric that is used to make some of the best shirts available. Linen fabric is highly absorbent and gets softer over time, so taking care of linen shirts is essential for its longevity. In other words, it’s important to not overwash a linen shirt as that can degrade the material over time. However, when you do need to wash the fabric, follow a few of these helpful hints and instructions, to make your linen shirt last a lifetime. Some of the necessary steps that we discussed include using the right supplies, using gentle washing techniques, properly drying the linen, and storing the shirt properly. Consider using this knowledge to improve your linen shirt collection, your wardrobe will thank you!

Photo: Olga_Makina /Pexels

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