Can You Iron Linen?

  • Linen clothes are light, comfy, and elegant, but there’s a price to this unprecedented collection of advantages. While you know how to dry and wash your linen, not to let it shrink, experience shows, it’s also hard to keep clothing made of linen wrinkle free. 
  • In the article below, we’re sharing tips about taking care of your linen clothing when it comes to ironing. 
  • Having a set of accessories to iron linen is necessary to provide it with the best treatment, so make sure you have an ironing board, pressing cloth, iron, steamer, and bottle to spritz water, follow our guide, and give it a try!

Introduction to linen

Linen is light, breathable, and chic. It goes together with relaxation, summer, and luxury. 

Yet, linen fabric is as pleasurable to wear and sleep on as it is challenging to maintain in good shape. Eh, good old wrinkles. 

While commonly referred to as low-maintenance, linen fabrics come with a bunch of usage requirements regarding:

  • machine washing and dry cleaning,
  • drying,
  • ironing;

But don’t worry! We’re here to help. 

Check out also other House Rituals articles. A vast range of household-related tips we offer is a great deal of help. 

To iron or not to iron?

Creases are typical for linen; it’s rare to see linen completely smooth. 

If you want your linen shirt to appear smooth and flat, you need to apply not only iron but maybe even starch. 

And many of us will try to remove wrinkles at all costs. 

Others believe, though, that wrinkles in the linen fabric add to its style. It’s just linen being linen, they say. 

It’s not rare for fashionists to consider the wrinkles in the fabric part of linen’s character.

Designers and fashion brands think about linen clothes innovatively; a linen garment of today is designed to be worn without ironing, so air dry becomes a method.

You may agree or not, but one thing remains true: Linen is notorious for creasing. 

If you prefer to keep it old-school smooth, learn how to handle ironing linen from our guide.

Tips for ironing linen

For those who don’t feel like shouting out, “Embrace that wrinkle!” we’ve prepared a guide. 

In the paragraphs below, you’ll read what tools you need for ironing linen clothes, how to avoid ironing in the first place, and how to iron pants and shirts made of linen successfully.

Tools 

Here’s what you need to keep your linens, linen shirts, linen pants, dress, and other linen clothes wrinkle free:

  1. Ironing board ― every child knows you won’t go far without a sturdy ironing board. Stir away from wobbly or small models.
  1. Steam iron ― highest heat setting and a lot of steam; that’s what you need for ironing linen. Use spray feature to ensure more damp surfaces.
  1. Pressing cloth ― gives you a buffer between the hot iron and the linen fibers. What does it change? It prevents flattening linen fabric to the point of creating a shine (We don’t want that!).
  1. Spray bottle ― it’s hard (up to impossible) to iron linen if it’s not damp. A random spray bottle is more affordable than a pack of chewing gum. Fill it with clean water, and your super-useful ironing tool is ready to go.  

Tips on what to do to avoid ironing

What if you’re not so into all that ironing stuff and just want to wear your linen clothes without having to iron them?

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get familiar with the newest trends and accept that wrinkles on linen are ok. Let them be. Accept and love linen fabric as it is. 
  1. Consider that the more often you wear linen, the less of an issue its wrinkles will become. This happens because linen clothes, when washed often, become softer and more supple.
  1. It’s better not to fold natural linen clothes and hang them in a closet instead. Leave them room to “breathe” and keep them away from overcrowding. Believe it or not, it also leads to wrinkles.
  1. If possible, skip the part where you dry your linen clothing in a dryer. Instead, simply remove linen clothing from the washer and shake it well. It’s the first stage to remove wrinkles. Then, hang your shirts, curtains, jacket, pants, or other linen made garment on a padded hanger or lay flat on a towel. 

While the fabric is still wet, smooth the fabric by gently pulling:

  • seams, 
  • hems, and 
  • any misshapen areas like curled hem edges;
  1. Use a clothes steamer. It aims to remove sharp creases and heavy wrinkles. Keep in mind that you won’t exactly get an office-conference-like crisp look with a steamer.
  1. How about a wrinkle relaxing fabric spray? Have you heard about this innovation?

Tip: Never forget to test a wrinkle relaxing fabric spray on an inside hem before using it on your linen clothing, especially in dark colors. You don’t want stains on your favorite garment, do you?

How to iron linen clothes?

Let’s say you’re not a fan of all the tips above.

You adore your natural linen pants and shirts even if they’re wrinkled, but you want to try with an iron.

Guess what?

We’ve got a handful of valuable tips to make it happen.

So let’s get our hands-on experience with these ironing linen tips:

  1. Before ironing linen clothes, spray them with cool water, paying particular attention to:
  • shirt collars, 
  • cuffs, 
  • pocket flaps, and 
  • button plackets;

Roll the garment loosely and let the moisture penetrate the natural linen fibers.

Do it at least five or ten minutes before ironing. 

  1. What setting should you choose on your steam iron? 

Go for cotton/linen or high heat. The iron faceplate has to be clean and the water tank filled with water.

  1. Take care of the excellent padding of an ironing board. 

It’s vital if your linen clothes have embroidery on them. 

Tip: Use a cloth towel under the linen if your ironing board cover wears thin or has heavy stains

  1. Before you start, ensure that your fabric is still damp. It will protect delicate linen fibers from damage.
  1. Always iron on the wrong side of your natural linen clothes, starting with the heavier areas:
  • collars, 
  • cuffs, 
  • waistbands;

If necessary, spray a bit more water on clothing to get a smooth finish.

  1. Move the iron constantly to prevent scorching. Gently stretch the garment to square corners and edges. 

Ensure that the fabric is damp and hot. Then, it’s easier to reshape crumpled areas.

To prevent shiny spots:

  • press linen clothes on the wrong side, or 
  • use a pressing cloth;

Use a spray on starch or fabric sizing for areas like collars and cuffs. The starch also protects the linen from stains.

  1. When you’re done, hang the garment in an open space and let it dry completely. 

Ten to fifteen minutes is enough to allow the fibers to cool and relax before putting it on. 

Important: Even if it sounds promising at first, wearing linen while damp will cause creasing, so don’t try it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some linens may feel itchy, especially if they're of lesser quality because they might not have been blended with cotton. The softness of linen comes from repetitive washing in a washing machine, but it may take some time.
Linen fabric is more complex and costly to harvest and produce than cotton and other popular fabrics. It leads to it being expensive.
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