How to properly care for your linen sheets

Linen sheets are the latest must-have in the bedroom, but how to look after them?
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The luxury of natural linen bedsheets cannot be denied in the bedroom and many homeowners are making the switch to invest in the indulgent textured look and feel of this sturdy natural fibre for every day.

Twice as durable as wool and cotton, 100% linen provides the perfect sleeping environment for you and whether you’re washing your linen sheets for the first time, looking for how to soften linen bedding or simply seeking the key steps to the best bedding care for your home, we spoke founder of boutique linen brand Bed Threads Genevieve Rosen-Biller for her tips and tricks on how to look after your investment and enjoy the luxury of linen for years to come.

Coastal style bedroom with woven pendant lamp in corner
The bedroom in this white on white Queensland home is a serene, sun-drenched haven, dressed simply in linen layers of white and cream. (Credit: Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

“There’s a host of reasons why linen has become the season’s essential bedding accessory,” says Genevieve:

  • it instantly elevates any space, thanks to its relaxed yet refined finish.
  • it contains natural temperature-regulating abilities, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • it’s long-lasting – a high-quality set will serve you well for years and years, if cared for properly.

“Just a few simple steps will ensure that your bedding will remain fresh and vibrant for years to come,” said Genevieve Rosen-Biller. “Product care is simple. Flax has been cultivated and used to create textiles for thousands of years, and people enjoyed the benefits of linen long before the existence of washing machines and complex modern detergents.”

Bedroom with white bed linen
Decadence is in the details at Kylie’s Gillies home with soft, luxurious linen all the way from France. (Credit: Photographer: Chris Warnes)

1. Read the care instructions 

“We’re going back to basics here but sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Usually, if your sheets are pure linen, these will recommend no ironing, no dry cleaning and avoiding fabric softeners, as these can strip linen’s natural fibres, and any dyestuff used to colour your pieces.”

2. Wash regularly

“Aside from the obvious hygiene implications, linen becomes more comfortable with every wash. Time and use soften linen, so the more they’re loved, the better they feel… so your permission to stay in bed is here.”

Boho style bedroom with orange ben linen
French linen in Ochre and Sandalwood from I Love Linen defines the guest bed, which sits upon a custom rendered concrete platform in this white on white Noosa home. (Credit: Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

3. Wash gently

Wash your bedding in lukewarm or cold water using a mild liquid detergent to protect the fibres, and avoid using detergents which feature colour brighteners, as these formulas will weaken the fibres of your bedding and may discolour it,” Genevieve recommends. “Machine washing is fine, as long as it’s on a moderate setting and you don’t overload the machine – the more water, the better, as linen is highly absorbent.”

“Whether washing your linen by hand or by machine, always ensure that it is thoroughly rinsed in plenty of water to remove all traces of soap, detergent and residual soiling. This will prevent the formation of age spots which are caused by oxidation.”

Country style bedroom with white bed linen
“One of my favourite times of day is when it’s us as a family all up in the master suite,” said the owner of this luxurious bedroom in a light and bright home on the Northern Beaches. (Credit: hotographer: Brigid Arnott | Styling: Lisa Hilton)

4. Line dry when possible

“When it comes to drying your linen, typically air drying works best because it is a gentler option than a tumble dry. If you simply do not have the space (or the weather doesn’t permit) it’s fine to put the dryer on a low setting – just make sure it’s not overcrowded,” suggests Genevieve.

5. The good news? You can forget about ironing

“The beauty of linen bedding is that those natural creases that can form when air drying actually add to the aesthetic. Linen looks best when it’s undone – and will give your bedroom an instant, polished finish, as if it’s been plucked from a high-end homewares shoot, without the effort required.”

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