To wash or not to wash

I have 3+ yards of beautiful, fairly heavy-weight and full bodied beige linen that I purchased many years ago. I do not recall whether it is washable or not. What steps should I take to determine if it may be washed? Thanks

One Response to “To wash or not to wash”

  1. Kirsten says:


      Linen shrinks, so you probably want to figure out wether you want to be able to wash it at home or have it dry cleaned on  a regular basis. I prefer washing linen because the more it is handle the softer it will get.  The heavier the linen the more of a drape and flow it will get when washed repeatedly, the lighter weight linens tend to get a kind of airy feel to them and will wrinkle rather quickly sometimes just by looking at them.  Linen, in general though, wrinkles very easily.  Dry cleaning will help keep that crisp look but I tend to think that linen actually looks best slightly wrinkled. (This is a personal preference).  As far as figuring out whether or not to wash it, your going to have to give up a section of the material for testing.  A small drop of plain water in the corner some where, preferably clipped off the original piece, will tell you wether you should wash it or not.  if the the water spot dries and leaves a significant water mark then it most likely hasn’t been washed.  Most materials purchased form the fabric store have some kind of stabilizing agent on them and will discolor when whetted and allowed to dry.  A ring will be left.  Some are not as noticable as others.  Linen is noticable.  If it were me though, I would throw caution to the wind and wash the sucker.  If the wash destroys the material then it wouldn’t be good to work with, but it sounds like you have a very nice piece of material so it should be lovely to work with.  Oh You should probably wash it on cold with a gentle detergent like All, no powders.  I find that All, no color, no perfume, no bleach, detergent to be pretty gentle and can use it on just about everything.  It’s also helpful to have a side loading washing machine.  In General they tend to be much more gentle on all fabrics.  Top loaders tend to beat materials up and can be havoc on linen.  Hope this helps.