Linen Outfits - Iron or not to Iron

Linen is a textile that is expertly crafted from flax plant fibers. It is strong and highly absorbent and dries swiftly as compared to cotton. Due to these attributes, linen is comfortable to wear in hot weather, keeping the body slightly cooler than the ambient temperature. This is why linen has always enjoyed immense popularity in tropical countries over the ages. Once exclusively the attire of royalty, linen is now more widely available but remains a symbol of class and aristocracy due to its time-consuming and laborious production process.

Linen is made from plant fibers that are inside the wooden stalks of the plant Linum Usitatissimum commonly known as flax. The plants are pulled from the ground during hand harvesting to preserve the strength and length of the fiber. The flax fibers are then air-dried for many weeks prior to threshing. The vital fibers are harvested thereafter from the inner bark and retting takes place which separates the fibers for spinning. The stalks are then dried and stored before the process of curing, during which the brittle stalks break away. They are combed out subsequently before being spun and woven into linen.

Why does Linen Wrinkle

Linen is characteristically prone to wrinkling since plant-based fabrics contain cellulose, a carbon-oxygen-hydrogen polymer. The hydrogen bonds of the polymer offer more strength to linen, although the chains continually re-form after breaking down. Water molecules go through broken links and block reforming bonds while hydrogen creates new bonds thereafter. Upon evaporation of moisture, hydrogen bonds stay, leading to greater wrinkles.

How to reduce wrinkles from Linen without ironing

You can reduce linen wrinkles without ironing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Give linen ample space while laundering and remove promptly from the washer to lower wrinkling. You can opt for hand-washing to ensure that twisting and balling is kept to the minimum. 
  • You can use a fabric steamer to reduce wrinkles or a wrinkle-relaxing spray instead.
  • You can also put the linen garment into the dryer with a single ice cube for roughly 10 minutes. The ice melts and exudes steam which will de-wrinkle the clothing. A quick hairdryer blast will also smoothen any new creases.
  • Keep linen clothing on hangers after it is pressed.

How to care for your linen outfits

  • Check the label carefully for wash and care instructions. 
  • You can machine launder linen clothing in cold water for washing and rinsing cycles or hand wash in cold water. Dark colors should be washed separately to avoid color bleeding into lighter clothes
  • Use club soda to remove stains or alcohol/hairspray.
  • Avoid using bleach on linen clothing.


Does linen shrink with every wash?

Linen will shrink at least a little after the very first wash, irrespective of the temperature, but it will also shrink thereafter if washed at overtly hot temperatures. Therefore, at Bow & Square, all our fabrics go through a preshrinking process to ensure the final product stays the same size that it was sewn on.

Do I need to iron my Linen Outfits?

Not Really! Honestly, there is no need to iron your linen pants or shirts, unless the fabric is very crushed. In fact, the inherent natural creases and crinkles give linen a very airy, relaxed and soft feel. But if you are very fond of wearing ironed clothes or the fabric is still damp, use an iron at low-medium temperature.

How do I wash linen so it doesn't wrinkle?

Hand-wash the linen in cold water using a mild detergent. Slowly smoothen the clothing with your hands and avoid twisting it as much as possible as this only leads to more wrinkles. 

Our Piece of Advice!

So, you can definitely reduce wrinkles in your linen pieces. Can you iron linen? Yes, you can! But why not embrace this inherent nature of the fabric? Wrinkles are intrinsic to the beauty of this fabric. Our honest suggestion would be - Don’t bother ironing. Go ahead and rock the wrinkled look!