Linen is one of my favorite fabrics for the summer season. It lends so much to an outfit; the texture, the drape, the breathability. And did I mention that it looks bloody good?
But one thing that needs a bit more thought is the relation between water and linen.
There is not a lot of information on the internet regarding this aspect of linen, so I am going to break it down completely in this guide.
I will be talking about how much water linen can absorb; is it waterproof or not; and what happens when linen gets wet, among other things.
Here’s the short answer.
Linen can get wet and it is not waterproof. But getting wet does no harm to linen, as it is a very sturdy fabric that can hold up to 20-30% of its weight in water. And the great thing about linen is that it does not shrink at all if it gets wet.
Now, I know that this is not enough information. Therefore, I have talked about the different aspects of the relationship between linen and water in the sections down below.
Is Linen Waterproof?
No, linen is not waterproof and it can easily get wet. 100% linen is not waterproof, and neither are linen blends.
So no matter what linen garment you are going to buy, you should know that it would get wet with the slightest contact with water.
Sometimes people also tend to think that linen is water-resistant, but I can assure you that that’s also not the case. It is actually a popular myth because anyone who’s been out wearing a linen shirt in the rain would tell you, linen is the farthest thing from water resistance.
Does Linen Absorb Water?
Linen does absorb water. In fact, linen can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without getting wet.
Now you may think that this absorption would be a huge problem if you are sweating, but that’s not the case at all. Even though linen absorbs water, it does so for the purpose of evaporating the sweat as quickly as possible.
Thus linen being an absorbent fabric actually ends up working in your favor.
What Happens When Linen Gets Wet?
If your linen garment gets wet, you can be assured with the knowledge that nothing untoward is going to happen to your favorite piece. Linen is perhaps the only fabric that actually gets stronger when it becomes wet!
The linen clothes are not going to stretch, and they’re definitely not going to shrink.
They are fine in the rain, and they are fine in the washing machine; they don’t get ruined with a little abrasion. Even those linen garments that say dry clean only can be washed. The manufacturers just add that tag to avoid any responsibilities.
So don’t worry if your linen gets wet. Just let it air-dry, and it will be back to normal before you know it, except for a few wrinkles that you would need to get rid of.
Can Linen Be Washed At 60 Degrees?
Linen can be washed at 60 degrees, although higher temperatures may be a bit more harmful to this fabric.
It is perfectly safe to wash linen at 60 degrees because this temperature is perfect for removing stains from the surface of the flax seeds that make up linen fibers.
The problem that comes with washing linen in higher temperatures is shrinkage. If you wash linen on the “hot” setting on the washing machine, it is highly likely that your garment would end up shrinking by a size or two.
Thus, I always recommend people wash their linen items in cold water, or 60 degrees to be specific.
Linen can easily get wet when exposed to water, but getting wet does not do it any harm. In fact, linen is among the very few fabrics that actually become stronger when wet. It also does not shrink if washed right.
Linen also does not lose color when washed. Practice some caution when you are washing it, and you will have no need to worry too much.
There is a reason that linen is called *the* fabric of the summer, after all.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.