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How do you identify linen?

Hi everyone,

I recently inherited some old linens from my grandmother and I'm not sure how to identify them. I'm not very knowledgeable about fabrics and I don't want to accidentally damage or ruin them by washing them incorrectly. Does anyone have any tips on how to identify linen? What are some characteristics that I should look for? Any guidance on how to care for linen would be much appreciated as well. Thanks in advance!

All Replies


Hi there,

As a designer who works with various fabrics, I have a few tips that might help in identifying linen. One way to tell if something is made of linen is by the way it drapes. Linen has a natural stiffness to it that will cause it to hold its shape. If you pick up a piece of fabric and it's more firm than you expect, it might be linen.

Another aspect to look for is the color. Linen typically has a slightly off-white or beige color, but it can also come in darker shades. The color itself can indicate if it's made of linen, since linen fibers have a natural color that is difficult to replicate.

When it comes to caring for linen, I recommend hand washing or machine washing in cold water with a gentle or mild detergent. It's always best to avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, too. If ironing is necessary, use a low heat setting and iron while the fabric is still slightly damp. Quick tip, if you accidentally over-dry your linen, spritz it with water and toss it in the dryer for a few minutes to help restore some of its natural moisture.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how to identify and care for linen!


Hey there,

I'm no textile expert, but I've learned a few things about identifying linen over the years. One thing to look for is the texture - linen has a distinctive roughness to it. It's also known for its durability and strength, so if your linens have stood the test of time, that's a good indicator that they're made of linen. Another way to tell is to look at the weave - linen usually has a looser weave than other fabrics.

In terms of caring for linen, it's important to keep in mind that it's a delicate fabric that can shrink easily. So if you're planning on washing it, be sure to use cool or lukewarm (not hot) water, and hang or lay flat to dry. Ironing can also be tricky with linen, so be sure to use a low heat setting and avoid pressing too hard or too long.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your linens!


Hi there,

I love working with linen and have owned a few linen articles such as table cloths and t-shirts in the past. What I have noticed is the texture of linen is very unique, it usually feels slightly scratchy to the touch. Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, which are slightly uneven in thickness, contributing to its signature uneven texture. If you hold up a light to your linens, you can also look for slubs - small, natural imperfections in the fabric that can help distinguish it from other materials.

Linen also tends to wrinkle pretty easily, so if you're seeing a lot of wrinkles in your linens, that's another good indication that they're made of linen. However, don't be discouraged by this quality as it can also give linens a beautiful texture and character.

As for caring for linen, always check the care label for instructions. Some linens may be dry clean only. However, if it is safe to wash them, use mild detergents and skip the fabric softener. Never use bleach on linen as it can weaken the fibers. Air drying them on a clothesline is best, but if you need to use the dryer, choose a low heat setting.

I hope this information helps you out!



I'm a big fan of linen clothes, so I know a thing or two about identifying them. One of the easiest ways to tell if something is made of linen is to look at the care label. Usually, manufacturers are required to list the materials that the garment is made of, so if it says 100% linen, then you know for sure.

If you don't have a care label to reference, you can also do a burn test. This is where you take a small piece of the fabric and burn it. Linen burns quickly and smells like burning paper. You'll also be left with a very fine, grayish white ash.

When it comes to caring for linen, hand washing is always the safest option. If you decide to machine wash your linen, always make sure to use a delicate cycle and cold water. Don't put it in the dryer either - air drying is the way to go. And just like the other users said, linen wrinkles easily. But don't worry, it's all part of the charm. A quick iron on a low heat setting will take care of any unwanted wrinkles.

Good luck with your linens, and I hope this helps!

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