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How to Soften Linen Sheets: Your Complete Guide

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 3 min read.
How to Soften Linen Sheets: Your Complete Guide

How to Soften Linen Sheets

Linen sheets have been lauded for their unmatched breathability, moisture-wicking capability, and durability. However, new linen sheets can feel somewhat stiff and coarse to the touch. Fear not, as we delve into the art of softening linen sheets, turning them into a soft and cozy haven for your dreams.

Softening linen sheets primarily revolves around washing them correctly. Linen, made from natural flax fibers, has unique characteristics that require a particular approach:

  • Gentle Detergent: Always opt for a gentle, liquid detergent. Powdered detergents and bleach can damage linen fibers, preventing them from becoming softer over time.
  • Cool Temperatures: Linen prefers cold water. Washing linen in hot water can rigid the fibers, hindering the softening process.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding the washing machine can cause unnecessary friction between the fabric pieces, impeding linen's natural softening process. It's best to wash linen separately or with similar fabrics.
  • Natural Drying: Air-drying linen is the best option. If you're using a dryer, use a low heat setting and remove the sheets while they're still a bit damp. This will prevent the fibers from becoming stiff.

Vinegar can also be used as a natural fabric softener for linen. Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle can help soften your sheets without leaving any residual smell. However, avoid using fabric softeners as they can coat the linen fibers and diminish their natural properties.

How to Make Linen Sheets Softer

Linen's unique property is that it becomes softer with each wash. However, there are certain methods to expedite this process:

  • Pre-washing: Pre-wash your linen sheets before their first use. This can initiate the softening process right from the start.
  • Regular Washing: Regularly washing your linen sheets helps soften the fibers over time. Remember to follow the correct washing protocol.
  • Use Baking Soda: Adding half a cup of baking soda to the washing cycle naturally softens the linen.
  • Tennis Balls in the Dryer: Placing a few tennis balls in the dryer can help soften the linen sheets. The balls beat against the linen, breaking down the stiff fibers.

How Long Does It Take for Linen Sheets to Soften?

While the softening process for linen sheets is gradual, you'll begin to notice a difference after a few washes. The sheets usually take about 3-5 washes to start noticeably softening. However, the exact timeline can depend on factors such as the quality of the linen and your washing methods.

How to Soften New Linen Sheets

New linen sheets can feel a bit coarse and stiff. Here, pre-washing is a must. You can also soak the new sheets in a solution of one cup of baking soda and cold water for a few hours before washing them. This can help kick-start the softening process.

How to Soften Scratchy Linen Sheets

Scratchy linen sheets can ruin your comfortable slumber. You can use a fabric conditioner specially designed for natural fibers to combat this. This helps in softening the fibers and reducing scratchiness. However, refrain from overusing it as it can degrade the linen's natural qualities.


Linen sheets, with their host of benefits, are an excellent addition to your bedding. While they may start off a bit stiff and scratchy, with the right care and treatment, they will soften over time, offering you unparalleled comfort. From using natural alternatives like vinegar and baking soda to adopting the correct washing and drying practices, the journey to softer linen sheets is a process but certainly worth it. Sleep comfortably, knowing your linen sheets are only getting better with each wash.

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