how to get wrinkles out of linen (the easy way)

Let me preface this little tutorial by saying that while I’ve been known to iron my undies,
I have come to love the lived in, wrinkled look of slipcovers, throw pillows, etc.,
especially if they’re linen.
Wrinkles are one of {real} linen’s loveliest characteristics.
(Wish I could say the same about my forehead!)
That said, not everyone loves and appreciates a wrinkle.
Also, my new collection is made with pure white Belgian linen
and I’m not about to send wrinkled goods to anyone.
(If someone wants to wad it up in a ball and wrinkle the daylights out of my wares,
feel free, but they will land on the stoop wrinkle free.)
Despite the “linen” setting and steam on a good iron, trying to iron linen is a test of
patience and acceptance because I can never get it completely wrinkle-free!
This is the best I could get after several passes with my iron alone…
Here’s an easy method to {successfully} remove wrinkles from linen with your iron.
(I don’t own a steamer…Well, one that works well enough anyhow.)
It will leave your linens completely wrinkle-free,
works better than the “linen” setting and steam alone,
and you don’t run the risk of scorching!
(I have scorched many a fine thing in my days. Ugh.)
Step one.
Take your wrinkled linen and lay it on your ironing board.
I made sure my test subject was good and wrinkled.
Step two.
Wet an old t-shirt or cotton towel under the faucet.
Wring enough that it’s still damp but not dripping wet.
Lay it over your linen.
*Use a soft cotton towel like a bar mop towel, not terrycloth.
Step three.
Iron over the cotton on the highest heat.
I leave it on the highest steam setting too.
It works better if you only iron over a single layer of cotton.
I couldn’t separate my t-shirt layers, iron, and take a photo all at the same time!
When you are done, remove the cotton towel or t-shirt
and you should have yourself a merry little christmas wrinkle-free, unscorched linen.
If you don’t fancy ironing, wash your linen (or spray it down with a water bottle).
Give your wet linen a snap and hang it outside on the clothesline.
Put some clothespins at the bottom for weight and let a gentle breeze do the work.

I hope that helps.
If you have a tried and true method that works well too,
feel free to share in the comments!

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  1. hi Jami – thanks so much for this. ironing my linen does my head in. and this will work well when i’m ironing material for upholstering.
    cheers Fiona

  2. The Moerks says:

    Great tip, ironing linen does my head in.

  3. PattyM says:

    I love fine linen – to wear, to sit on, to sleep with, to dry dishes with – there is just nothing better. But even my Rowenta iron won’t get the wrinkles out. I simply launder linen items with Dreft on the gentle cycle and then iron them straight from the washer. I use a dry iron (no steam) and hang the items to finish drying. The linen always looks super crisp, even if doesn’t stay that way for long. I use hot water and bleach when I wash white linen and even that has not damaged the fabric.

  4. awal.ny says:

    Good luck. I wish I could make it to the new date but I already had plans. I am sure you will do great.

  5. Jami
    FABULOUS,thank you for sharing this…I bet it will work well on stubborn cotton clothing too that just loves to hold on to wrinkles.

    You are just fantastic!

  6. Robin says:

    Great tip! I have been know to give up after awhile out of pure frustration when ironing linen. can’t wait to try this out.

  7. Mz V says:

    My favorite thing to do with flat linen articles (napkins, fabric pieces, linen hand towels, etc.) is to take them straight out of the rinse water, hand wring them, then sponge them FLAT on a piece of glass. (I have a large picture frame complete with glass that I use…or a table that has a glass top. This works best when the fabric is wet enough to adhere to the glass. When it’s dry, peel it off the glass..Looks like it was starched and ironed!

  8. I absolutely love to iron ~ what a wonderful tip. I have a lot of vintage linens and I can never seem to get them crisp without starch. I have some just waiting for me in a laundry basket so I will be using your tip very soon. : ) Thanks so much.

  9. Lovely tip! I have some old t-shirts that could be cut apart so there is only one layer – then marked as ‘sewing room tool’!! I have a pressurized steam iron – I will never use a regular iron again! I have an industrial $900 pressurized steam iron on my want list. Someday… One of these years I will need a write-off that big!!

  10. Brenda says:

    Hi Jami, I live in Queensland, Australia and I live in Linen and Cotton most of the time due to the heat and humidity here. The easiest way to get the wrinkles out of Linen and Cotton is to put all your ironing in the freezer! Leave it there a while (the longer the better) whilst you fix yourself a cool drink, then take it out and iron it – bingo wrinkle free! Works a treat ;)

  11. Anne says:

    Hi Jami, thanks for the great tip and much luck to you at your sale.

  12. THANK YOU for these great tips, Jami! You’re a genius! :)

    xoxo laurie

  13. Marian says:

    I have been playing with linen for headed for a barn sale this week too! My 9 year old and I are covering dollar store pumpkins with linen scraps and Modge Podge. They are so pretty. If things work out, I’ll link up this week.

    And I swear I can smell fresh, cleaned laundry everytime I read your blog!

  14. Great idea, Jami! I’ll be trying this for sure!!
    With five kiddies, I’m forever looking for good ironing tips!

  15. daiseyjayne says:

    Brilliant thank you, I teach silk ribbon embroidery and use linen and get so frustrated trying to iron out the wrinkles!

  16. Allison says:

    Great tip on ironing linen! I am looking forward to seeing your new collection Jami! I am sure it will be beautiful. You do lovely work.

  17. Deborah says:

    I have a tried and true method to remove wrinkles from any fabric… my secret weapon is Easy Off Sizing Spray… not to be confused with spray starch. It is very inexpensive ( can be found in most department or grocery stores) and will literally cut your ironing time in half.

    My second secret weapon is a Rowenta iron (same one still going strong after 16 years ) with a great burst of extra steam button. They are a little pricey initially, but pays for itself in the long run.

    I have passed this tip on to so many people through the years and have always got positive feedback. Don’t overspray a little goes a long way… I always use an old pressing cloth on darker items as it will have a tendacy to leave a shine.

    Hope this tip helps you to save a some valuable time.

    PS… if you really want to impress the man in your life… iron his dress shirts & cotton oxford shirts with sizing… I guarantee you, he will even notice.


    • Jami says:

      Thank you for the tip, Deborah! I am always open to anything that makes ironing life easier. I will definitely try the sizing. My husband loves it when I make his uniform nice & crisp with starch, so I’m sure he’ll notice & appreciate the sizing. xo

  18. Diane Amick says:

    Best way in the world to iron linen….after washing (no drying involved), lay your linen (napkin, blouse, pillow case, tablecloth, etc…) in a towel and place all in the FREEZER. When you are ready to iron, remove from the freezer, take one piece at a time from the frozen towel and iron on linen (hottest) setting. When completely ironed and wrinkle-free, hang and/or place on a flat surface while ironing the remainder of your frozen linen. Works like a charm and you can iron when you feel like it or have the time. You can use starch or not. Even with no starch, you get very crisp lovely linen sans wrinkles!!

  19. Yelle says:

    Cute post! I’ve never ironed my undies, but ironed linens are so refreshing!

  20. Anne says:

    Awesome! I have curtains I could use this tip on – I can never get the wrinkles out of them!!

  21. Summer says:

    I’ve been doing some surface embroidery lately and there’s nothing that drives me crazier than a nicely finished hoop with a darn crease in it that just won’t come out. Thanks for sharing!!

  22. Cindy says:

    Thanks a ton! I have been ironing for hours with starch and everything with no improvement. I decided to consult the www and found your tips for ironing linen. You have saved me from many more hours of frustration. I very much appreciate you taking the time to post!


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