Can You Bleach Linen? Tips How To Bleach Linen Perfectly

How To Bleach Linen Perfectly

Linen is a delicate fabric and is almost like a royal baby, which takes its army of caretakers. You can always wash and ironing linen after washing. But what if you get a stain on it? Are you simply going to rub a detergent and water mix on it and hope that the colour washes away? Or what if those pretty white linens have turned into a shade of yellow because of years of use? This state calls for a colour refreshment!

Can You Bleach Linen?

The simple answer is – yes! Whether your clothes are yellow, grey, or stained, bleaching linen is the ideal option to make them look like new.

You can use natural methods or store-bought chemicals to bleach your linen fabrics, but remember, only do it on white clothes. If you bleach dark linens, it can lead to colour bleeding.

Now that you are clear on this let us understand what kind of bleach you should use.

Why is Chlorine Bleach Not an Option?

We think about bleach, and our minds instantly turn to “chlorine”. We are used to cleaning our house with chlorine bleach, but clothes are different. They are delicate and require something light to bring a fresh touch to them.

There is only one instance where chlorine bleach gets a pass. It is when all the other methods have failed. This indicates that the stains are stubborn and require something strong.

So, this is your cue to go for that bottle of chlorine bleach. It will remove the colours from your clothing (yes, that means it is only viable for whites).

But before you jump to this method, it is advisable to do a patch test. Instead of bleaching the entire linen bed sheet in one go, take a small area to check the efficacy.

  • Mix 1 tsp of bleach in 2 tsp of water
  • Take a cotton bud and dab the solution on your clothing
  • In case the fabric does not lose colour or the cotton bud does not get shaded, you can use chlorine bleach.

Read More: Does Linen Shrink In The Dryer? Linen Drying Guide

In case the stains are not that strong or you want to simply give a refreshed look to your old clothes, you can use other methods. Wondering how to bleach linen?

Other Methods: An Alternative to Chlorine Bleach

Baking Soda

One of the basic methods of bleaching linen is using baking soda. Here is how you can do it –

  • Mix 1 cup of baking soda into 4 litres of water.
  • Leave your clothing in this solution for 4 to 5 hours. You can also leave it overnight.
  • Afterwards, wash the fabric with a mild detergent and air dry.

If there are stains on the clothes, you can always pre-treat them before the bleaching process.


White vinegar is a suitable choice in case you want to remove a stain or whiten a garment. Here is how to do it –

  • Soak your clothes in linen for around 2 to 3 hours.
  • Wash it later with cold and clean water.

This is not as strong as a chlorine bleach solution but is definitely a safer choice for dark-coloured fabrics.

Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is a mild option that is suitable for not only home cleaning but your linen garments as well. It not only lends a whiter finish to the clothes but also kills bacteria. The process is –

  • Add 1 to 2 tsp of bleach into the machine.
  • Mix it with adequate water and throw your linens in the solution.

This is an environmentally friendly option to bleach.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is one of the strongest methods to bleach your garments. Here is how you can use it –

  • Add 1 cup of the solution along with a mild detergent into your washing machine.
  • Run the washing machine on a gentle or normal cycle.

This will help turn your heavily stained linens into pristine whites, just like before.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice sounds like a low-key home remedy, but it works effectively. You can use it to get rid of those dark stains on your linens –

  • Spritz lemon juice and water and leave it outside in the sun.
  • Another alternative is to dip your garments in a bucket filled with this solution.

Read More: Is Linen Scratchy? How To Soften Linen Quickly?

Pros and Cons of Different Bleaching Methods 

Want to white and bright fabrics? Your laundry guy would recommend bleaching. Just like our face needs a little bleach to shine, so do our fabrics. But it might not be okay to bleach all the fabrics. Let us explore some of the pros and cons related to linen bleaching:

Chlorine Bleach

  • Pros: you can remove the tough stains and white the fabrics. 
  • Cons: chlorine is hard on fabrics, especially linen. It weakens the fibres and might damage them. In some cases, it might also leave yellow stains. 

Oxygen Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Pros: This technique is gentler than chlorine bleach. Its formulation is safer on fabrics and colours. Oxygen bleach also helps to remove stains and brighten the whites.
  • Cons: This technique usually does not work on tough stains. It also requires longer soaking and washing time. 

Lemon Juice and Sunlight

  • Pros: This is also called a natural bleach that is eco-friendly. Lemon juice has bleaching properties.
  • Cons: this is not as effective as chemical bleaches and cannot work on tough stains. It might also cause discolouration and fading. 

But the question is, do you always have to bleach your linen clothes?

When to Consider Bleaching Linen?

Linens are everyone’s prized possession. You do not want them to get stained and wear the same garments for years. But continuous use can turn even the whitest of linens into yellow. Or you might just drop ketchup or mustard on it; we have all been there.

Bleaching linens is advisable in only two cases –

  • The garment has a stain that is not left through the traditional washing method.
  • The vintage white linens are slowly showing shades of grey or yellow.

Read More: Sheets Turning Yellow? Know How To Keep White Sheets White

How To Bleach Linen: Ways, Expert-Tips and Tricks

Bleaching linen is easy. But make sure to be cautious around this delicate fabric. You do not want to damage the cloth! Here are some ways, tips and tricks to bleach linen –

Oxygen Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Make sure to read the package instructions. Mox the hydrogen peroxide with water accordingly.
  • Soak the linen garment in the solution. Wait for a few hours (approx 6 hours). The soaking time depends on the level of whitening required.
  • Later, take out the garment, wash it with a detergent, and you are all set!

Lemon Juice and Sunlight

  • Apply the lemon juice on the stained areas of the fabric. You can directly squeeze the juice out of the lemon.
  • Keep the garment in the sunlight. Make sure to keep it directly under the sunlight and let the lemon juice work in sync with the sunlight.
  • This will bleach the fabric (at least 4-6 hours) and rinse the garment with detergent later.

Chlorine Bleach (used for white linen)

  • Make sure to read the package instructions. Mix the chlorine bleach with water accordingly.
  • Soak the white linen garment in the diluted solution and bleach it. This will take up to 5-10 minutes (do not exceed the time, or else it will damage the garment).
  • Rinse the garment as usual. 

Some Other Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to read the garment care label. Also, test the bleach on a small area of the cloth to see any reaction. 
  • Make sure to use the bleach in a diluted solution; otherwise, it will damage the fabric. 
  • Do not mix the types of bleaches as it cause harmful fumes that will damage the cloth.
  • Make sure to pre-treat the garment with stain remover for tough stains. Later, shift to bleaching. 
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all the residual bleach. 

Bleaching: Linen Vs. Other Fabrics

You bleach other fabrics like cotton and silk just like you do it with linen. The process mostly remains the same, with a slight variation here and there. Let’s break it down –


  • Linen is made from a strong material, which makes it more resistant to bleaching than other fabrics.
  • It typically requires oxygen-based bleach for effective results.
  • Linen needs longer soaking hours to get rid of those stubborn stains.


  • Cotton is made from a natural fibre, which makes it more friendly to bleaching solutions.
  • Chlorine bleach is the best solution to whiten the fabric. It removes stains and gives your clothes a fresh look.
  • You can use oxygen bleach for coloured and delicate cotton clothes.


  • Silk demands extra care as it is made from delicate fibres.
  • You cannot use chlorine bleach on these clothes at all. That can lead to irreversible damage.
  • You can opt for oxygen-based bleach for silk and make sure to soak it for just a little while before going it.


With linens, be a little more cautious. These “handle with care” garments are made from strong and durable fibres but still respect love and care from your side. When it comes to bleaching, make sure to read the instruction labels carefully before proceeding. Luckily, the process is super easy and will not require additional purchases!

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