This Is Why Linen Sometimes Sheds At First

We know it’s hard – you’ve been waiting for that parcel to arrive and all you want to do is dive into a freshly made bed, but washing your sheets before you use them for the first time is one of the most important things you can do with your new linen.

However, what happens if you take them out of the machine, dry them and you notice a bit of shedding? By which we mean, little balls or pieces of lint and fluff gathering on your sheets.

Why does linen shed?

The first step is not panic. It’s totally normal and is part of the life cycle of linen fiber. It means that your linen is just getting softer and softer, and therefore cosier and cosier to sleep in.

The fact of the matter is that linen is a fibre that softens and gets smoother over time, and it does so by shedding excess and unnecessary fibres. These fibres exist in linen for a variety of reasons, but primarily because of the dye colours used to give your Bed Threads linen the gorgeous, sumptuous shades you know and love.

Though shedding can occur with all sheets and linen products, as a general rule of thumb, the darker the dye the more shedding that will occur. This is because the dyes that are darker can lead to a greater buildup of fibres in the linen.

How to stop your linen from shedding

The key is to remember that shedding is totally fine and completely normal, and usually will come to a natural conclusion after a few wash cycles.

If you want to speed up the process, simply put the sheets through a few extra cold washes when you first get them, which will help ensure the fabric ditches the excess fibres as fast as possible and settles down into that dreamy soft-to-the-touch material. 

After these first few washes, you should notice a clear difference in your sheets. If they’re still shedding – and this can happen – again, don’t worry. Be patient. After your sheets have been through a couple of wash cycles, the shedding usually comes to an end.

How to stop your linen sheets from shedding

If you’re still finding that your sheets shed, there are a couple of things you can do.

1. Avoid tumble drying

The first thing is to make sure that you try avoid tumble drying your sheets and air dry them instead. Tumble drying is abrasive on the delicate linen fibers, and will ensure that shedding continues. If you want to tumble dry, try drying your sheets on a lower heat setting and for a short period of time, completing the drying process by hanging up your linen on the line. But really, the best thing to do is air dry from start to finish. This is the gentlest, most life-prolonging thing for your linen sheets. Washing them on a cold machine wash and then hanging them out to dry will ensure that your sheets stay fresh and relatively shed-free over time.

2. Stop cramming your washing machine with items

If you can, try to keep your machine loaded at a comfortable level with just linen – no other towels or clothes with rough fibres that might aggravate your linen.

3. Avoid softeners and other cleaning products

Wash in your machine in cold or lukewarm water – no hot water, no bleaches or other cleaning products that might impact the fibres of the linen. All of these things have the potential to damage the delicate linen fibres and to both ruin the soft feeling of your sheets and make them more likely to shed.

Following these tips will ensure that you can keep shedding to a relative minimum, but just remember - shedding is a totally normal part of washing and drying linen. Think of it this way: it’s linen’s way of purging any unnecessary fibres and ensuring that what’s left behind is only the most comfortable to sleep in. Shedding is linen’s way of making life cosier for you, and so even though it might look odd at first, it’s there to make sure your sheets last as long as they can. A pretty good trade, we think.

Looking for more answers? We've answered the most popular questions about our 100% flax linen bedding here.

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