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How to clean stains on linen

How to bleach linen fabric white

While we don’t generally recommend bleaching linen fabric or garments, there might be a time when your white linens need a refresh. Bleach should never be used on dark linens as it will remove all the coloured dye and you’ll be left with a white patch. But perhaps your favourite white vintage linens are slightly yellowing, or one of your cherished white linen napkins has a stain you can’t remove through washing or using a stain remover.

Before you resort to bleach, try a natural method:


Vinegar has been used for centuries as a natural way to clean and disinfect our homes. You can use it as a rinse to clean out your washing machine and dishwasher, mix it with baking soda for an effective cleaning paste, and even use it diluted as a hair rinse to boost your hair’s natural shine. It’s also great to use on your laundry too, and it will even soften up your linens and clothes.

To remove stains and restore white fabrics to their bright original tones, add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar in the washing machine detergent compartment, and run on a normal cycle. This works really well on diapers or kitchen linens, and will soften your laundry without any chemical solutions. You can also add vinegar to the rinse cycle for a final spruce up.

Baking soda

You can also try soaking your linen clothes or fabrics in a solution of 1 cup of baking soda and four liters of water for a few hours, or even overnight. Wash as usual. This will also remove any doors lingering on your garments.

Lemon juice

If your linen garments can withstand hot water temperatures, try boiling them in a large stainless steel pan with lemon juice for a simple, natural, chemical-free bleaching process.


Dissolve five aspirin tablets in water in a large pot or bucket. Soak the linen sheets or fabrics in this solution for a couple of hours and then add the whole lot to a wash in your machine. If hand washing, rinse well and then wash with a gentle detergent. When washed, dry your garments as usual or hang outdoors to optimize the sunshine’s bleaching properties.


Another thing to try is to use the power of natural sunshine to bleach your white garment or fabrics. Hang outside while still wet and let the sun do its thing.

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