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Softened vs Washed Linen: What's The Difference?

Going to a concert instead of ironing your bedclothes is a lot more fun! That’s why washed/softened linen bedclothes are practically a ticket to the dream… Do you know, what’s the difference between these techniques? Today we’re going to figure it out.


First of all, we’d like to confess our pure love to linen – its qualities are just amazing, you can read about it here. One of the most treasurable collections is linen bedding ‘ON THE MEADOW’.





Chemical softening:

The fabric is exposed to a special chemical compound of high acidity, which destroys the cellulose structure of fiber cells. After that, the fabric is thoroughly washed and dried.

Mechanical softening:

The fabric is passed between the shafts of the special softening machine, which breaks the remaining hard fibers in the thread.

Special treatment - stonewash, enzyme washing, enzyme wash. This technique uses special enzymes of organic origin.

Enzyme treatment works due to the softening of the yarn structure and leaching of hard protein compounds.

Such fabrics:

  • Have a straight, smooth look
  • Shrink up to 3%

A significant drawback of the mentioned chemical methods of softening is the short duration of the effect achieved. After several washes, the softeners are washed out of the fiber and the effect is noticeably reduced.

After the enzyme wash, pure linen fabric:

  • Becomes softer
  • Becomes non-shrink
  • Acquires silky appearance
  • Gains the signature wrinkled look
  • Shows soft rounded folds without sharp corners when crushed
  • Drapery increases by 20-30%


Thus, in its essence, both “washed” and “softened” refer to changing of the roughness of raw linen. But these softening technologies are vastly different proving different effects. Washed linen is softer and more malleable than softened linen, and each method has its pros and cons.