What is Linen?

What is Linen?
Linen is a fabric that many people have had the pleasure of wearing or using for thousands of years. It is a light and breathable material that has multiple uses.  This fabric can be used in warmer months of the year to keep people cool and free as well as in cooler months for warmth and comfort.

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There have been many uses for this unique fabric in the form of clothing, bed sheets, pillowcases, towels, table cloths, handkerchiefs and more. What’s even more amazing is that linen comes from the flax plant which “grows wild in the region extending from Northern Africa to India and north to the Caucasus Mountains in Western Europe” (Deck Towel, 2018). The process in which the flax plant’s leavesendure to become linen is quite an interesting transformation.

According to Quatr.us, the leaves of the flax plant undergo a process which is called “retting” where the are soaked in water to the point of rotting in order for the “long, soft fibers” of the plant to emerge.The long fibers of this plant are easily spun into fabric that can be turned into the beautiful tapestries and other useful creations to add comfort and style to our everyday lives.

The historical relevance of this elegant fabric is just as intriguing as the process the flax plant completes to become linen. Linen was worn in the first century in parts of the world where the climate can be extremely warm (e.g. North Africa, Sudan, West Asia). Since linen is durable and becomes very soft to the skin the more it is washed, it makes sense that linen would be the fabric of choice because it is so light and comfortable to wear. Furthermore, some of the world’s oldest garments are made from linen like the “Tarkhan dress from Egypt around 3500 B.C.” (Carr, 2018).

One thing is for sure, linen is a fabric that is natural and widely distributed for contemporary and practical use. The more we learn about this eco-friendly fabric, the more we can appreciate its comfort, style and freedom as a commodity. The main thing to understand about linen is that it is from nature and not a synthetically manufactured fabric like nylon or polyester. “Linen fabric is a natural antiseptic, it kills bacteria, so neither bacteria nor fungus can live on it. It also reduces inflammation” (Magic Linen 2018). Having the ability to kill bacteria makes linen even more of an incredible fabric to use; therefore, linen can also be used to bandage and heal wounds.

Finally, linen is such an amazing fabric that it was even used by pharaohs such as King Tut! Here again is a reason why linen was so useful to keep cool in extremely hot desert conditions and“it was“also resistant to insects and microbial growth, and has a smooth, lint-free surface. Egyptians were obsessed with hygiene, so for these qualities, linen was considered pure” (Deck Towel, 2018). The more you know about linen the more reasons to keep this fabric around as a standard in the home for it numerous uses and benefits.



Deck Towel (2018, May 18). Introduction to the History of Linen. Retrieved from https://www.decktowel.com/pages/linen-history

Carr, K. (2018, May 18). What is Linen? Retrieved from https://quatr.us/central-asia/linen-history-clothing-flax.htm

Magic Linen (2018, May 18). About Linen. Retrieved from https://magiclinen.com/pages/about-linen