How to Keep Linen From Wrinkling When You Travel

Travel clothes

May 10, 2024

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Travel clothes

READING TIME, 4 MINUTES

Don’t you just love linen? It’s so breathable, durable, and casually sophisticated. The one big drawback is that linen wrinkles. For some people, this is a no-no; others just wear linen proudly and are happy to embrace the wrinkles. No matter which type you are, the tips below should help you keep linen from wrinkling when you travel so you can start your day fresh and feeling good.

I get it! Keeping your linen clothes wrinkle-free can be a challenge. But the good news is that with a few simple tricks and some strategic packing techniques, you can minimize those pesky wrinkles. 

What Is Linen

Before we jump right into the tips for wrinkle-free travel with linen clothing, I want to explain the nature of linen fabric.

Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant. It’s strong and absorbent and drives faster than cotton. It breathes nicely, so it’s comfortable to wear in warm  weather. And it’s hypoallergenic, so it’s nice for people with allergies or chemical sensitivities.

These great benefits make including linen in your travel wardrobe a good decision, especially in summer.

The problem is that, because of this unique texture, it wrinkles. Flax has a stiff natural fiber rather than being flexible like cotton or bamboo.

A linen dress, wrinkled from travel.

How to Keep Linen From Wrinkling

Get your clothes ready to pack

If your linen clothes have been worn before, wash them in a mild detergent the day before you pack them and take them out of the washing machine immediately to keep hard wrinkles from forming.

Hang them outside if possible, pressing wrinkles out as best you can.

Iron the clothes on the steam setting while they’re still slightly damp, putting a tea towel between the cloth and the iron to create more steam.

Let them hang overnight with plenty of air space around them to dry completely.

Pack your clothes

Option 1: Roll instead of fold

The best trick to keep your linen from wrinkling when you travel is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. The exception might be a linen jacket.

Rolling linen for travel. Step 1: Lay item flatFirst, lay each of the linen items on a flat surface and fold them to the width of your suitcase.

This will help you avoid wrinkling the ends when you pack.

If you're packing a suitcase, there are several ways to do this.

Rolling linen for travel - Step 2, create a coreThe best way is to do this is to find something you'll be taking that doesn’t wrinkle, like your travel sarong (pictured here), a t-shirt, or a pair of thick socks, and roll it up to create a core.

You can roll several linen items together around the same core, just be sure to place the item that will wrinkle the most on the bottom of the stack. That way, they’ll be wrapped around the largest part of the roll.

Next, place the “core” at whichever end you decide is the top and start rolling, smoothing out wrinkles as you roll. You can place sheets of tissue paper, dry-cleaning bags, or large plastic bags between the layers for an extra layer of protection to help prevent friction.

Some people suggest you start rolling from the top of the garment; some from the bottom. What makes the most sense is to start rolling in the place that can stand to be wrinkled more. For example, if you’re packing pants, start at the waist.

Rolling Linen for travel - Step 3: Roll clothes around the coreAfter you've rolled everything up, you should have a roll that is the same width as your suitcase. Pack your heavier items in the bottom of your suitcase first, then your linen pieces on top.

If you’re packing linen for your vacation, use a hard-sided suitcase for the best results. This way the clothes don't become creased by the flexibility of a soft-sided bag

Wait, you say! What about packing cubes? I'm also a fan of packing cubes and rarely pack without them. But I think you'll find that using packing cubes to pack your linen items rather than a large roll will just create wrinkles.

And last, don’t pack your bag super full. If it’s tightly packed, your clothes will be under pressure which will cause more creases in your linen.

| RELATED: How to Pack a Suitcase Like a Pro and Eliminate Stress

Option 2: Carry a garment bag

For even fewer wrinkles, use a lightweight garment bag to carry your freshly washed and ironed clothes, each covered in its own dry-cleaning bag.

A garment bag is a great choice to keep your linens from wrinkling if you’re traveling by car. Unfortunately, it’s tough to hang your garment bag in an airplane anymore, and there is no telling what your clothes will look like if you put your garment bag in the overhead.

Unpack your clothes

When you reach your destination, unpack your bag immediately, give your clothes a good shake, and hang them in a well-ventilated area. You always want to let your linen garments breathe to give any wrinkles from packing a chance to relax. Never leave them in a crumpled heap.

If you brought a travel steamer, you can use it to smooth out any creases. If not, hang your clothes in a steamy bathroom while you’re taking a hot shower.

After a good steam, you can use the hair dryer while tugging on the item to release the wrinkles.

Another option is to bring along a small bottle of wrinkle-release spray, which you can find in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or online. Lay your clothes on the bed, give them a light spray, then press out the wrinkles with your hands.

Is There Linen That Doesn’t Wrinkle?

Yes! Linen blends don’t wrinkle as much.

So, for travel, a good option is to take clothes that combine the breathability of linen with the wrinkle resistance of other fibers. Think wrinkle-resistant cotton or even bamboo.

While synthetic fabrics have come a long way since I was a kid, if you're looking for breathability, I think you'll be happier with a blend of natural fibers.

Look for linen clothes labeled “wrinkle-resistant” or those blended with more wrinkle-resistant fibers. Chico’s even has No Iron™ wrinkle-free linen shirts in various colors. I’ve got a couple, and they pack just fine.

Conclusion

Keeping linen crease-free while traveling is less about battling wrinkles and more about using smart, proactive measures.

Next time you want to take your linen on vacation, start with the basics—wash, iron with a tea towel for extra steam, and let your linen pieces dry completely in an airy space.

Roll your garments around a soft core, and choose a hard-sided suitcase, as it will best protect your clothes.

When you arrive, the first thing to do is unpack and hang your clothes, letting the natural fabric of linen breathe and settle. If creases do sneak through, a quick steam in the hotel shower or a spritz of wrinkle-release spray will have your linen looking sharp in no time.

Remember, traveling with linen isn’t just about feeling good in a nice, breathable fabric; it's about looking good, too. Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your linen clothes sharp-looking while you're away.

Do you love linen? Hate linen? Let me know. If you have other tips, please share them in the comments section below so we can all learn from each other.

Have a great trip! 🌎👗👋

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