Many people wonder...even though linen is one of the most durable fabrics can it shrink? Answer is: Yes, linen can shrink if proper care isn't taken.
Linen is one of a handful of textiles that experiences “relaxation shrinkage.” This occurs because during the manufacturing process, fibers stretch. When linen fabric becomes wet, the fibers relax. This causes the fibers to return to their original size, which causes the fabric to appear as though it has shrunk.
Applying heat can cause the natural fibers to shrink. If one linen is washed in cold/tepid water and another in very hot water, the linen washed in hot water (over 30 degrees) will inevitably experience greater shrinkage.
Likewise when it comes to using a dryer. It is for this reason linen should never be heat tumble dried as this can not only can cause the fibers to shrink, but break altogether. Linen is incredibly durable and a lovely sustainable fabric made from natural fibres, but with this care must be taken to look after them, and keeping away from high heat sources is crucial.