How to Care for Fine Linen|
Washing - Drying - Ironing - Stains
First let me say that linen cared for properly will have a long and elegant life. It launders beautifully getting softer with each wash. It has strong fibers that can be woven into an extremely lightweight fabric yet it remains durable. Linen is a fabric that has been produced since antiquity. For generations people have laundered their own linens. Some of the methods and products have been passed on to me from customers and some methods have come from references. So I pass on this information to you only as an aid and with the disclaimer that we are not responsible for undesirable results. The following recommendations are for our products only; other manufacturers have different care recommendations for their products especially linen draperies where dry cleaning is recommended.
Linen can be either hand washed or machine-washed on the gentle cycle. Either way your linens will become softer, more absorbent and acquire a beautiful sheen. Place handkerchiefs and smaller items or delicate and embroidered linens in a lingerie bag.
Use a gentle detergent or soap when laundering linens. Some products such as Ivory Snow, Woolite, or Forever New for Linens are good. If you are using soap it is best if you have soft water. Hard water and soap can make your linens dull and dingy.
Cool to warm water is recommended for white linens. Wash ecru and colored linens in cool water.
Always treat stains as soon as possible. Stains that have been allowed to dry are more resistant to removal and may even be impossible to remove at a later date. See stain guide below.
Use oxygen-type bleaches for white linen. Chlorine bleaches can cause yellowing. Products that contain optical whiteners such as Fabric Brightener by RIT can bring back new life to old linens.
Whether hand or machine washing, it is best to rinse the linens thoroughly to remove all soap, detergent and residual soil. This will help avoid the formation of "age spots" on the fabric.
Linen can be laid out flat to dry in the sun, which will help kill bacteria. Linen fibers are naturally resistant to bacteria.
You can dry them wrapped in a terry towel.
They can be put in a dryer
Small items can be smoothed out on a clean flat surface such as a mirror or Formica counter. This is a great way to "press" a handkerchief when traveling.
Whichever method you choose to dry your linens make sure they are removed from the dryer or brought in fairly damp.
Always iron linen that has not been allowed to completely dry. I t is just about impossible to iron even if you sprinkle or try and use a steam iron.
If you are unable to iron your linens within a day or two let them dry and rewet your linens and let them sit for several hours or overnight to thoroughly saturate the fibers. You can also store damp linen in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few days. This will retard the growth of mildew.
Damask cloths are best ironed on the reverse then the right side to bring out the sheen.
Fancy embroidered linens are best ironed on the backside with a towel between the linen and the ironing board. Dark linens are also best ironed on the wrong side.
Speed is the surest way to prevent a potential stain. But in the event you do have a stain to deal with here some methods that may be helpful.
Red wine - pour sparkling water and rub.
Blood - rinse immediately in cold water.
Wax from candles - put linen in the freezer scrape off the majority of the wax and sandwich the wax between two paper towels and iron the residue. Colored candle wax may leave a stain.
Grease stains can be rubbed with ammonia.
Ink - soak in milk or rub the spot with a soap and ammonia mixture.
Fruit, tea and coffee - rub with white vinegar and ammonia.