How to Properly Care for Your Linens

When it come to beautiful linen you get what you pay for. A relatively simple linen shirt or blouse can cost well over $100. This being the case you may want to take some extra care when it comes to cleaning your linens. I recommend washing rather than dry cleaning for linen garments, bed and table linens. When you wash your linens the softer, more absorbent and more brilliant they become. Use either hand or machine washing, but observe the following points: Always use a gentle wash cycle or handwash and use just a little gentle soap. Use cool to warm, not hot, water. Wash colored linens in cool water. Be sure to use soft water because hard water forms a build up that make linen stiff and dull. If you stain a garment launder the stain when it is still fresh. If allowed to set, stains may be permanent.

For white linen, use hydrogen peroxide. Use a little at first then experiment a little to see how much is really needed. Try a couple of tablespoons of cream rinse for your hair in the final rinse cycle. Linen is cellulose fiber, and many of our customers swear this makes their linen more lustrous. If you decide to hand wash, rinse each garment very thoroughly in cool water. Be sure to remove all the soap or the garment will develop spots.

Several drying methods are recommended for linen: Line drying, machine drying or rolling in terry towels are all generally safe and effective means of drying. Whatever method you use, bring the linen in while it is still damp. If linen dries thoroughly, it may become brittle, taking several hours to recover its natural moisture and flexibility. Don't wring wet or damp linen before drying, it breaks the fibers.

Remember that ironing linen is much easier to do if you do it when the linen is damp. A spray starch will help keep the wrinkles out. Iron with lots of steam at a medium-to-hot setting. Starch provides extra crispness, particularly for folded napkins. Also, be sure to iron either inside out or the reverse side and until the garment is smooth but not dry.

When storing linen for the season, be sure to clean them before storing to prevent any mildew growth. Good ventilation, light and lack of available bacterial food discourage mildew growth. If you discover mildew on your linens, brush the mold off outdoors to avoid scattering spores in your house. Then soak the linen item in a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide and water before laundering. Wash as above, dry in the sun, then store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.