Caring for your Luxury Linens: good quality linens should always be washed before use. This first wash is important for setting the threads, which will preserve the fabric’s beauty and prolong its life.
When washing your linens, make sure to follow these rules carefully:
- Set the machine to wash in warm (not hot) water on a gentle/delicate cycle with a cold water rinse.
- Use a mild detergent that does not contain any bleaching agents such as chlorine or peroxide. Chlorine bleach can weaken natural fibers and may cause them to yellow. If necessary, use an oxygen-based bleach. We recommend LeBlanc Linen Wash, Laundress Signature Detergent or (if you are trying to brighten your whites) Laundress Whites Detergent.
- Never pour detergent directly onto fabric. Instead add your fully unfolded linens to the tub after it fills and the detergent has already been diluted in the water. Fine linens only require half the recommended amount of detergent, but you can add more in future washing if the fabric is very soiled.
- Never use fabric softeners. They make fibers appear soft by coating them, but ultimately cause damage over time. Your luxury linens will soften naturally with frequent use and additional washings.
- Wash matching linens together. Each piece should be cared for similarly regardless of whether or not it is soiled to help maintain color consistency and brightness.
- Always avoid overloading the washer to prevent fiber breakdown from excessive abrasion and agitation.
- For future laundering of all linens, make sure to pre-treat stains with a quality product like Laundress Stain Solution and separate whites from colors. Wash your linens alone, separate your linens from towels or items containing polyester or other synthetics to avoid pilling and abrasion. Anything with metal buttons, zippers, etc. should be put in a different cycle, as they can cause damage to more delicate fabrics.
Naturally line drying linens in soft, outdoor sunlight is ideal. It is the most gentle, and the sun provides natural bleaching. Since this is not always practical, you also have the option of air drying on a rack or a large surface (like a bed) instead.
Fortunately, it is possible to put linens in the dryer without ruining them. But you do need to take far more care with them. Hot dryers weaken and damage the fibers in fine linens. Heat also causes shrinkage, resulting in ill-fitting sheets, which further stresses the fabric. This can cause holes, rips or pilling. So “gentle” is the way to go. Here are some tips for gentle machine drying:
- Carefully shake out and smooth damp linens before placing them in the dryer. Make sure to unravel any items that may have twisted in the wash cycle.
- Never wring out wet linens. This will cause wrinkling and may weaken the fibers. If it’s necessary to soak up extra moisture, try rolling the item in a towel.
- Never use dryer sheets with any fine linens. They coat and weaken natural fibers just like liquid fabric softeners.
- Avoid overloading the dryer so items will dry evenly. You can also dry fitted sheets and duvet covers separately so that pillowcases and other small items won’t get “balled up” inside those them where they’re less likely to dry thoroughly.
- Set your dryer to the lowest heat.
- Remove items from the dryer promptly and while still slightly damp. Then smooth and let them air dry for a bit by hanging or lying flat before folding or ironing.
Press slightly damp linens with an iron to remove any remaining wrinkles. If you do choose to iron, always press the reverse side of the fabric. I like to use a sheer silk ironing shield for the best results and to avoid any chance os scorching the linen. For cotton, use a hot steam setting; and for linen, use a hot setting combined with a water spritzer. Iron damask on the reverse side first, then on the front side to bring out the sheen. For embroidered, lace or monogrammed linens, iron on the reverse side on top of a terry towel to protect the embellishment.
Now that everything is crisp and dry, you are ready to fold!
These excellent fine linen care tips come from ‘Bedside Manor’ blog. We thank them for their valuable advice!
I just found a great article from Town & Country magazine ( see excerpt below) on removing stains from fine linen. This might just save your day.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT RED WINE STAINS
There are many different methods one can use to address a red wine stain on fabric—if your preferred approach isn't mentioned here, please don't take it as a rebuke!—but when it comes to table linens, specifically, there are two offbeat ways to handle red wine stains that are especially effective.
Remember this first one when you dribble a bit of red wine and catch it straightaway: Table salt will act as a desiccant when poured onto a fresh red wine spill; use a liberal amount and make an anthill-style heap in the spot where the wine has spilled. As the salt sits atop the wine, it will soak it up, pulling it out of the tablecloth. (This also works quite well on carpet!) Then, brush the salt away and treat any residual staining with diluted dish soap or liquid laundry detergent, or a stain treatment product like Spray 'n Wash or Shout.
OR WAX, Yikes!
In the event the wax proves stubborn in the face of your best teaspoon, there's a cool trick involving an iron and a brown paper bag; it also works on other textiles, like carpeting or bedsheets, on which you might spill wax.
The idea here is to use an iron to reheat the wax and the brown paper to absorb it as it melts. Start by laying a sheet of brown paper over the wax, and then place the iron, which should be heated to the lowest setting, on top of the paper. Check under the paper, and adjust the heat setting up as needed, as the wax begins to soften and absorb into the paper. You may find that you need to rotate the paper as it becomes saturated with wax. When the wax has been removed, launder or spot clean the stained textile if there's any lingering wax residue.